said by k2rj:
The latter. Since the local station is an FCC licensee with a statutory responsibility to serve in the public interest per the terms of their license, they have little leg to stand on (morally, not legally) to pull stunts like this. If they had to depend upon their on-air signal to justify their ad rates, they'd not be able to do it. Nationally, I believe the percentage of over-the-air viewers is down to 10 percent or so.
So WESH is apparently holding out for more money. Meanwhile the viewers are watching competing local affiliates instead, and (if your 10% figure is correct) their advertisers are unable to reach 90% of their audience. Yeah, WESH, that's real smart business.
I'm proud to be among the 10% getting content OTA. I've never had cable TV. Ever. I've watched cable programming at motels and while visiting family, but have always found it to be 500 channels of nothing to watch.
Instead, we have the largest outdoor antenna that Radio Shack makes, mounted inside our attic away from lightning and hidden from view (outdoor antennas are eyesores). I pull in about 30 local channels, crystal clear and many in HD. About the only thing we watch over-the-air is the nightly news, or weather reports during a storm.
The only thing we pay for is an $8 subscription to Netflix streaming, coupled with all the titles we get as a free bonus for being an Amazon.com Prime member. All combined, it's more programming than the entire household is able to consume. All for less than $100 a year.