Dish Hit With 53-Station Blackout in Fight With Raycom

Local stations go dark for satcaster in 36 markets in latest clash over retransmission payments

In the latest blowup over broadcast TV retransmission fees, Dish Network customers in 36 markets lost access to 53 television stations owned by Raycom Media after the companies failed to reach a new deal by midnight Wednesday.

Satcaster claims Raycom is demanding a fourfold increase in retrans payments over their previous deal, which expired at midnight Eastern on July 31. The Montgomery, Ala.-based broadcaster has said it is asking Dish for retrans fees comparable to what other pay-TV providers pay it.

The Dish-Raycom dispute resulted in a blackout of various ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates nationwide, from Florida to Hawaii.

“We are ready to listen to a fair proposal from Raycom to bring this impasse to a swift end,” Sruta Vootukuru, Dish director of programming, said in a statement released early Thursday morning. “Unfortunately, the broadcaster has not been willing to pursue an agreement that would have avoided this disruption of service to our customers and Raycom viewers.”

Time Warner Cable and CBS are currently locked in a similar dispute, concerning 13 stations owned and operated by the Eye, including CBS channels in New York, L.A. and Dallas, TW Cable actually briefly removed CBS channels earlier this week, before halting the blackout after CBS came back to the negotiating table. Companies have extended their previous contract until Friday, Aug. 2.

Raycom’s 53 stations in 18 states cover 12.6% of U.S. TV households, according to the broadcaster. The stations are located in markets including  Cincinnati (Fox); Honolulu (CBS and NBC); Cleveland, Ohio (CBS); Knoxville, Tenn. (Fox); Toledo, Ohio (CBS, Fox); Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (NBC); Tucson, Ariz. (CBS); Charlotte, N.C. (CBS); Lubbock, Texas (NBC); Wilmington, N.C. (NBC and Fox); and Memphis, Tenn. (NBC).

Retrans payments in the U.S. will reach $3 billion in 2013, doubling to $6 billion by 2018, according to estimates by research firm SNL Kagan. Under federal law, TV stations are allowed to demand either payment from pay TV operators for their channels or opt for “must carry,” which ensures distribution but involves no compensation.

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  1. David L Wilson says:

    Raycom and dish are just making it easier to move on to other other providers. Straighten this out, please. I already want to cut programs or move back to cable, like I said, they are making it easier to move on

  2. william love says:

    I don’t like what’s going on I pay money for these channels. I feel like they all big billy’s and they do think they have power. I give dish network a big fat F and unblock my channels

  3. Beth says:

    Raycom is being rediculous. I am to the point now, I don’t care if I get CBS or not. Raycom wants to charge the cable companies more money. Therefor, resulting in the cable companies raising their rates so we have to pay more. Raycom gets enough money. They are just being greedy now.

  4. ed gerheauser says:

    I agree with Dish. It’s sad that Raycom is holding the average TV watcher at fault. They don’t care about their audience. I say that whatever station Raycom has control of in my local area- I will NOT watch when the dispute is settled.

  5. I pay for fox 6 and I expect to get it.or I will cancel dish and get another company.i want what I pay for.give me fox or im gone.

    • You actually don’t pay for FOX 6 … It’s a local channel that’s part of a package. You can get it over the air genius! If you want it you can hook up an antenna or regular converter box and get that local channel!

  6. wkmtca says:

    i really do not give a crap who is worng, who is right, who is whatever. i pay my freaked dish bill for services one month in adnanve..i want waht i paid for and that included cbs. this is 5 days now. i am sick of it.

  7. Ronald says:

    You have brought the viewers in to the negotiations, without even considering them in the negotiations.
    I have talked to both parties and told the same thing. This is confusing CBS is asking for what all the other broadcasters get. Dish is wants CBS to come down to what the other broadcasters are asking.
    Dish says that CBS is asking 4 times the amount that other broadcasters are asking.
    I would agree with Dish if this is true.
    I CBS is asking for what other broadcasters are getting than I agree with CBS.
    I do not know what the truth is but both need to stop lie to your self’s or each other and come together remembering the consumer is paying on both ends of the deal. The consumer go the businesses that on the TV or radio station. The consumer pays for the cable or sidelight provider’s service.
    Both parties need to consider the consumer and come to an agreement.

    Thank you for bring this to an end.
    Ronald J. Conn
    Tucson Az
    I have sent this to both parties.

