DISH Network customers hitting their clickers and looking for their Watertown-based CBS and Fox stations are being greeted by a message suggesting the stations parent company is responsible for WWNY TV 7 and Fox 28 the stations being removed from its lineup.
Both sides in the contract dispute are blaming the other party for a dispute that currently leaves DISH customers without access to the two Watertown stations. The closest station now on the DISH network in St. Lawrence County is the Utica-based NBC affiliate.
WWNY and YNN, a station only available on Time Warner Cable, are the only television options with news reporters based in St. Lawrence County.
WWNY has the following statement on its website:
After a little over a weeks extension, DISH Network has decided to drop WWNY TV/7 News and WNYF/Fox 28 from its service.
We expect DISH will drop the two stations just before 2 a.m. Thursday, as our programming concludes for the day.
DISH and WWNYs parent company havent reached agreement on a new contract to replace an agreement that expired at the end of July.
The financial part of the deal was settled some weeks ago; the companies are at odds over contract language.
DISH is demanding that WWNY/WNYF accept contract language that would violate contracts for the programming the stations carry from various sources including the CBS and FOX networks, said Ken Dowdell, vice-president of United Communications Corp., the Kenosha, Wisconsin-based company that owns WWNY.
DISH is seeking terms that would put WWNY at odds with CBS and Fox, its networks, Dowdell said.
Dowdell emphasized that it was DISHs choice, not WWNYs, to pull the stations from its service. It is not what the stations want, he said.
DISHs customers can call the companys customer service line, 1-800-333-3474, to voice their opinions.
As well, DISH customers have other options, including DIRECT TV, Time Warner cable and other cable companies, and for free, using an antenna.
DISH also issued a release overnight:
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – United Communications Corp. blocked DISH customers in Mankato, Minn. and Watertown from receiving local CBS and Fox-affiliated programming, DISH (NASDAQ: DISH) announced today. Uniteds blackout affects KEYC (CBS) and KEYC-DT2 (Fox) in Mankato; and WWNY (CBS) and WNYF (Fox) in Watertown.
This service disruption comes despite ongoing negotiations between the two parties in an effort to reach a new carriage agreement. Although DISH offered to accept the broadcasters rates for continued carriage, United has refused DISH the legal right to carry these channels at this time.
We have agreed to key financial terms, yet United has chosen to bring consumers into an avoidable dispute by blocking customers access to these CBS and Fox affiliates, said Sruta Vootukuru, DISH director of programming. United seems to have drifted away from its public service commitment to communities, but DISH remains ready to work with United to bring local content back to viewers.
To learn more about DISHs negotiations with United Communications Corp., visit www.DISHValuePledge.com.