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 ...


cwlbabydoc said…
Jake, I was actually surfing for a bit of insight into the factual particulars of the impending July 31 loss of my local Raycom channels. You gave me no solace. Is there a way to actually uncover the facts and if so affect the negotiations?
Chuck Lawrence, cynical consumer.
Jacob Newkirk said…

I wish I had better news. Unfortunately, at this point, they've still not reached a deal. If I were a Dish customer, I'd grab an antenna and have it ready to deploy should the need arise on 7/31.

As usual, I remain hopeful they'll come to terms, but it's always wise to be ready.

With regard to getting any deeper information, there's just no good way of doing that. In negotiations like this, companies just won't turn loose of those numbers. I can't really blame them; I wouldn't want the station next door knowing what I was up to, either.
cwlbabydoc said…
Thanks Jacob, I guess I will have to add even more spaghetti to the corner behind my big screen, bluray, amplifier, not hopper Dish receiver & turntable. Yes I'm ancient enough to still have vinyl!
Jacob Newkirk said…
I know it's no fun, but if there's any change, you can trust that I'll let you know.
sweather said…
Well seems like Dish Network keeps wanting to lose customers. A couple of years ago we lost Fox Network. Now here they go again screwing their customers over again by taking away NBC Networks. Keep it up Dish and Direct TV will be the big winner in all of your screwing over deals.
Anonymous said…
Its funny that cable and satellite companies have to pay for locals when the they're broadcast FREE over the air. #firstworldproblems
Anonymous said…
Can anyone tell me if after midnight tonight dish network will air another CBS station? I hate to miss Big Brother I live in the middle of nowhere and can't receive an antenna signal for KFVS12. Greed by both parties are aggravating and we are the losers because we will be the ones paying for the increase in rebroadcasting fees
Jacob Newkirk said…
Unfortunately, I doubt it. The way it works, Dish would have to get Raycom's permission to import a signal from outside the market (because KFVS is the default affiliate), and you can be relatively sure that permission would NOT be granted. So it's a no-win situation. :-(
Anonymous said…
What determines if a station is "must carry" or not? It is my feeling that local stations which transmit over the air, should all be MUST CARRY as should the three major networks. If an agreement is not reached between Dish and Raycom, will Dish be able to transmit NBC programing?
Jacob Newkirk said…
The stations decide whether they will be "must carry" or "retransmission consent" every three years. Now, that applies ONLY to commercial stations like WFIE, KFVS and WAVE. Public broadcasters like KET, WNIN and so on, they are must carry by default.

This all dates back to the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 ... and if you're wondering why something that was passed 21 years ago no longer works ... well, blame Congress for not fixing what they broke to start with.
Anonymous said…
Raycom and Dish will lose on this. Raycom wants four times more than their contract last year, according to Dish. Fewer viewers mean advertisers will pull the plug, lost revenue for Raycom, loyalty to the other networks for advertising. As of this morning, neither Raycom nor my NBC affiliate has posted a response on their website but Dish is pointing the finger. I'm disgusted with them both and gave up on NBC a long time ago. Raycom business practices are greedy and distrustful. I am ashamed their corporate offices are in my home state of Alabama. Thanks, Raycom, for reinforcing what is typical thoughts about southern politics. Enjoy your pork.
Jeff Eha said…
There are always to sides in any negotiation...I get that. Dish is pushing out the following text...

"At DISH, we are dedicated to providing our customers with the best programming at a fair value. We offered to pay Raycom the same rates as our competitors for the same content, but instead, Raycom demanded we pay unreasonable rate increases which are four times more than what we paid under the previous agreement. We remain open to negotiating in good faith with Raycom Media to reach an agreement. We have successfully reached agreements with hundreds of local stations across the country in the past year. We understand the marketplace well and remain hopeful that we will successfully reach a fair agreement with Raycom Media."

However, in response to an email I sent to Raycom Media, one of their execs said the following...

"Thank you for taking the time to email us and we do apologize for the inconvenience this disruption in your service has caused. Our parent company – Raycom Media – has diligently attempted to negotiate with DISH for continued service of WXIX on their system but have been met with very unprofessional negotiating tactics like long delays in response to our proposals and repeated hang-ups in the middle of negotiations. We offered them an opportunity to extend our current agreement beyond the July 31 deadline in an effort to avoid disruption and they turned us down.
I thank you for your loyalty to FOX19 and promise you we are working to negotiate a settlement as quickly as possible."

So...both companies need to GROW UP and resolve their dispute. If Raycom is asking for 4 times the amount -- I agree that's unreasonable and they need to bend. However, if Dish Network is tossing their weight around to squash the smaller entity because they think they can - then that's a problem. In the end they are only hurting their customers and damaging their image. I unfortunately just re-upped my contract so Dish has me by the balls so to speak -- otherwise I would seriously consider voting with my feet.

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