    • brett says:

      i’m so tired of this, money money money screw the little guy,i had directv last yr left because of the pac 12 channel now this yr i have dish and its raycom, makes me want to drop cable and just put up a antenna

  8. amjpnc says:

    I live in the NC mountains. I can only get TV using a satellite system. (So don’t tell me folks to just use an antenna. That is no longer a possibility (just get fuzz). I really prefer CBS news, and I’m very upset that I may miss some of favorite programs, such as CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes, both of which I’ve watched for years. Unless something is resolved soon, I guess I’ll have to wait until Monday to watch both of them via the Internet. What a pain!!

  9. William Hughes says:

    Haven’t had Cable TV for 6 1/2 years. Too much money, too many commercials and too little variety. I don’t miss them at all. $65.00 a month purchases DVDs, lots and lots and lots of them.

  10. david puckett says:

    while you squabble about money people have to go without get it fixed pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease

  11. Daniel Spain says:

    This is almost opposite of what the general manager of KOLD in Tucson, az told us. She said Dish is refusing to pay what other local carriers paid.

  12. LT says:

    not fair to the “Rural” customers who can not get free signals because of interference……keep it off long enough and I will find something else to spend my money on!

  13. Billie says:

    Seriously? This is archaic. I pay way too much for my Dish service to have one of the major stations blocked (CBS). Personally, I don’t care about the details of Dish and Raycom’s disagreement. Both of those corporations make a fortune by gouging their viewers and subscribers! Shame, shame, shame.

  14. As I have argued for several years, Congress and the FCC need to repeal the option of compensation in exchange for “retransmission” and just go back to the system that worked perfectly in the past: “must carry”. Television coporations have now crossed the line to being greedy. Not happy with having 4 channels on cable, which brings those TV stations additional viewers and hence, higher advertising dollars, they “demand” to be compensated for using the “free” airwaves that “belong” to the American people.

    Is it Obama or is it Congress (or both) who are afraid to turn media back to the viewing public; to add “substance” to the FCC, and to finally revert back to the 7-7-7 ownership rule which is valid under the US Constitution. Hey Democrats! Hey Republicans! How about some real public service from your offices and stop catering to a few who control media in the USA!.

  15. Judith Fox says:

    I am very upset that Raycom and Dish cannot agree on a contract, as a result the viewers have to go without their favorite shows such as the “Today show” which I have watched for years. It’s all about the money, as usual. Television watching is all to do with habit as to which shows we watch, so keep it off long enough and I will get in the habit of watching other channels and will not come back to NBC (WWBT) locally.

  16. Sheree Easley says:

    Come on raycom be reasonable. Your making common people suffer. Don’t make the public forget you totally. Lets have s contract by Friday night

  17. Mary Pulaski says:

    It has caused a lot of people in SC to be without CBS programing in Charleston, SC and other areas. Please try to help us to get our CBS shows back on the air. I do not know which is at fault in this, Dish or Raycom, but one of them needs to give. We have had Dish for a long time, but if it does not get resolved soon, we may have to look at other options.

  18. jc says:

    Raycom is just another greedy company, I went out and bought an antennae So I can get there channels for free and still have my dish network.
    Raycon can suck it

  19. Walter says:

    Considering I get the channels for free with a tuner, I don’t see why Dish has to pay for something I get for free.

  20. sheryl gonter says:

    gee if I have 1 more year on my 2 year plan with dish can I legally get out of the contract without having to pay for the rest of the year if I cancel the last year because they breached their contract with me and are not giving me the channels that I am paying for

    • I would argue – as a media and contract lawyer – that the answer is yes. But what they might do is to offer you a credit so you can buy an outside antenna to receive the on-air stations and still use Dish for “cable-type” programming.

  21. M L says:

    We depend on local channels for news and weather. Raycom had better take into account the dollars that are generated by local business adverting on there channel.

    • joe says:

      u mean “their” channel? hahahah

      • Denise says:

        I want to know what DISH is gonna sale without Primetime the Hopper is over! Really this should be taken to court and Raycom broken into pieces. I will break my contract with DISH I have told them not my problem I pay so you pay your bills and seek justice via a court room don’t think I will be blackmailed. Fair market value should rule I don’t know who is lying but I know we have enough stress in our life with the crazy people in Washington I don’t need to stress about cable. Fix or I am moving on to the next cable company and not paying DISH for leaving a year early. NO PRIMETIME NO DISH

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