Dish Customers Lose 18 TV Stations in Fee Dispute

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Here we go again: In the latest blackout to hit the pay TV biz, Dish Network customers lost access to 18 television stations run by broadcasting group Media General at midnight Tuesday, after the parties couldn’t work out a deal.

The blackout of Media General stations on Dish comes as the satcaster on Monday reached a short-term extension in its deal with Disney, which will let it continue to carry ESPN, Disney Channel and other cablers plus ABC-owned stations in eight markets.

Dish — one of the most aggressive negotiators among big pay TV operators — had a dispute over retransmission-consent terms with Raycom Media last month. That resulted in an eight-day blackout of 53 TV stations. Separately, Time Warner Cable subs experienced a 32-day blackout of CBS-owned stations and cable nets this summer.

The previous deal between Dish and Media General was set to expire June 30; the companies extended that for 90 days but still failed to come to terms. Dish has about 14 million U.S. subscribers.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Dish,” Media General said in a statement. “Media General stations, until now, have never experienced a disruption of service with any pay-TV company because of a contract impasse.”

Dish attempted to reach a fair agreement “via many avenues, but Media General remains immovable in its demands,” director of programming Sruta Vootukuru said in a statement.

The satcaster claimed Media General rejected Dish’s offer of a short-term contract extension until Media General is acquired by Young Broadcasting, with which Dish has a long-term agreement in place. “They declined a contract extension, an offer from Dish to pay our competitors’ rates, and have now refused our willingness to match rates paid to other area broadcasters,” Vootukuru said.

Richmond, Va.-based Media General in June announced plans to be acquired by Young Broadcasting. The combined company would own or operate 31 network-affiliated television stations in 28 markets, reaching approximately 16.5 million (or 14%) of U.S. TV households.

According to Media General, local TV stations provide 35% of the total audience to pay-TV operators but receive only 7% of the total programming fees paid by these companies. That’s a consistent rallying cry from broadcasters seeking a bigger pile of cash cable and satellite operators.

The 18 stations blacked out on Dish are: WVTM (NBC) in Birmingham, Ala.; WKRG (CBS) in Mobile, Ala./Pensacola, Fla.; WFLA (NBC) in Tampa, Fla.; WJBF (ABC) in Augusta, Ga.; WRBL (CBS) in Columbus, Ga.; WSAV (NBC) in Savannah, Ga.; WHLT (CBS) in Hattiesburg, Miss.; WJTV (CBS) in Jackson, Miss.; WNCT (CBS) in Greenville, N.C.; WNCN (NBC) in Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; WYCW (CW) in Asheville, N.C.; WCMH (NBC) in Columbus, Ohio; WJAR (NBC) in Providence, R.I.; WCBD (NBC) in Charleston, S.C.; WBTW (CBS) in Florence/Myrtle Beach, S.C.; WSPA (CBS) in Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.; WJHL (CBS) in Johnson City, Tenn.; and WSLS (NBC) in Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.

SEE ALSO: CBS-Time Warner Cable Blackout Spurs D.C. Action on Retrans

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  1. Joyce Temple says:

    This is stupid. Settle. It is not fair to people who can’t reach the local channels. I don’t think I’ll ever watch your station for local news.

  2. josie says:

    when I went to, dish about five yrs. ago, my bill was 49.00, after promotion it was suppose to go up 20.00, and it did, but a month later it went up another 10.00 then the next month it went up another 5.00, bill now 89.14, and just now they have gone up another 5.00 making my bill over 94.00 a month. being on a fixed income, its hard to pay this much. Dish gets on t.v. talking about how Direct t.v. does its customers, when they are doing just as bad, if not worse than Direct. And, What are our congressmen doing to look out for the people, they are sent to watch out for, in Washington. So I am fed up with Dish, espec. knowing that I was charged with channels that I was not getting. So that tells me that dish is not honest, because if they were I would only be paying about 79.00 a month, not 94.17

