Retrans Row Knocks 10 Young Stations Off Dish

A retransmission consent contract between Young Broadcasting and satellite provider Dish Network has expired, knocking 10 Young stations off the air for Dish subscribers. The Young stations include KRON San Francisco, WTEN Albany and WRIC Richmond.

WRIC put it this way: "Unfortunately DISH has chosen to drop WRIC-TV8. We tried to for several months to reach a fair agreement that does not discriminate against this station. We will continue to seek a fair and reasonable agreement with DISH.

"You may continue to receive our great programs on WRIC-TV8 by alternative means. Your choices include free over the air, through satellite with DIRECTV, your local cable company or in some areas your local phone company."

DISH saw it somewhat differently, saying it would try to hammer out a deal, framing its decision not to meet Young's price as unwillingness to pass along that increase to customers in the form of higher prices.

In a press release issued Thursday in all affected markets, this one tailored to WTEN, DISH called Young's rate increases unreasonable, pointed out it was contracturally obligated to drop the stations. 

"Young Broadcasting, Inc. is demanding unreasonable contract terms and an excessive rate increase for continued carriage on DISH Network," DISH said. "[T]hose demands would translate into a significant cost increase that DISH Network would have to pass along to its customers in the form of higher monthly bills."

DISH pointed subscribers to a Website it had set up showing bewildered customers and the word "Confused?" DISH asked unhappy customers to contact Young Broadcasting directly to express themselves and included a phone number for that purpose.

The use of "Confused?" played to the argument made by multichannel video providers to the FCC when asking it to step in and prevent signals from being pulled during the months leading up to the DTV transition. They suggest it will confuse viewers who may think it is related to the DTV switch rather than carriage deal impasses.

The affected markets are Lansing, MI.; Lafayette, LA.; Albany, NY.; Nashville, TN.; Knoxville, TN.; Green Bay, WI.; Richmond, VA.; Davenport, IA; San Francisco, CA.; Sioux Falls, SD.; and Rapid City, SD.