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DISH Network drops Fisher Communications channels

DISH Network drops Fisher Communications channels

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{UPDATE} DISH Network and Fisher Communications have ended their contract dispute that kept Fisher stations including KOMO and KIMA off the satellite service since December. Dish resumed broadcasts of Fisher stations at 10:25 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, 2009.Read more.


The Washington Attorney General’s Office has received complaints from DISH Network customers who are no longer able to receive certain network TV stations in Washington. Stations no longer available to DISH customers are: KOMO and KUNS in Seattle; KIMA and KUNW in Yakima; KATU in Portland, Ore; KVAL in Eugene, Ore., KBCI in Boise, Idaho; KIDK in Idaho Falls, and KBAK and KBFX in Bakersfield, Calif. DISH Network stopped providing their signals as part of a dispute with Seattle-based Fisher Communications after the companies were unable to come to terms on a new contract.

Fisher wants more money. The company issued a news release on the issue that includes the following statement:

"Despite Fisher's good-faith efforts to negotiate a new agreement, we were unable to reach acceptable terms to ensure that DISH provides us fair compensation for the value they receive from broadcasting our stations, which have leading positions in their markets and consistently deliver highly viewed news and programming," said Rob Dunlop, Fisher's senior vice president of operations. "Our signal remains available over the public airwaves and through other service providers such as cable or DIRECTV. We regret any inconvenience DISH Network viewers may experience as they look for other options in order to watch our stations."

Separately, Fisher announced that it has filed a $1 million breach of contract lawsuit over DISH's failure to comply with the terms of the prior carriage agreement. The lawsuit was filed Dec. 18 in federal district court in Oregon. Fisher claims that DISH, based in Englewood, Colo., violated the terms of the carriage agreement when it failed to retransmit Portland station KUNP's signal from July 2006, when Fisher acquired the station, until April 30, 2008.

To understand why this is happening, it’s helpful to understand the differences between types of channels and how they make revenue.

This is a contract issue between the two companies. However, upset consumers in Washington State may file a complaint online with our office. (Our Consumer Resource Center phone lines are closed today, Dec. 22, due to the winter storms. The center can normally  be reached at 1-800-551-4636 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.)

Because the Attorney General’s Office wants consumers to seek to resolve their disputes directly with businesses, consumers who file complaints with our office should also write letters to both Fisher and DISH, indicating their displeasure at the companies’ inability to resolve their contract issues:

DISH Network
9601 S. Meridian Blvd.
Englewood, CO 80112

Fisher Communications
100 4th Ave N
Suite 510
Seattle, WA 98109

State attorneys general have stepped in when cable or satellite companies use deceptive marketing or fail to disclose all fees or material terms, such as informing customers of when pricing or programming changes might occur. But barring allegations of violations of the Consumer Protection Act, the Washington Attorney General’s Office doesn’t have the authority to take enforcement action when companies change their programming. The Federal Communications Commission is generally not authorized to participate in discussions between television stations and cable systems regarding retransmission consent agreements. Furthermore, the FCC cannot tell a cable operator which stations or program services to delete in order to comply with the must-carry requirement.

Posted by Sarah Lane All Consuming Blog Moderator at 10/26/2011 04:28:37 PM | 

What was once free (network broadcasting) is now a highly regulated, fee service and the only one's paying the price are the consumers. Now, it seems, we are paying the price and receiving nothing in return.

My busines would not last long if we did not provide value for payment received.
Posted by: Jalene Evans ( Email ) at 12/24/2008 10:26 AM

I am greatlful to Dish Network for looking out for their customers. Unlike cable companies that just raise our rates, Dish is working to avoid doing that. Fighting against greedy corporations for the good of its customers. It is a rarety noe days.
Posted by: Brenda ( Email ) at 12/28/2008 11:54 AM

Unfortunately DISH is in the corner on this and it's at a dead standstill. I cannot understand why they couldn't negotiate a temporary contract (6 mos etc..) so their viewers wouldn't have to leave and go to the competition. I am mad as hell at DISH and I want out. Aren't they breaking their end of the deal with me by telling me I can get all these channels and now I can't but am locked in? That doesn't seem right and the WA AG needs to be on our side on with that. If he did, then WE the consumer would have the power, right now we are stuck waiting to see who's gonna budge.
Posted by: Brad ( Email ) at 12/29/2008 10:42 PM