  3. Angie Davis says:

    I’m Absolutely going to look into going some where else, I agree with you Debbie my service has gone way to high and we have no movie channels like HBO, Cinamax, Showtime ect… I’m currently paying almost two hundred a month for cable and Internet and the Internet the last couple of months has been horrible and now this so yeah it’s time for a change for me

  4. Debbie says:

    This is crazy, Dish is too expensive as is and then they do not provide good service, come on think of your customers. This makes me want to cancel my contract with Dish and go to someone else. Will we see a reduction in our bill. I paid for local channels at least give us a discount until an agreement is reached.

  5. Alcus Godwin says:

    Loose all these stations gonna loose dish.Paying now for to many unwanted stations.Pay to much for it as it is.

  6. I did not get too much of a choice of what channels I get and I don’t even watch half of them, and I still pay for all of it. But I do rely on my local channels to keep up with the news especially. Please dont drop it.

  7. Linda says:

    This is really sad. I know everyone needs to make money. We all have jobs to do,we all pay bills. Please get it fixed.

  8. John Doe says:

    I am not taking a side since this appears to be happening all over the country, but here in our area, according to Dish anyway, the channel provider is asking for more money, I think above what the other providers are getting. So on that side, it looks like the channel provider’s fault, but you see Dish’s side when they say that, so of course they are going to make it out like it isn’t their fault. Call the info number on the channel to talk to the channel provider, and they are making out like it is Dish’s fault, so I don’t know who is actually to blame for this major screw up. Either way, get the negotiations done and over with and turn the channels back on!

  9. Jandry says:

    Dish, if you are not going to give us back local channels them cut us free from your dang contract. We r paying for them, so give them back. I’m now having to pay for access to the network streaming because of your breakdown in negotiations.

  10. Linda says:

    s time to stop this stupid price wars and turn back on our locals or we are dropping you

  11. kathy says:

    do not want to pay for these channels and do not have them

  12. kathy says:

    losing all my favorite channels sick of this stuff get your act together we pay our bills so we can watch this channels may go some where else

  13. Jennifer says:

    And it shut down in Arkansas to I live in moro Arkansas and I have to miss my favorite shows because of this bull shit

  14. Tracy Rosson says:

    Kansas City and surrounding areas have has had FOX 4 station blacked out for several weeks!!!

  15. Tiffany says:

    I want my wpmt fox 43 news back this has been going on for too long yall need to reach a agreement really soon this is very inconvenient n we still paying full price for all this really dish get it together

  16. Tabatha Jernigan says:

    This is aggravating to not have our channels and still paying full price! I just seen how by sat they are gonna take kmov off dish WTH dish? Thinking about switching to direct, everyone says that they keep upping monthly bills, but hell so does dish. I’ve had dish for 8yrs and I am up to paying to much for what I get, if I pay direct least I’ll get my channels back!!!! Think its crazy. Dish needs to do something fast before they loose customers.

  17. Deanna says:

    Why not reach an agreement charge us 14 plus billion customers few dollars extra
    On monthly bill
    I rather pay few extra dollars then have to pay disconnect services go elsewhere
    Pretty sure the other customers too
    We shouldn’t have to suffer without these channels
    I have only 2 or three shows from each stations I have recording look forward seeing them
    Dish is my only #1 company I love for satellite HD tv hoping dish come up cellular services just saying
    I gonna have leave dish go direct then
    I’d rather stay with dish
    Please please please make agreement

  18. Deanna says:

    Why not reach an agreement charge us 14 plus billion customers few dollars extra
    On monthly bill
    I rather pay few extra dollars then have to pay disconnect services go elsewhere
    Pretty sure the other customers too
    We shouldn’t have to suffer without these channels
    I have only 2 or three shows from each stations I have recording look forward seeing them
    Dish is my only number company I love for satellite HD tv hoping dish come up cellular services just saying
    I gonna have leave dish go direct then
    Please please please make agreement

  19. Mary LaFaye says:

    I miss Raoul, Brad and Chrissy on channel five! I hate the other other News channels. Not watching T.V. news anymore! Such a loss. We miss you’s daily.

