Canadian Station Fingers Shaw Cable For Gay Porn Debacle

10:03 AM PST 04/23/2012 by Etan Vlessing

A technical error by the cablecaster led to X-rated adult content briefly interrupting a morning newscast, but retransmitting local station signals between carriers is also at fault.

TORONTO -- How does a cable company override a broadcaster's signal?

That’s the question Hamilton-based TV station CHCH-TV awaits an answer to from western Canadian cable operator Shaw Cable after its Friday morning newscast in distant Ontario was interrupted by a gay porn movie.

“Shaw Cable has told us it is investigating, and will provide us with a written reply in a couple of days. We'll share it with you then,” CHCH said in a statement after apologizing to viewers for around three minutes of pornography on their screen at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning due to the cable glitch.

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The programming mishap, which had CHCH news director Mike Katrycz apologizing via a video on the company website, is complicated by Cogeco Cable being the dominant cable player in the Hamilton region.

At the same time, CHCH explained to its viewers that its over-the-air signal is distributed to cable operators at no charge, and cable companies in turn feed that signal to rival carriers.

The retransmission of local station signals takes place countrywide, as cable operators provide them to subscribers for a fee, and in turn provide distant-signal benefits to the local stations.

The result is Shaw Cable also distributes the CHCH signal, leading to the porn glitch owing to an apparent switching error as cable technicians repaired some cut wires last Thursday night.

Earlier this month, Comcast apologized to subscribers when similar efforts to solve a technical issue led to a porn movie airing for a few seconds on a local ABC affiliate.

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