WARNING: Dish customers may lose Raycom stations if new agreement isn't reached by July 31
14WFIE, KFVS12 and WAVE 3 could be pulled if the two sides can't reach a new deal
You've probably seen the warnings already, as they're the same whether you're watching 14WFIE, KFVS12 or WAVE 3:
As you may know by now, [insert station here] may not be available on Dish Network after July 31st.
We know this is frustrating. We share your frustration.
Let us briefly explain what happened, what is likely to happen next and what you can do to make sure you don’t miss a minute of your favorite local news and weather and great [insert station here] programs ...
So what's really going on here?
First of all, TV stations can decide whether they will be "must carry" (meaning cable and/or satellite systems must carry them) or "retransmission consent." That decision is made every few years. The owners of stations which are "retransmission consent" — such as 14, 12 and 3 — negotiate with carriers like Dish, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and others, usually for a fee, giving the rights to the stations' programming to those companies.
A number of broadcasting companies have turned retransmission consent into a real cash cow. Nexstar Broadcasting, just to use one ready example, took in $23.8 million in retransmission fees from cable and satellite providers for its family of stations ... just in the first quarter of this year. (And that was 64% more than the same period a year before.)
And you pay for that.
I don't know how much Raycom Media, which owns the three stations we're talking about, wants from Dish this time around. Broadcasters and providers don't make that publicly known, so their competitors cannot gain an edge. But if Dish tells you it's more, it may well be.
So what can you do?
Well, you could call the stations or Dish, but they'll tell you very little, and it's just likely to end in frustration. (And you'll get no more information than they're already giving you on their respective websites or social media.)
You could also switch to another satellite company or cable. But the odds are good that they'll have the same issue at some point. Maybe not 14, 12 or 3, but someone.
My advice, if you want it, is to switch to an antenna for your local channels. In many instances, you'll have no trouble getting the local programming you want. The expense is one-time-only, and for most isn't excessive. If you're not sure if you can do it, there are professionals in our area who can install one for you, and they do great work.
And you won't have to put up with the possibility of losing a channel because someone wants more money.
Stay tuned ...