Published: 2:29 pm, Thu. Mar. 9th, 2017Updated: 2:28 pm
DISH Network customers’ ire is continuing to rise as access to KOAT-TV, Albuquerque’s ABC affiliate, approaches one full week of being blocked.
Hearst Television, parent of KOAT-TV, says it is continuing its efforts to renew its carriage agreement with DISH Network after reaching an impasse March 3, resulting in KOAT-TV no longer being carried by DISH.
“Our negotiating team has been ready and available around the clock to engage in substantive negotiations with DISH Network,” said Mary Lynn Roper, president and general manager of KOAT. “We even granted DISH an extension in hopes of concluding a fair agreement that reflects the current marketplace.
“We recognize that viewers are upset, and we share their frustration. DISH seems to be employing their standard ‘playbook’ — using unfair tactics to hold subscribers hostage, while making unreasonable demands on yet another local broadcast station.”
Roper says that since 2015, DISH has been involved in nearly 60 percent of all carriage disputes with broadcasters, the largest amount of any pay TV operator. DISH has refused to carry one or more broadcasters nearly every week since this Christmas.
DISH, meanwhile, says Hearst has imposed a “blackout” in order to secure leverage in the companies’ contract talks and is running a repeating spot on DISH Channel 7 blaming Hearst for the channel’s removal. DISH says it offered to agree to the same deal Hearst struck in January with DirecTV and Hearst refused.
“In the end, DISH’s tactics hurt their subscribers and our viewers. DISH is making subscribers pay for programming they are not receiving. That just isn’t fair,” said Roper. “Having spoken to a number of viewers about the current impasse, I’d like to remind DISH subscribers that while DISH is not carrying KOAT-TV at this time, we have not ‘blacked out’ our station. You may continue to receive KOAT-TV for free, over the air, and, where available, from your local cable or satellite operators.
“Additionally, we believe DISH should offer refunds or credits to DISH subscribers who are not receiving KOAT-TV. We recommend that subscribers contact DISH Network customer service to ask about a refund or a credit at 1-800-894-9131.”