The Baton Rouge, La., ABC affiliate says the satellite provider has received extensions of the contract that expired at the end of June and if a new agreement isn’t reached by Aug. 21, it will pull its signal.
The carriage agreement between Dish Network and Manship Family-owned ABC affiliate WBRZ Baton Rouge, La. (DMA 93), expired on June 30. WBRZ’s General Manager Rocky Davobal said in a statement today that “Dish has refused to enter into a [new] carriage agreement on terms consistent with those of other pay TV companies which have recently entered into agreements with our station.”
Daboval expressed hope the current impasse will be resolved and Dish’s subscribers will not lose access to WBRZ on Aug. 21, when the current contract extension expires, but he cautioned that Dish subscribers may wish to make plans for receiving the station off the air for free, or switch to a local cable company or DirecTV.
Daboval said the station and Dish have been in negotiations for several weeks, but the talks have reached an impasse. To avoid a disruption of service to Dish’s subscribers, Davobal said the station has granted Dish multiple extensions.
Pay TV companies, like Dish, mark-up the price they pay broadcast stations for the right to re-sell their signal to their subscribers, Daboval said, adding that WBRZ must pay “top dollar in a highly competitive market for its award-winning, national network, syndicated, local news, sports, weather and public service programming. The core dispute between Dish and the station involves the terms Dish is willing to agree to for the right to re-sell the station’s signal.”
Daboval also pointed out that DISH “pays other, considerably less popular program providers some four times the rate the station is asking in payment for its more highly rated signal.”