  20. Shawna Tutterow says:

    When will I get my stations back. I’m about ready to switch from dish. I’m from Indiana and can’t watch a lot my favorite shows.

  21. Salvador Vazquez Jr says:

    How can they charge us if it’s free with an antenna? It’s upsetting to go back and forth from dish to the antenna. I would of discontinued dish if only my parents watch they Latino station over seas.

  22. Bill says:

    don’t blame dish, blame cbs

  23. Annette Montgomery says:

    Dish going lost a lot of customers if they don’t get there act together,I don’t even want turn my TV on ,I think I should have to pay the full bill ,

  24. Rita says:

    Our bill continues to go up and we are not receiving CBS. Extremely disappointing to miss the finale of Person of Interest and other favorite shows. We are considering going back to Direct TV.

  25. Dianne says:

    Dish keeping prices down, lol why has my bill gone up 25.00 over the last 6 yr , the first two yr a locked rate . People just don’t realize some aren’t as crazy as they seem.

  26. Dianne says:

    All of us dish customers need to stop paying for channels not getting and go to streaming it is much cheaper

  27. Cora Lopez says:

    I miss my channel 5 news in the morning.Buena Park ,CA. Give me back My CW Get it together Dish!

  28. Les L. says:

    Because Dish seems like the only one fighting for us people… Your fools for blaming Dish..
    Had direct tv for 4 years and it seemed like they up there price 6 times in that time..
    Not are fault they pay to much to get certain sports on their networks..
    Dish hold your ground I will stick with ya..

  29. Chad1979 says:

    It’s weird they do it in June if this happened in September when NFL is on cbs it would be a whole different story it would be a lot of cancellations me included.

  30. Billy bob says:

    Dish is not the only one with guilt here … Greed is the culprit. Example is .. Fox so overbid for the rights to telecast NASCAR, by doing so Fox plus it’s direct affiliates have been putting the races on upper end premium channels in an attempt to hold the NASCAR viewers hostage and pay for the premium packages, but, so many avid NASCAR fanatics will or cannot pay out more money to view the races. How is this huge contract working for you NASCAR .. seems the Fox plan is ruining your market. Now Fox wants more money .. HAHA.. I say screw them take em all off the air. All sides have shown. Their great sides for sure. Boycott them All America .. Boycott all these mega companies attempting to. Hold us hostage .. turn off ALL those commercials .. yeah the ones We Americans pay to watch. Boycott Dish .. direct TV and all of these cable companies. Greedy greedy greedy.

  31. Billy bob says:

    The entire pay TV network should be blacked out .. over paid holding America hostage to their non stop GREED

  32. john green says:

    Don’t you people get it it’s the local channels charging dish for rebroadcasting so local channels are driving up the cost. Personally I feel any non scrambled Channel with commercials that you can get with an antenna should be free to all

  33. Annette says:

    Keep our channels. The local channels are the ones we watch. We have no control over your obstacles but we are paying and want the channels we want. Keep our channels!!!!

  34. Donald Long says:

    Get your shit together, stop screwing with the public. We(public) pay for the cable companys month for channels

    all the stupid shopping channels, bet none of those channels are missing…

  35. Roman Levin says:

    Why we don’t have any Russian chenals in Illinois ?

  36. Kenny M. Lenord says:

    *and we pay good money for those channels and I mean good*

  37. Linda. Thacker says:

    I am so tired of rate heights, and then they take your stations and you are still stuck with the high rates. If these stations are dropped then my account will be “in the dark or dropped” I am fed up with this mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!😡

  38. Faye Burnsworth says:

    I will drop Dish if you take any of these stations off the air

    • Les L. says:

      Read it right, dish didnt drop it.. Trying to make dish pay for something that is free.. Which would make it cost more for dish customers.. I dont know about you but I switched to dish because they keep there prices low.. And like it that they are fighting to keep prices low..

