Photo: CBS46 has gone dark for Dish subscribers, which meant they missed out on Tuesday’s episode of “Love Island.”
Photo: CBS46 has gone dark for Dish subscribers, which meant they missed out on Tuesday’s episode of “Love Island.”

CBS46 goes dark for Dish subscribers

Originally posted Tuesday, July 16, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Dish Network subscribers in metro Atlanta lost access to CBS46 (WGCL-TV) over a carriage rate dispute Tuesday evening.

This happened after the two sides extended their negotiation period 24 hours from a Monday night deadline. 

This meant Dish viewers missed a rather disparate set of offerings Tuesday evening: episode six of the reality show “Love Island,” a new episode of the action-adventure drama “Blood & Treasure” and a 50th anniversary special about the 1969 moon landing.

Dish pays Meredith Corp., the owners of WGCL-TV and stations in 11 other markets, to air their programming. But the two sides have not been able to procure a deal. So Meredith decided to go public with the spat and set this deadline.

These types of disputes pop up every so often. Both WSB-TV and 11Alive have been blacked out for short periods in recent years by satellite services but neither one lasted very long.

Meredith released this statement:

“Meredith has been trying for months to get DISH Network to negotiate seriously and reaching a deal is our top priority,” said Patrick McCreery, President, Meredith Local Media Group. “We know the vital local news, emergency information, and top-rated sports and entertainment programming we provide are important to DISH’s customers, and we hope DISH will make it a priority to reach a deal too. Meredith stands ready, willing and able to reach a fair deal with DISH. Meredith has successfully completed hundreds of carriage agreements, and there is still time for DISH to reach a deal too.”

Dish said in a press release that “Meredith is blocking consumers in an effort to gain negotiating leverage as it demands higher monthly rates for its local channels. Meredith is also asking DISH to pay for subscribers who choose to receive their local channels for free over the air.” Dish offered to extend the deadline and keep the stations on air but Meredith refused, Dish said. 

Dish said it is offering digital over-the-air (OTA) antennas at no cost so that customers in affected markets can watch these channels for free. Qualified customers would also get a $12 break on their monthly bill if they were also using those antennas. Dish noted that broadcast fees have gone up well in excess of inflation in recent years. 

CBS46 remains available via any free over-the-air digital antenna and all other available cable and satellite services such as Xfinity, Charter and AT&T U-Verse/DirecTV. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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