How Do I Keep My Favorite Shows

Congress provided local TV stations with the right to grant permission for pay-TV companies to use their signals in 1992. Before this time, pay-TV companies used stations' signals without asking.

As part of the process in getting permission from local stations, many pay-TV companies also have to compensate local stations for using the signal – just like they compensate cable channels like Discovery, Food Network and The History Channel.

If a pay-TV company won't fairly compensate a local TV station, then that station doesn't allow the company to use its signal. This is covered in more detail in the "Why Would I Lose My Shows" section.

Nearly all pay-TV companies and local TV stations are able to come to an agreeable resolution that allows all viewers to see those great broadcast shows. It is a rare occurrence that the pay-TV company refuses to give viewers what they want, BUT if it happens, you have options.

Take one of the following steps to ensure you keep seeing your favorite shows and local news:

Option 1: "Not Your Father's" Antenna
What's old is new again in a digital world!*

All stations are now broadcasting in digital, which means the snowy picture some may remember is long gone. Now, viewers can get access to local stations, with crystal clear pictures, just by using the right antenna**.

You can even get HD channels you may not see on your pay-TV system, including shows in HD if you have an HDTV. And the best part is – it's all free – there are no monthly subscription costs, just the one time cost of purchasing an antenna if you do not already own one. Learn more at The Future of TV blog.

Option 2: Find a New Pay-TV Provider
Switch to a different pay-TV provider (such as cable, satellite or a telephone company) that has worked with local stations to ensure all viewers have access to their favorite local channels. To find out what other services are available, get online or ask your friends what services they like best.

Using an Antenna
*The most economical way to keep watching the great shows and news on your favorite local stations, in the rare event that it is no longer available via your pay-TV provider, is an over-the-air antenna.

The type of antenna you need depends on certain factors, including how far you are from the station, where your antenna is located and the frequency location of the station is that you want to watch.

**To determine which type of antenna will work best for you, enter your address and zip code at This is a helpful resource for finding an antenna that will allow you to continue watching your free, local broadcast channels and all the great shows and local news you love.