Gannett TV stations could go dark on DISH Network

6:03 PM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - You may have noticed commercials and information running on WZZM 13 regarding DISH network.

WZZM 13's parent company, Gannett Broadcast, is in negotiations with DISH over the fees that DISH must pay to carry WZZM 13's programming.

(Retransmission Fees and Must Carry rules explained by the FCC)

Gannett has released a statement:

Over the past several months, Gannett Broadcasting has worked hard to reach a fair agreement with DISH for continued carriage of our local broadcast stations. Thus far, DISH has refused to reach a fair, market-based deal with us. If DISH refuses to reach a deal before midnight, October  7, DISH subscribers could lose their local Gannett station and access to some of the year's best programming. We remain committed to continuing to negotiate with DISH right up to that deadline and believe an agreement is possible, as we are seeking nothing more than the same market-based terms that have allowed us to reach deals with TV providers across the country. Gannett has never had a service disruption with a major TV provider and we hope we do not face that situation with DISH. However, we have a responsibility to our viewers, so today we are beginning a public information campaign to make them aware of the situation and urge them to make their voices heard.

If DISH and Gannett do not reach a deal, DISH customers will lose WZZM 13 programs on Sunday night, but that will only affect DISH Network customers.

DISH has posted a statement on its website. It reads, in part:

Gannett Broadcasting Inc. is threatening to block DISH customers' access to Gannett's programming unless DISH agrees to pay massive penalties or stop its customers from using DISH's new commercial-skipping AutoHop™ feature.

Gannett's demands translate into more than a 300 percent rate increase, which would likely result in higher monthly fees for consumers.

Additionally, Gannett has demanded that DISH eliminate customer-enabled commercial-skipping technology found on its Hopper™ Whole-Home DVRs or pay a massive penalty.

In addition to WZZM 13, the negotiations also involve Gannett Broadcasting stations in Atlanta and Macon, GA, Washington, D.C., Denver, CO, Minneapolis, MN, Cleveland, OH, Phoenix, AZ, Tampa and Jacksonville, FL, Sacramento, CA, St. Louis, MO, Little Rock, AR, Bangor and Portland, ME, Buffalo, NY, Greensboro, NC, Columbia, SC and Knoxville, TN.

Click here for more information from WZZM 13 and Gannett.

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