Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
Editor's Note: You can find the latest information, including answers to frequently asked questions, at the bottom of this article.
We regret that, at noon, December 18, the DISH satellite service removed KCRG-TV from its channel lineup.
KCRG-TV has been in negotiations with the DISH Network for several weeks over continued carriage of KCRG-TV on the DISH satellite service. The Station's carriage agreement with DISH expired at midnight, November 30, but in an effort to accommodate DISH and avoid a disruption of service to DISH satellite subscribers, KCRG-TV granted DISH an extension to 12:00 noon, December 18, 2012.
Unfortunately, our negotiations have reached an impasse, and DISH satellite subscribers have now lost access to KCRG-TV programming from the DISH satellite service. We regret this inconvenience to DISH subscribers, but KCRG-TV continues to be available from local cable television systems, from DIRECTV, and for free, over the air.
Satellite companies, along with cable companies, markup the price they pay for local broadcast signals and resell those signals at a profit to their subscribers. Having paid top dollar in a competitive market for its award-winning national network, syndicated, local news, sports, weather, and public service programming, KCRG-TV cannot afford to give away its signal at below market rates to pay TV companies such as DISH.
The core dispute between DISH and KCRG-TV involves (1) the price DISH is willing to pay KCRGTV for the right to resell KCRG-TV's signal and (2) DISH's refusal to provide (as all local cable companies do) KCRG-TV's highly acclaimed second channel (KCRG 9.2) featuring live local sports and MyNetwork Affiliate programming. The Station has received requests from hundreds of unhappy DISH satellite subscribers requesting DISH to offer them this popular local program channel. To our disappointment, DISH has refused. This channel provides a variety of local news, high school sports, weather, and national syndicated and MyNetwork programming and we've offered this signal to DISH for free, but DISH has refused to offer it to its subscribers. In short, DISH is depriving its subscribers of access to a service we have offered to it for free.
DISH subscribers should also know that the DISH Network pays another, considerably less popular program provider five (5) times) more than the price KCRG-TV is asking for both its ABC Network channel and local community channel. Our price proposal, relative to what DISH pays for considerably less popular programming, is fair and reasonable by any standard.
It is our hope the current impasse will be resolved and DISH will, again, make KCRG-TV available to its subscribers. We will keep you informed of the progress of the negotiations. In the interim, however, you will wish to make plans for an alternative means of receiving KCRG-TV.
Viewers can access KCRG-TV9 free over-the-air with an antenna. Every KCRG-TV9 newscast is also streamed live on KCRG.com. Or you can watch live streaming newscasts on your mobile devices by downloading the Syncbak app from Google Play or the Apple Store. You'll find all of KCRG's broadcast channels streaming on the Syncbak app. You can also rely on updated information on the KCRG-TV9 Mobile App and the KCRG-TV9 Weather App.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the current status of KCRG's negotiations with DISH?
Answer: We are eager to reach a solution, and are currently awaiting a counter-offer from DISH. There has been no movement from DISH since KCRG made its latest compromise proposal to DISH on December 20.
Question: Is it true that KCRG is seeking a rate increase of approximately 500% over what it currently charges DISH?
Answer: KCRG's proposal is entirely consistent with current local market conditions. KCRG has negotiated some 50 retransmission consent agreements over the past year with local cable companies with no disruption of service. DISH is simply asking us to discount our rate and refuses to provide its subscribers with KCRG's local news, sports, and MyNetwork channel, which we have offered to DISH at no charge of any kind. We do not believe it is fair to the other companies with whom we have been dealing to give DISH the discount it is seekingespecially when DISH, itself, has announced it is raising its rates on various program packages from $5 to $15 per month (see, fiercecable.com, Dec. 19, 2012).
Question: If KCRG is available for free over the air, why does it charge DISH to carry its signal?
Answer: Cable and satellite carriers, with whom KCRG competes directly for viewers and advertisers, pay KCRG a modest price for the right to retransmit KCRG's signal. They then mark up the price and sell the signal to their subscribers for a profit. That's fine, of course, but it is only fair that KCRG's competitors pay a fair price for the right to resell KCRG's signal.
Question: Is KCRG in contract negotiations with DIRECTV?
Answer: No, and DIRECTV continues to carry the KCRG signal.
Question: Can DISH provide its subscribers with another ABC affiliate if an agreement is not reached with KCRG?
Answer: No. For the vast majority of our viewing area, KCRG's network affiliation contract with the ABC Networks is exclusive and satellite and cable companies cannot import a duplicating, out-of-market ABC station.
Question: But isn't it unfair to innocent DISH subscribers who have paid DISH to receive KCRG's signal but have no voice in this dispute?
Answer: That is a matter DISH subscribers will wish to discuss with DISH. DISH subscribers have various options: (1) Ask DISH for a rate refund and for reduced rates going forward since DISH is not offering KCRG; (2) obtain KCRG for free, over the air; or (3) subscribe to a cable company or another satellite carrier to receive KCRG.
Question: When do you think the negotiations will conclude and DISH subscribers will be able to receive KCRG?
Answer: It is up to DISH. We are waiting for DISH to submit a carriage proposal consistent with local market conditions.
Question: Why does DISH refuse to offer KCRG's second channel that offers popular local news, local sports, national syndicated and MyNetwork programming?
Answer: This is another matter DISH subscribers may wish to discuss with DISH. We are very disappointed DISH has refused to offer this very popular channel. Although we pay our programmers for that channel's programming, we have offered the channel to DISH, for free, if DISH will pay a market rate for our ABC channel. But, DISH refuses to carry this channel. Local cable companies, of course, do carry this local news, sports, syndicated, and MyNetwork channelso, if you are a DISH subscriber, you may wish to switch to cable to receive this channel, or you can receive it off the air for free.