The Constitution of Abused Viewers:
We the people who watch your network, in order to form a more perfect viewing experience, write this request to establish better programming, insure glitch-free TV shows, provide for high-quality viewing, promote the death of frozen frames, and secure the blessings of better television for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish that YOU SUCK AND NEED TO FIX YOUR PROGRAMMING!
History has proven that “fill_in_your_name_here sucks” posts actually work pretty well. I’ve received TONS of responses from my Vonage Sucks post and the Powweb Sucks post generated a HUGE mess at the corporate offices of powweb.com. In an effort to garnish attention to an issue that is driving me absolutely bonkers, I’m writing this post about the Fox8 Fox 14 affiliate that covers Greenville, NC Fox broadcasting.
In simple terms, Fox in Greenville, NC SUCKS! ! I’ve searched the web and found I’m not the only one with complaints about the company, but no one seems to have an answer as to why they suck. Suddenlink Cable blames the local affiliate. I asked them why we can’t change affiliates and was informed that we are stuck with Fox8 Fox 14. Not being an individual who likes to be told that I have to settle for poor service, I’m setting out on a mission to either correct the issue, or to have the ability to watch an affiliate that DOES have good programming. I pay almost one hundred dollars a month for the ability to watch what my family wants to watch and I’m tired of hearing my girlfriend yell “No… no… not again.. damnit” at the HDTV because Fox has frozen up yet again. If Fox can afford to host the Superbowl, and to gather up all the good shows on its network, why can’t they afford the technology or staffing necessary to ensure we get to SEE the shows they’re paying big money for?
I started with sending an email tonight to the local fox affiliate. I’ll keep you posted on what I hear, here on the blog. In the meantime, in the event that someone at fox DOES read this, I encourage you who have personal complaints with the programming to leave comments. I would also encourage all of you to email them yourselves and let them KNOW you have a complaint.
My Email to Fox8Fox14:
“I’ve been a Fox viewer for years and have finally had to resort to communicating my dissatisfaction with Fox personally. I’ve already called Suddenlink to ask why we are not allowed to receive Fox out of Raleigh as they appear (from what I read everywhere online) not to have the broadcast problems your network does. I actually asked my service representative if there were a list I could get on to complain about the broadcast quality of Fox and he informed me that YES, they actually have a list of customers who have requested to have their names added to the list of people who want better programming, however they state that we have no choice in our fox affiliate and are stuck with Fox8 Fox 14.
I’ve recently upgraded to HD service in an effort to achieve better signal quality on your programs, assuming that at least the HD channels would be error-free. That has however proved to be incorrect.
In the last ten days, Fox8 Fox 14 has had three season premieres that my family has been waiting to watch for months now. Prison Break, Fringe, and Bones have all aired in this time frame.
- Prison Break was glitched in the first five minutes, completely going out more than once.
- Fringe aired last night. The signal froze so many times that my DVR had to record the show in 5 segments, meaning the DVR completely lost signal from your station and had to reacquire the session when broadcasting resumed.
- Bones has aired twice now, and this last episode had three different segments of blank screen for approximately 60 seconds twice, and 30 seconds the final time.
As a fan of these great shows, I’m really sick and tired of the poor programming coming out of your office. I would sincerely appreciate a response from someone as to what the problem is, what is being done to address it, and when we can expect to receive adequate programming quality. This has been going on for two seasons now that I can personally recollect, but many more if the reports on the web are to be believed. We pay for this service and you owe it to your customer base to either correct your programming issues, or allow cable customers the choice in fox affiliates who can better provide a decent viewing experience.
Update from Fox News
After almost a week with no response, I was starting to assume no one was going to reply. Then, I got a brief email from Don Fisher, the vice president of Bonten Media, the company who owns the local fox affiliate. His email said he was out of the office that week but he promised to respond in detail later when he was back at his office.
A few more days went by and he did as promised. I’m including his response to my email here, minus his contact information.
Thank you for your recent communication regarding FOX Eastern Carolina. I appreciate the fact that you took time to express your concerns with our television station. As you may be aware, Greenville viewers have suffered a long history of technical issues with FOX dating back to the original owner’s purchase of channel 14 in the mid 90’s. The core issue with the signal has always been the difficulty in sending the FOX signal from the studio in Morehead to the transmitter site in Ayden. The distance between those two facilities made for unreliable signals in both the analog and digital transmission.
In January of this year, the FOX station was purchased by a new owner and is being operated by Bonten Media which also owns WCTI Newschannel 12, the ABC affiliate in our market. Bonten has invested heavily in improving the FOX Eastern Carolina signal and made a significant improvement to the overall signal after moving the Morehead FOX studio to a new facility in New Bern in July. This move reduces the distance the FOX signal has to travel and therefore eliminates most of the technical issues that have long plagued the FOX station.
In addition to the move, Bonten has purchased new digital spot delivery and automation systems which were installed over the summer. These systems have improved the quality of the FOX product as well, but like with any new software, they have also created some issues that we are learning to overcome. The specific problems with the HD signal you mention could be related to our new system or the equipment that Suddenlink uses to pick up and deliver our signal to their customers.
Regardless of where the technical problems originate, it is our goal at the new FOX Eastern Carolina to work toward completely eliminating all of the problems. We have several more planned technical upgrades that will continue to improve our product. I am confident that you will see major improvements in our signal quality going forward through the digital transition. As the new operators of FOX Eastern Carolina, we are working hard to earn the trust of our Greenville area viewers by being the best FOX affiliate we can be.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions or concerns. I do appreciate your consideration and support.
Vice President, General Manager
Basically, it says Fox has moved to New Bern from Morehead to try to remedy some of the problems they were having, such as the Superbowl nightmare from earlier this year. (They use microwave transmission which involves one huge antenna casting the signal to another huge antenna 50 miles away through the air) It also says they’ve invested a lot of money in the company and that they DO acknowledge there are still problems remaining they are working on. It’s not what I wanted to hear, but at least they do admit to problems with the network and didn’t blame it on Suddenlink. I’m guessing the root of the current problem (and this is pure conjecture on my part) is that they still cant’ get a good microwave technician who understands their system. Back in February they were scrambling to hire an engineer who could actually work on their Microwave transmitter without wreaking further havoc.
So, for now I’ll accept that my message has gotten to the highest rungs it can within Fox and they did at least take five minutes to address my issue in person, which is more than some companies do. For now I’m content to sit and grumble and see if transmission quality improves. But…. I’m watchin’ you, Fox! I got my eye on you! Clean it up man!