I'm not sure why anybody would want to pay to watch or to broadcast a Fisher station when their stations are usually sitting in black most of the time.
Posted by: Steve James ( Email ) at 12/30/2008 6:02 PM

This is all ridiculous, on both sides of the issue. And anybody who thinks Dish Network is doing this for US, the consumers, is pretty gullible. Make sure you complain to Dish (they'll lower your monthly bill by at least $1/month in the interim, and some are getting $5 a month back), and also to Fisher and anybody else you can think of. In the meantime, I hope ABC realizes this is going to lead to an uptick in illegal pirating of their primetime TV shows and starts putting some pressure on both sides themselves. Grow up, Fisher and Dish Network!
Posted by: Meg ( Email ) at 12/31/2008 11:19 AM

I agree with Brenda. I have been a DISH Network subscriber for over 2 years and have been nothing but fair to me. I sent Fisher an e-mail to let them know how I felt about their demand for an 82% increase. I received a reply from Colleen Brown, Fisher's CEO. Basically, she blew off my consern, telling me "We know you don't really care whose fault this is." Well, actually, I do. And then, I read today that Comcast and Fisher reached an agreement on a new carriage agreement. Now there's two companies that don't mind sticking it to the consumer! I thank DISH for standing up for their faithful subscribers!
Posted by: Dan Zimmerman ( Email ) at 12/31/2008 11:22 AM

The Washington Attorney General states that this is a dispute between two companies. That's true. But it is also a dispute between customers of Dish Network AND viewers of Fisher's stations. The Attorney General has lost sight of who it is to protect here.

Maybe viewers are out - but we are all locked into Dish Network contracts of varying length. But we cannot change without a penalty. That is the WRONG here.

Viewers of Fisher also have a complaint. Fisher is using the public airways and should operate in the public interest. That's been violated. But these issues are largely federal government issues and the Washington Attorney General has no standing.

Where are our elected representatives and Senators? They've been silent on this issue - let's be real here - they created the mess in the early 1980s when they pre-empted most local regulation over cable TV, which is what drove us to satellite.

Common Maria Cantwell, where are you?
Posted by: Chris Beach ( Email ) at 12/31/2008 11:31 AM

I am also very Mad at both Dish and Fisher over this! I tend to believe that dish is in the right and fisher is in the wrong but I am not 100% sure. I do know this I WILL NOT SUPPORT ANY BUSINESS WHO ADVERTISES WITH EITHER FISHER OR DISH NETWORK and as soon as i can I will leave dish network in favor of another provider and if I can set it up i will not use a fisher brodcasting station for a local network
Posted by: Ross ( Email ) at 12/31/2008 3:12 PM

I'm only one more voice on the non-receipt-of-services question. Nobody has contacted me about my not receiving what I have paid for (local channels on Dish Network), but have been denied. I cannot drop Dish without a penalty. [EDITED PER AGO BLOG COMMENT POLICY]
Posted by: Ralph Becker ( Email ) at 1/1/2009 12:25 PM

Seems ridiculous that Fisher does not want to broadcast to more views, they are losing a lot of money as this continues...furthermore, they didn't even broadcast in HD in my area, how lame! I agree that a rate increase for fisher to reach more views would be ridiculous! Don't see why they want such an increase...
Posted by: Brad ( Email ) at 1/4/2009 9:12 AM

Fisher, as well as other on-air broadcasters are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and have certain standards to meet in the public interest. I believe Fisher fails the public interest test for KOMO TV, both technically with one of the poorest quality signals, and programming (things like moving important network news programs such as "This Week" from its Sunday am time slot to Sunday late afternoon (it was replaced by paid program advertising.) After many complaints, it was restored.

The civil proceedings between Fisher and Dish is but one issue. Those if us in rural areas that can't get a terrestrial signal, are further being blocked by Fisher who will not sign a waiver to allow us distant subscriptions.

We used to be allowed to receive distant network transmissions but a corrupt congress, lobbied by special interests (mostly from the cable companies) created new laws limiting the people's choices to programming transmitted through the people's air waves.

Now a question for the AG. Is it possible that Fisher could have financial interests in Direct TV or cable thereby making it advantageous to diminish Dish network's value by charging them significantly more than their competitors? Of course that assumes Fisher is asking for much more from Dish than the others.