  39. i will drop dish if you take any of these stations off the air

  40. carl corbissero says:

    I am droping dish if they take TV land off… i am not in contract any longer so it makes it real easy to kick them to the crub… ordering a HD Antenna for my 40 foot tower tonight..

  41. Nikki says:

    I refuse to keep paying the same price I have been paying if Dish cut any channels off….I switch my service to dish almost a year ago, because other cable companies where just extremely too high in their prices, but I might as well pay those high prices & be happy, if I’m gone pay a certain price that Dish is charging me but is taking away channels that I had when I first became a DISH CUSTOMER….SO FOR THE ONES THAT’S ON A CONTRACT WITH DISH, SUCH AS MYSELF, WILL NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IF THEY DECIDED TO SWITCH THEIR SERVICES FROM DISH TO ANOTHER COMPANY, BECAUSE DISH ITSELF IS BREAKING THE CONTRACT THEMSELVES BY TAKING CHANNELS AWAY THAT MOST OF US WATCH ON A DAILY BASIS…..PLEASE DON’T TAKE ANY CHANNELS AWAY & BY ALL MEANS DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS SATISFIED, THIS SHOULD NOT BE A BIG DEAL BECAUSE THIS IS A MULTI BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY…..& YOU WOULD BE LOSING A WHOLE LOT OF CUSTOMERS DUE TO STOPPING CHANNELS….SO WHY NOT JUST DO WHAT IT TAKES TO KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS SATISFIED…..THANKS….

    • Les L. says:

      Some of you people are just plain dumb.. Dish is not the one taking your channels… There the ones fighting to keep prices down..

  42. Jean Johnson says:

    When will the greed STOP? You are complicit in destroying this country and this world – STOP!!!!

  43. If Dish Network proceeds in removing the channels we love ❤ I guess Streaming is the next lption. DISH stay true to your customers, seriously the number of contracts that may be lost will be astronomical.

  44. Russ Horcher says:

    Let’s hope these channels remain, as I have just recently become a DISH customer from Dir TV, I think we should get what we pay for, Direct Tv is currently going through numerous lawsuits for messing with their customers service. If all of these channels are canceled, I just may have to switch yet again. We pay bundles and bundles for a reason, to get decent service, and when they start messing wit us, and then expect us to keep paying these already high prices, for only a few good channels to begin with, how in the world do they expect to hang on to their customers and keep them happy? It is DISH’s responsibility to do whatever it takes to make their paying customers happy. Just do it DISH, Come on, you claim to be #1, let’s see you prove it.

  45. Denise robertson says:

    Yes I’m a dish customer and I don’t know if people Remember the disput dish had with amc network I think fair is fair we have more important things to worry about besides fighting over more money for things my question is when is enough money enough we already pay enough money for dish service already so I say quit trying to take channels away I hope they reach an agreement and settle so I can remain a dish customer because I’m a happy customer until I heard about this

  46. gary hoyt says:

    don’t drop any channels, we pay to much for what we get now

  47. Jack McCain says:

    Why drop the wwe wristeling. If shows must be dropped ten drop the bill corn shows. The wwe is the most seen show on the dish network.

  48. Kevin Dugas says:

    Stop the drop. We switch from direct tv to dish. We enjoy dish tv.

  49. Leo Patricia Gagnon says:

    Dear Dish we left direct tv cause all they wanted more money was with them longg time went to DISH and they remove channel now that were stuck with you under contact if we leave were still paying lots so were stuck so we pay now you can pay WINKS NET WORK Thank You Particia

  50. we can”t get lex channel 18 from lex Ky. we are not happy about it and don”t know who to contact, we called Dish and got nowhere

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