Mapale LLC’ s WGEN-TV operates from Key West, an island on the extreme southern tip of Florida, and even though it’s over 100 miles from the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, technically Key West is considered part of the Miami DMA. The FCC agrees that the station should get full must-carry MVPD privileges.
This privilege had been denied in prior attempts, but this time Mapale prevailed with a comprehensive argument that drew no opposition whatsoever.
It noted that it is in fact serving Miami, via TV translators, non-complusory cable carriage in 41 DMA communities and with a second studio (its main studio is where it should be legally, in Key West).
It noted that the other Key West station, SBS’s WSBS, is granted must-carry, affording it access to 65K more homes than WGEN can reach. If WSBS gets it, why not WGEN?
It provides programming that is not duplicated on any other station. The DMA’s demographic makeup includes a 40% Hispanic population,, and there are seven other Hispanic stations, seven offer primarily Mexican programming and three are Cuban based. WGEN serves the population coming from other parts of Latin America.
Mapale also pointed out the cultural links between Miami and Key West, noting that many of its advertisers are based in the center of the DMA.
Finally, it noted that without access to the full DMA, it was at a competitive disadvantage and would not be able to continue providing its own unique programming.
The FCC agreed that it was just the type of station that must-carry rules were designed to protect, and in the absence of any opposition, granted the request.
RBR/TVBR observation: We don’t think it would have mattered much if any cable company did decide to put up a fight. Mapale’s argument left no stone unturned and did not leave a single crack to attack that we could see.