Many of us feel the loss of the ABC network, and we should have a choice to pick that up elsewhere. As for KOMO's local programming, (that they think is so good), they can [EDITED PER AGO BLOG COMMENT POLICY], because a good thing will never hurt you.
Posted by: Roland Hattnick ( Email ) at 1/4/2009 5:00 PM

I've been a Dish Network customer for over 7 years. When they began offering a spot beam signal that carried local channels, well that just made me appreciate them even more.

I (did) primarily receive all my local news and current events through Fisher Communications/KOMO out of Seattle, WA. I'm severely disappointed about how GREEDY Fisher can be. Showing no disregaurd about their faults and turning the other cheek to us Dish Network customers.

For those in other markets that Fisher provides service in Oregon and California, They're getting the wrath just as bad us here in Washington. One person claimed that his NFL season was "held hostage" on the "Charlie Chat".

Dish Network does their best on keeping us, the customers happy. They've pulled the plug a while back on Viacom due to their them wanting more for their channels a few years back. What kind of message does that tell everyone? Dish Network IS THERE to give us a far better value than Cable and DirecTV. For Fisher to focus on just Dish Network for a higher rate instead of asking more from Cable and DirecTV is piss poor business ethics.
Posted by: Noel Santos ( Email ) at 1/6/2009 2:20 AM

Where are all the governmental agencies who regulate communications? Isn't their purpose to protect the consumer and keep the communications companies honest? We all reasonably expected Dish Network to provide the national networks as they were doing at the time we all signed our contracts. Now, they stop providing a major service and we, the customers, have no recourse. We have to pay penalties to be released from our contracts. Doesn't Dish Network have any obligation in their contract to provide the service the customers should reasonably expect in exchange for the fees we pay?
Posted by: Diane Child ( Email ) at 1/6/2009 10:56 AM

How does Noel Santos know that this isn't going to happen when it's time for Fisher to renegotiate their contract with cable and DirecTV?
Posted by: Andrew Phares ( Email ) at 1/6/2009 9:08 PM

This is typical big business bullying. Fisher really should stop and think about the economy right now. They make it sound like they are the ONLY ones out there struggling. We are ALL struggling. Many of us who use Dish Network or Direct TV or Cable, pay for it because we can't afford to go out to watch movies or just plain use it for our entertainment. Fisher needs to show it's potential consumer's that is knows how hard times are right now and they are willing to take less just like the rest of us. Hey Fisher, why is it just you who wants such a high amount yet all the other stations don't? Is it possible that you who are running Fisher are doing the same as those who ran Fanny Mae? I think maybe the government needs to step in and check the books out at Fisher Communications.
Posted by: Karen ( Email ) at 1/7/2009 9:40 AM

I'm also caught in the middle of the dispute, from what I have read I'm siding with Dish on this one.

The way the laws are now, that it would be illegal for dish to rebroadcast any other ABC affiliate in our areas is just ridiculous. It basically gives your local networks a monopoly and able to charge whatever they want.

Which is exactly what is happening now, Fisher knows that Dish can't rebroadcast another ABC affiliate from somewhere else, so they ask this outrages new fee, knowing that Dish can't do anything about it.

What also irks me, doesn't KOMO get it's frequency paid for by the government? So why is it comparing itself to cable stations on it's webpage?
Who cares what ESPN charges? They are a cable station, who also has to pay for it's own programing and help pays those athletes salaries.

Where is ABC in all of this too? Doesn't it hurt them by the lack of viewers in this market?
Posted by: Chris ( Email ) at 1/7/2009 11:49 AM

The public owns the airwaves the networks broadcast on and no one should have to pay to retransmit that. If this starts a trend I'll give up my local channels completely because face it, the only things worth watching are a handful of network shows which you can view online, and anything they produce in-house is [EDITED PER AGO BLOG COMMENT POLICY] anyway. Who needs the joke we call local news channels in this day and age?
Posted by: Jules Nickel ( Email ) at 1/7/2009 12:25 PM

Let them bicker. And while they do, is it feasable to ask our government for a bailout of sorts? I mean let's force Fisher network stations to be carried without compensation and Dish forced to carry all local stations to in all affected markets without local fees?

