Thursday, December 18, 2008

DISH vs. Fisher: Will Portland & Seattle's DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES drag out the LOST rabbit ears to VIEW the upcoming premiere of THE BACHELOR?? graphic
KATU parent Fisher Communications in contract dispute with satellite provider, signal interrupted for DISH customers

The contract for DISH Network to carry Portland's KATU-TV (and other Fisher Communications stations in respective markets) ended at 11:00pm yesterday (17 December 2008). As of a few hours ago, customers of DISH Network tuning in to the local ABC affiliate are seeing a message from DISH Network's SVP of Programming explaining the situation and suggesting alternative stations to view local programming. Read a DISH Networks statement. has a message from station management explaining Channel 2's position on the dispute. The statement reads, in part:
"We believe DISH should be willing to pay a small portion of the fees you pay to DISH for the program content we provide to you."
KATU-TV statement.

Other stations have had similar contract disputes with the Echostar-owned satellite provider. One dispute, involving Young Broadcasting (i.e. KRON-TV, San Francisco) was recently resolved. No word on the terms of this settlement.

This got me thinking...
A) Do you receive programming via. DISH Networks?
B) Do you care that you are currently without your Fisher-owned stations?
C) Who, in your take, is at fault here?

Will Portland's DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES drag out the LOST rabbit ears to VIEW the upcoming premiere of THE BACHELOR?? [...rimshot!]

Of course, being your always-helpful tech expert... I've got some handy tips to keep watching your favorite ABC network and local affiliate programs:

  1. For those without ABC-affiliates KOMO-TV (SEA) or KATU-TV (PDX), many local newscasts (incl. the Portland talk show "AM Northwest" on which I am a frequent guest talking technology) are available at the stations' respective website.

  2. Rabbit ear antennas will provide a temporary workaround for those who can receive an over-the-air signal in their area. This solution may not work without a converter box after Feb. 17 (I'd guess/hope this issue will be resolved prior to the DTV conversion date), but could get you by for now.

  3. Comcast customers and DirecTV subscribers are not affected. (I'm NOT advocating a switch, but some upset DISH Network customers are considering the move -- and it is, in fact, an option.)


Bondo said...

You would think both parties could come to some sort of tentative agreement for the sake of their customers. How about a memorandum of agreement to continue service under the previous contract until an agreement under the new contract terms are argreed upon? Both parties have a "black eye" in the view of their customers under current terms.

Frustrated KATU viewer and Dish Network customer!


Bondo said...

Sounds like there is more to this proverbial "pissing match" than either company is leading onto in their PSA's. It appears that Dish owes Fisher Inc. some payola from a previous carriage agreement deal to broadcast a channel from Washington, see article in this link:,661179.shtml

As I previousley stated, all of this at the expense of the consumer!


Deaddancer said...

I used to love Dish Network, but now I feel I've been scammed. They called me last week, and offered me free HBO package since I was "such a valuable customer" (I have been with Dish Network for over 7 years). Of course it would require a 2 year commitment, but really, that didn't bother me as for the most part, I have no complaints about them (save the issue with Comcast Sportsnet, which I used to think was Comcast being greedy, but now I'm not so sure). Anyway, I agree to the package, and the next day I find out my local ABC affiliate has been pulled. I'd like to hear how many other Portland area customers were given this "special" offer. Also, I'd like to know if I have recourse to pull out of this deal, since I feel I didn't have all the pertinent information?

Anonymous said...

I'm annoyed at the lack of KATU programming. Not necessarily for the ABC shows, but the news. It pains me to have to watch FOX (KPTV) but I do what I have to do right now.

I agreed with Ryan's comment. You'd think they'd come to a tentative agreement. BUT Dish does owe Fisher quite a bit of money, and for what the rates they are bilking homes, why can't they pay up? A deal is a deal and they need to make good on that old contract. To me Dish is in the dog house. And yes, why can't they show Comcast Sports Net? That's BS. I imagine, it's likely because they do not want to pay Comcast, much like they don't want to pay KATU.

I can't wait for a resolution to this issue. I just also added a new 2 year contract, but to my own doing. I bought an HDTV and now have an HDTV box, which in turn, comes with a new 2-year agreement.

Grammie said...

I grew up in Vancouver and was a loyal KATU viewer. Where I live now, rabbit ears are not an option and my favorite program, Jeopardy, isn't available online because it's syndicated. We got Dish Network only after they made the Portland channels available, so I feel cheated that this was sprung on us without warning. That being said, Fisher has not denied requesting over 80% increase for something that basically costs them nothing. While they need to settle the other payment issue, it should not be a part of this dispute, since it was for different markets. The only thing I know for sure is that it is (once again) the little guys like us who are getting cheated. As for me, the KOIN-6 folks are really starting to grow one me. :)

WestCoastCynic said...

What I find interesting is that the local media, newspapers, TV and radio, never mention this dispute or that fact that Dish Network cant retransmit any of the KOMO 4 broadcasts.