KCRG Cautions DISH Viewers on Deal Holdup

By Dave DeWitte, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - KCRG-TV9 alerted DISH Network viewers this week that KCRG could go dark on DISH if extended talks on a new retransmission agreement don't yield a new accord. The current extension expires at noon, Dec. 18.

A three-year retransmission deal that allowed DISH to carry KCRG, the market's ABC affiliate, was originally set to expire on Nov. 30. KCRG granted the satellite entertainment provider until Dec. 18 to avoid a disruption of service, according to KCRG.

Meridian, Colo.-based DISH Network is one of the nation's two major direct broadcast satellite providers.

In an on-air message to DISH subscribers, KCRG said the core dispute involves the price DISH is willing to pay the television station for rights to resell KCRG's signal, and DISH's refusal to provide KCRG 9.2, KCRG-TV's second channel that features live local sports and MyNetwork Affiliate programming.

DISH did not respond to requests for comment on the negotiations.

Tim McDougall, vice president of products for the Gazette Co., said KCRG still hopes to reach an agreement before the extension expires.

"Sign on to sign off, we consistently have more viewers in this region than any other station, whether that station is a broadcast affiliate like us or a non-broadcast channel like ESPN," McDougall said. "DISH re-sells our signal to subscribers at a marked-up rate and, while we respect them as a partner, we believe they should pay a fair price for re-transmitting our signal."

DISH viewers can continue to receive KCRG by adding an antenna, McDougall noted, or by switching to cable or another satellite provider.
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