WSB-TV back on Dish TV after more than four months

AP file, Paul Sakuma
AP file, Paul Sakuma

Credit: Paul Sakuma

Credit: Paul Sakuma

The dispute was resolved Sunday

On Sunday, Dish TV signed a multi-year deal with Cox Media Group and placed all CMG stations back on the air, including WSB-TV in Atlanta, according to Ray Carter, vice president and general manager of WSB-TV.

For more than four months, the two sides had been unable to resolve how much Dish was to pay for CMG’s suite of 13 broadcast stations in 10 markets. This impacted Dish subscribers in places like Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Boston; and Seattle.

Back in July, CMG said it was up to Dish to black out stations, not the other way around.

Dish at the time said CMG rejected an offer that would have kept the stations on air.

“We don’t understand why Apollo is choosing to put customers in the middle of its negotiations, especially during a global pandemic when customers need access to local news and programming,” Dish SVP of programming Andy LeCuyer said in a press release in July. “We have offered to apply our current agreement — with higher rates — to keep their channels available and avoid any service interruption while we continue to negotiate, but they refused, demanding a 40-percent increase to rates agreed to last year. We want to come to a long-term agreement that is fair for our customers.”

CMG, in its release, said it’s “hopeful that Dish will abandon its well-worn path of blacking out TV stations to the detriment of viewers in favor of meaningful negotiations that bear a mutually beneficial deal for all parties.”

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which purchased a majority stake in CMG a year ago, in January had a similar dispute with Dish in 10 other markets. Those stations returned to Dish in March, when the pandemic began.

Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in its entirety, now possesses a minority stake in CMG.

Dish has about 9 million subscribers nationwide, down from 9.5 million a year earlier. The service does not release how many subscribers it has in specific markets.

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