11Alive is off the air for Dish Network subscribers

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager of "Today" on Thursday Sept 23, 2021 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC)
Caption
Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager of "Today" on Thursday Sept 23, 2021 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC)

Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC

The dispute between Tegna and Dish impacts 64 stations in more than 50 markets as of 9 p.m. EST Oct. 6.

Dish Network subscribers trying to catch “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” Wednesday night were out of luck because 11Alive and sister station WATL-TV were taken off the air as of 9 p.m. because the two sides failed to come up with an agreeable carriage contract.

Tegna, the owner of 64 stations including 11Alive, couldn’t come to terms with Dish over how much it would receive in the latest contract. These types of disputes happen every so often. Dish has had similar disputes that resulted in blackouts for WSB-TV and Fox 5 the past couple of years.

11Alive is an NBC affiliate and airs “Today,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Days of Our Lives,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy” and a prime-time line-up that includes “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Voice,” “New Amsterdam” and NFL’s “Sunday Night Football.” WATL airs shows like “The Steve Wilkos Show,” “Judge Jerry,” “Maury” and repeats of “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Technically, 11Alive and WATL-TV are free to anyone who hooks up a digital antenna. And many of the prime-time shows are available the next day on the Peacock or Hulu streaming services.

Dish said this blackout impacts about 3 million subscribers nationwide including Tegna stations in Denver, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Washington, Buffalo, New York, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

The satellite service has seen its subscriber numbers erode from 14 million in 2011 to about 11.3 million in 2020. Dish does not release subscriber numbers for specific metro areas but if Atlanta is proportionally represented, that means Dish has around 200,000 subscribers in metro Atlanta.

Tegna released a statement after the blackout began: “Dish has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us based on the competitive terms we’ve used to reach deals with numerous other providers that reflect the current market. While Dish is one of our smaller distributors, we regret any inconvenience for any of our customers, and hope that Dish will come back to the table to get a deal done to return our valuable programming to their system.”

Dish said Tegna is being the greedy one. “We made a fair offer to keep Tegna stations available to our customers, but Tegna rejected it, forcing the removal of its channels,” said Brian Neylon, group president, DISH TV. “Tegna is looking to sell its stations to the highest bidder and is simply trying to exploit Dish customers as a way to get the maximum price and further fatten their wallets.”

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