Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 8:37 pm | Fair 59º


Negotiation Spat Leads To KSBY Blackout For Dish Network Customers

Dish Network subscribers lost KSBY-TV programming Thursday as the two firms failed to reach a new pact on the fee the satellite firm pays to air the local NBC affiliate.

Minnesota-based Cordillera Communications, owner of San Luis Obispo-based KSBY and other network-affiliated TV stations across the country, earlier this week warned viewers who watch its stations through Dish Network of a potential loss of programming. 

Cordillera representatives said in a news release they have been in negotiations with Dish Network since November over the fee the satellite company must pay Cordillera to retransmit its signals.

The previous agreement expired at 10 a.m. Thursday, and the station's programming was removed from the lineup mid-day with both sides urging viewers to contact the other.

“Cordillera is committed to working 24/7 to continue negotiations with Dish Network, but we have significant doubt that a new agreement can be reached before the deadline,” said Terrance Hurley, president of Cordillera Communications.

KSBY — the NBC affiliate for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties that airs on Channel 6 — is urging Dish Network subscribers to call the satellite firm at 1.800.333.DISH (1.800.333.3474) to keep the programming from disappearing.

Dish posted a notice on the program guide saying, "KSBY removed your access to NBC 6. For more info, please visit DishPromise.com or call the Station Manager at 805.541.6666.

“Only Cordillera Communications can force a blackout of its channels. Dish is actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires,” Dish said in a statement sent to Noozhawk on Wednesday.

“Dish has successfully negotiated agreements representing hundreds of stations in recent months that benefit all parties, including our viewers,” the Dish statement added.

“We are unsure why Cordillera decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”

Federal law since 1992 has required cable and satellite providers to obtain permission to redistribute broadcast programming and prohibits carrying replacement networks from outside the local market. 

This “retransmission consent” requirement was put in place by Congress to protect local broadcasters.

Every few years, local stations and the satellite and cable providers that carry them negotiate new retransmission consent agreements that include a programming fee, among other provisions.

Along with KSBY, Cordillera’s other local stations in Montana, Colorado, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas and Arizona also could disappear from Dish Network if an agreement is not reached.

Spats like these between local televisions and cable or satellite companies are not uncommon.

A year ago, the local NBC affiliate disappeared for 10 days from the DirecTV lineup over a similar dispute before KSBY programming returned for those subscribers.

And a contract dispute between Santa Barbara-based KEYT, the local ABC affiliate, and DirecTV disrupted service for approximately two weeks in 2013.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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