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The Cable Wars

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Roger Brown, who's in his element, on the negotiations between the Indians and local cable providers:

One concern raised by cable operators negotiating with the Indians to carry the team's new network: They're being asked to pay top prices for the network now - without any idea of what programs the Indians will put on it later (other than eight exhibition games, 130 regular-season games and pregame and postgame shows).

Which is fine, but this made me laugh:

That's a dramatic change from when FSN Ohio televised the Indians games: Cable outlets knew that in addition to baseball, they'd also get Cavs telecasts, major-conference college football and basketball games and network programs such as "The Best Damn Sports Show Period."

I'm not an expert in cable and TV business, but I'm venturing a guess that the Indians and Cavaliers are by far the biggest reasons why viewers tune into FSN. Local teams get ratings. The rest of the programming is there just to fill space. If FSN had carried Big Ten or even MAC college sports, I'd see their point. But they don't.

Cox Cable, which has publicly opposed the Indians' fee request to carry the team network, has set up a Web site - www.makethemplayfair.com - to inform its 70,000 area subscribers about the issue and get viewer feedback.

Well, I guess that's one way of describing the site. There's no mention of Cox Cable anywhere on the site, and the only "feedback" mechanism is for viewers to send complaints directly to the Indians.

I don't really have a dog in this fight. I'm a satellite user, and I'm in a Time Warner area if DirecTV doesn't reach an agreement with the new channel. Both sides are trying to get a bigger piece of the broadcasting pie, and now the negotiations appear to be taking place in public, which is unfortunate for the people who just want to be able to watch the games.