All posts for the month January, 2015

A Fox News-watching, Dish-subscribing friend of ours called me up to ask if I had a way to get Fox News content over the internet (see previous post, DISH’s carriage dispute with Griffin (KOTV) & News Corp). The answer is yes, but in a very limited way.

roku3Roku has a version of the Fox News Channel.

However, the only live programming it carries is Fox News Radio. It also does not carry or archive their most popular signature shows, such as “Hannity” and “The O’Reilly Factor”. I don’t think our friend is going to find it adequate as a substitute.

Last time I checked, I thought both CNN and msnbc also had their own Roku channels. But I see no CNN, and msnbc “highlights” have been folded into a new NBC channel. Fox Business has a Roku channel, but it is not very up-to-date.

I was able to get CNN as a Roku “private” channel. Here is a list of all Roku private channels. You can see there that the code for CNN is RBFA1. If you log onto your Roku account, and go to the account page, you will see a place to enter the code. Then you will have CNN.

This CNN channel’s content is up-to-date. Also, if you click on the CNN International icon, you will be watching a realtime feed of that channel (the only instance of of this I have seen so far).

A special channel on Roku is Plex, previously described here as both a way to serve your own video/music content, and also to select and watch its own channels, similar to Roku’s.

Within the Roku’s Plex channel, you can select Fox News, CNN and msnbc channels, if you previously set up your computer as a Plex server and added the channels. But today, when I started up any of these Plex channels via Roku, I got a message, “This app isn’t supported. You can still access (whichever channel), but you may encounter unexpected problems.” However, their content appeared up to date.

A selection of the available Plex channels in a browser

The same Plex channels also worked perfectly well from a Plex browser interface. According to Plex, “All Plex channels are maintained and supported by a community of volunteers.” And I believe the Plex channels are populated by the XML feeds provided by CNN, Fox, etc., so they will likely continue.

But as I had previously found, Plex channels, like Roku channels, are not equivalent to basic cable stations, since they require active seeking of specific archived content, not passive surfing of realtime content.

I wish I had better news for our friend, because last year he generously gave me back the bottle of Jägermeister that he took off me in a “dirty Santa” exchange. I have found it invaluable this year, getting me through episodes of “The Bachelor” that my wife finds so fascinating. “The Bachelor” starts a new season tomorrow. 🙁 (My 2008 review of “The Bachelor”.)

If he were, instead, an avid msnbc viewer, he would be in luck. Plex’ msnbc channel has relatively complete and up-to-date content from its shows, no more than a day after the original airings. Fox News’ Plex channel has even less content than their Roku channel. CNN’s Plex channel is completely out of date.

I’ll advise him to switch over to msnbc on Plex, and then he’ll be fine. 😉

I noticed a crawl on KOTV this morning:

“Attention DISH subscribers: KOTV News On 6’s parent company, Griffin Communications, has been negotiating with DISH on a new carriage agreement.

“If negotiations are not completed before January 15 at 6 p.m., you will not be able to view News On 6 on DISH Network.

“This means you will not be able to see local news and weather from News On 6, CBS programming such as NCIS, Big Bang Theory, the Young and the Restless or the NFL on CBS.

“We hope to reach an agreement but feel it is important to alert you in advance.”

News On 6 = 6?

“News On 6” = Channel 6?

I find the usage of the “News On 6” phrase confusing. The entire channel is referred to as “News On 6”? I think they are just saying Dish subscribers will not see Channel 6 at all, no local programming, no network programming.

But how about KQCW, also owned by Griffin, and sharing some programming with KOTV?

To clarify the relationships of the various Griffin entities in Tulsa (I hope):

The main KOTV CBS-affiliated channel is on channel 6.1 broadcast (6 or 1006 on Cox). Their 24-hour news repeater channel is “News On 6 Now”, channel 6.3 broadcast (53 on Cox). is the main KOTV website URL, which encompasses not only the main channel, but also the repeater channel and sister station KQCW. TitanTV program listings are displayed for 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 19.1 and 19.2 (thisTV).

KQCW (seen on both 6.2 and 19.1 broadcast, 12 on Cox) has its own separate website,, though it also functions as a second home for some of KOTV’s local programming (e.g. “6 In The Morning”).

A page explains: “…when News On 6 breaks into regular programming for breaking news or severe weather we will move CBS and syndicated shows to News On 6 Now.”

I’m not sure what it all means with respect to the Dish dispute; perhaps nothing. Maybe less prose-addled, better-informed readers can comment.

In any case, since cord-cutting is the focus of this blog, I will point out that all KOTV subchannels are available for free over the air. All you need to do is put up an antenna (e.g., the Mohu Leaf, Curve, or Sky 60) if you have a TV manufactured in the last 10 years. You can use this along with cable or dish.

While looking into the dispute, I saw that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is in a similar negotiation with Dish. Dish has already blocked out Fox News and Fox Business due to the impasse.

According to this Hollywood Reporter article, News Corp is trying to use access to the popular Fox News Channel (along with the less popular Fox Business) to pressure Dish into carrying its fledgling channels, Fox Sports 1 and the FXX Network.

Each corporation is headed by a stubborn and powerful individual (Charles Ergen is the Chairman of Dish Network, and largest stockholder; see this eye-opening AOLJobs profile), so this could drag on for awhile.

Dish presents its side of the dispute on their website, News Corp has

To quote a Groucho Marx character (Otis B. Driftwood), “Hey, you big bully, what’s the idea of hitting that little bully?

Here is a Wikipedia page about the general topic of Carriage disputes.

So, what is the basis of the “News On 6”-Dish dispute? Is it strictly the price of carrying the station(s)?

Here is a comment from News On 6’s page about their previous dispute with Dish in January 2011, Attention DISH Network Subscribers: “Griffin Communications has agreements with every cable or satellite system and we have never had any issue negotiating a fair price for our service.” Is 2015 just chapter 2 (or higher) of the story?