I know that makes me happy, Charlie's threesome will be thrilled since I am and have time to shave and press their shirts. And I am longing for KOMO local programming to lighten this overcast winter.
[AGO BLOG MODERATOR COMMENT: Jeff, it's not that simple. We'll post information soon that explains government's limited role. - Kristin.]
Posted by: Jeff ( Email ) at 1/7/2009 9:57 PM

Just get an HDTV antenna and you will have channel 4 in the Seattle area once again. The antenna will cost between $20 and $40....I agree that i shouldn't have to pay for this gear but it beats "suffering" until this is over. :-)
Posted by: Michael Meyers ( Email ) at 1/7/2009 10:33 PM

Isn't it time that the FCC or some agency force these two companies into binding arbitration?

[AGO BLOG MODERATOR COMMENT -- Connie, it's not that simple. Stay tuned. We'll explain. - Kristin.]
Posted by: Connie Christensen ( Email ) at 1/8/2009 5:07 PM

I'm tired of companies like Fisher who try to milk the a certain demographic to make up for their own failings. Thank heavens for Dish Network to stand-up for the consumer. To be honest, I didn't even notice the lost of the channel until a week after it happened. So, my opinion, fight the good fight Dish! I can watch the one show that I like via the Internet.
Posted by: Dean Schmitz ( Email ) at 1/8/2009 9:28 PM

I agree with Rolland. I too have attempted to obtain a distant subscription waiver from KOMO since we cannot receive a 'terrestrial signal', a DirectTV signal, nor is cable available in our area. I was told by their Chief Engineer, John Barrett, that I would need a "compelling reason" to obtain a waiver. He further stated that "...being a Dish subscriber was not compelling enough". This exchange alone was what prompted my complaint to the AG's office and the FCC. I'm not asking the AG or the FCC to resolve the negotiations between the two companies but to demand they make ALL alternatives available to consumers.
Posted by: Jalene ( Email ) at 1/10/2009 7:27 AM

I am a dish customer soon to be a cable customer.I have looked at this from both sides. When a company says 82% increase instead of putting it monetary terms they are hiding something. It could be 82% of a nickel. The truth is that DISH is holding us hostage. They are not fullfilling their contract. I pay extra for local channels, they are not providing local channels. TV is not free to stations and the fact is the affiliates like CBS, NBC and ABC do not pay subsidies anymore. The stations pay them for certain broadcasting. (football and basketball) Also the stations pay for shows like Oprah, Dr Phil, etc that are syndicated. Dr Phil is about 8000 a month. So when you add all the syndication up you see all the upgrades the FCC requires such as DTV which cost each station millions, tv is not free. You do on the other hand have a choice of not paying for cable, satellite. You can put up an antenna in most areas and get your stations. Just another point of view besides DISH. DISH is controlling the airways with their side. How is Fisher suppose to get their side out. Frankly I am in favor of never seeing old Charlie Chat and his puppet again.
Posted by: Ken Hammer ( Email ) at 1/10/2009 10:59 AM

We live in a rural area of Eastern Washington, where we rely on satellite tv. We subscribed to Echostar when we had a C-Band antenna and receiver. For years we were able to receive network coverage out of Denver. Then, the Federal Government started limiting C-Band Coverage, so we were offered a deal to switch to Dish Network. Even then we were able to receive the Denver area network channels, because of lack of reception by other means. Again, the Federal government stepped in and eliminated the Distant Network Coverage. We were forced to get our 'local' channels primarily out of Yakima (not local over 100 miles away). Now with no CBS coverage since December, we are without any CBS coverage. No major sports coverage covered by CBS, no CBS programming at all. Our programming options have all but been taken away by legislation and the almighty dollar.
Posted by: Bob Misener ( Email ) at 1/11/2009 3:38 PM

How much longer is this mess to continue? We are being held hostage for the football games and the best shows on television. I have not heard of any updates on the mediation process. Has anyone heard anything new?
Posted by: Deanna ( Email ) at 1/13/2009 9:47 PM

Frankly, I am really frustrated/angry with Fisher. I can get the stations that aren't being rebroadcast over the air via an antenna. It is a pain, and I cannot record anything with the DVR, but I can watch the shows and sporting events. To me, being able to not have to do it that way is a service. By rebroadcasting network channels, DISH doesn't offer me a product I can't get otherwise like the rest of the non-network programming. The offer the service of making it a bit easier to view those stations. Fisher is holding us hostage by treating their stations like the rest of DISH's programming and it is them that peoples' anger needs to be directed towards. If there was a way I could do something that would have a negative effect on Fisher while still getting to watch the programming I want, I would do so in a heartbeat.
Posted by: Jay ( Email ) at 1/15/2009 6:50 AM

What is the Attorney General legal guidance to Dish Customers should they wish to cancel their service without paying the Dish subscribed penalty?
Can I ignore the bill?
Should I pay and then enter a complaint in small claims court?
Posted by: Jeff ( Email ) at 1/16/2009 8:31 PM

It would be silly to think that if Fisher gets the 82% increase tht other stations wouldn't demand the same. And Fisher will also demand the same from Comcast and DirectTV. They must not be able to set precedent.

