At 6pm Central on Wednesday, August 29, DISH Network yanked all 18 TV stations owned by a family-owned broadcasting company based in a Mississippi River town from its lineups across the nation.
As of today, no resolution appears to be in sight, with DISH and the stations’ owner trading barbs over the failed negotiations for a new retransmission fee agreement.
Trouble began brewing August 20, when Quincy Media stations including ABC affiliate WAOW-9 in Wausau, Wisc., warned that it had failed to reach a new retrans agreement with DISH. As such, as of 6pm Central on August 22 all Quincy stations were in jeopardy of getting yanked from DISH lineups across the U.S., by law in lieu of a new pact.
“WAOW has successfully completed new agreements with every other programming provider,” the ABC affiliate said. “We are hoping that a new agreement will be reached on time, but if we are unable to reach a new agreement, then you will no longer be able to watch WAOW ABC or CW on DISH.”
That’s exactly what happened, but with some extensions — first until August 24 at 6pm Central, and again until August 29 at 6pm Central.
No further extensions were to be had.
Speaking on behalf of Quincy, WAOW noted that the company has been working on a new agreement with DISH for the past several months. “We offered DISH five extensions to provide more time to complete a new agreement, but unfortunately, we could not agree to the demands DISH was requiring for a new agreement,” the station said.
“WAOW has successfully reached new agreements with every other multi-channel video programming service that carries our station,” the station continued. “In all other cases, we feel we reached fair and reasonable agreements, agreements that reflect the current marketplace, and not one of those negotiations resulted in our station being dropped from the service.”
Quincy’s WAOH then went on to note of DISH’s “long track record” of disputes and “blackouts” with broadcasters, including a current national dispute with Univision.
“[W]hat is happening with WAOW is not unusual,” it said.
WAOW then noted that it continues to be available over the air, along with CW (9.2) and Decades (9.3), and is available on Charter Spectrum, DirecTV, and 9 other multi-channel video programming services in the Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisc., area.
Quincy’s stations are located in Duluth, Minn.; Sioux City, Iowa; Rochester, Minn.; Waterloo, Iowa; Peoria, Ill.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Madison, Wisc.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Eau Claire, Wisc.; Rockford, Ill.; South Bend, Ind.; Bluefield, W. Va.; La Crosse, Wisc.; Eagle River, Wisc.; and Crandon, Wisc.
Responding to the Wausau Daily Herald regarding the dispute, DISH SVP/Programming Andy LeCuyer said in a statement, “Quincy chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use its viewers as bargaining chips.”