The parent of WBTV and Dish Network are slugging it out over how much the satellite company must pay to carry signals of the Charlotte CBS affiliate and other stations. The two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on the fees, and on Thursday the WBTV signal went dark for area Dish customers.
Raycom Media of Montgomery, AL, and Dish have been in talks to replace an agreement that expired at midnight July 31. With no new deal in place, Raycom pulled its TV stations in 36 markets from the Dish Network.
Programming costs – including fees paid to carry local channels – are the largest cost for satellite and cable TV providers, and they have continued to rise. Dish complained in a statement that Raycom is asking too much money.
“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 press release. “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. DISH has offered to pay Raycom the same rates as our primary competitors; yet Raycom has stalled negotiations, refusing to accept that fair offer.”
Raycom and WBTV, meanwhile, blamed the blackout on Dish. “This is particularly disappointing because all the other TV providers in our area have Agreements with us and those Agreements are fundamentally similar to the one we have been negotiating with Dish Network,” WBTV said in a note on its website.
WBTV.com statement about the dispute, “A message for Dish Network customers”
Dish network statement about the negotiations, “Dish customers in 36 markets blocked by Raycom Media”