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KCRG-TV Makes Second Offer to End DISH Retransmission Dispute

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - KCRG-TV9 made another offer Monday to DISH Network to settle a retransmission contract dispute that's left DISH subscribers without KCRG's programming for nearly three weeks.

DISH Network subscribers in Eastern Iowa have been without access to KCRG-TV9 since the last retransmission agreement extension expired at noon Dec. 18.

"Obviously, for our viewers we'd like to get this resolved so we're going to try to take some initiative to see if we can reach an agreement," said Tim McDougall, vice president of products for The Gazette Co., which owns KCRG-TV9 and The Gazette.

McDougall said DISH Network had still not responded to KCRG-TV9's last counteroffer on Dec. 20, but he remains hopeful that a settlement can be reached.

DISH Network spokesman John Hall declined to comment, reissuing a previous DISH statement on the negotiations.

DISH Network viewers have complained to both companies about losing access to KCRG-TV9.

DISH Network has issued bill credits to some of its customers who've complained about losing KCRG-TV9 access, based on emails to the TV station and Facebook postings, McDougall said.

DISH says the dispute is about higher retransmission payments KCRG-TV9 is seeking in the talks. It says KCRG-TV9 is asking DISH to pay six times more than what it is paying now for the same content.

"DISH has offered to pay Cedar Rapids TV a sizable rate increase that aligns with current market value," said Andrew LeCuyer, DISH vice president of programming, in a statement. "We have reached agreements with hundreds of stations throughout the country over the last year, so we know with certainty that our offers have been fair. We hope Cedar Rapids TV will adopt a more reasonable approach."

Neither side has disclosed specific details of their offers.

KCRG-TV9 has confirmed that it is asking for more, but indicated it is from a low base. McDougall said KCRG-TV9 is the most viewed station in this market on DISH's system, and wants higher revenue to cover higher costs of network programming and to cover rising local news production costs.

"Cedar Rapids TV has threatened to block DISH customers' access to its ABC affiliate (KCRG) unless DISH agrees to pay more than six times what it pays now for the same content. We understand local and network programming is important to our customers, and we must hold the line to deliver the value our customers expect from DISH.