And why not open up the market to other ABC stations. Why am I be deprived of watching ABC New York or Des Moines or whatever I wish?
Posted by: Bill Potter ( Email ) at 1/17/2009 12:47 PM

If Fisher gets the 82% they want ,others will want the same. And Fisher will want the 82% from Comcast & DirectTV too. That's obvious.

Why not open up the market so that I can buy whatever stations I want. The law barring me from buying other network stations is to "protect" the local stations. Open up the market and let free enterprise rule!
Posted by: Bill Potter ( Email ) at 1/17/2009 12:51 PM

I wold like to see a two-sided pro and con page in the Times where each side states their perspective, like we get in the Voter's pamplet. Then have the rebuttal section. The Charlie Chat makes it sound as if Fisher is not being reasonable, but who knows? I am unable to receive KOMO to hear Fisher's side.
I went to Dish Network because I could not handle one more day of our money going to cable (the orginal company bought out by Comcast) They tore up our yard, threw away our downspouts and dug up our brand new driveway. We lost thousands of dollars due to them, and I have carried the grudge onto the new owners. I also feel by switching to Comcast now, I am allowing Fisher to give the shaft to Dish. To be honest, we should be able to get any signal from any US market. Our country has so many controls that free and open competition does not exist. I envy those from European and Asian markets as they get so much more for their dollar, uh, Euro or Yen.

It will not be much longer before we all begin to forget what the local anchors look like. We will be the Desperate Housewives and those on Tv will be just a memory.

One last comment. I too paid an extra $5 per television set to get the local signals. One day I discovered the local stations were not only broadcast on 4, but on another station. I called Dish network and asked whether I still needed to pay the $5, per set. They said, "You are still paying? My, my, you do not need to pay that anymore. Everyone gets it for free now." So those who are mentioning that you are paying it still, you might want to call Dish. I had paid it for several years and it was not reimbursed to me. It was my job to tell them I got both channels of local stations.
Posted by: Lori ( Email ) at 1/17/2009 10:25 PM

I live in a remote town in Idaho where even with an antenna, many places cannot receive the cbs stations. I subscribed to DISH mainly because they offered this programming. Now I am stuck with them, unless I pay the penalties for changing. Then who is to say DIRECT TV not end up doing the same thing. Very frustrating, especially in a time when people feel so vulnerable anyway, due to the world crisis.
Steve Sayer
Posted by: Steve Sayer ( Email ) at 1/19/2009 6:28 AM

We live in a part of Kitsap county which offers no cable and it is impossible to get a signal on an analog antenna. This is why we chose to go with Dish Network. Does anyone know if the new digital receivers would make a difference in whether or not we would recieve a signal?
Posted by: Christie ( Email ) at 1/19/2009 4:35 PM

I've heard it is only a 2 cent a month raise. If this is really the case - let me pay the extra 24 cents a year and get my programing back
Posted by: Will Bean ( Email ) at 1/28/2009 10:38 PM

I am really tired of this -- I pay over $100 per month to Dish Network to watch tv and have HD and we can't even get ABC! I am going back to Direct Tv. I'm tired of the old "Charlie Chat" too -- either pull it or put something recent on the air!
Posted by: Janet ( Email ) at 1/29/2009 4:08 PM

Dish Network's dispute with Fisher Group is not unprecedented over the past year. In a very short time researching I discovered numerous other instances where Dish Network dropped local channels as a bargaining chip during contractual negotiations. In every case it was reported by Dish Network that the reasons behind dropping the broadcasts was "demanding unreasonable contract terms and an excessive rate increase."

Since negotiations with Fisher have begun, there have been two other major providers who have negotiated successfully with Fisher Group. Why is it that what Dish Network deems “Demanding unreasonable contract terms and an excessive rate increase.” is acceptable to other companies providing the same services?

Fisher Group is stating that they are requesting a rate increase. However, they have categorically denied that the increase is 82% and have done so by responding with local newspapers who interview them. Dish Network has refused or neglected to respond to telephone calls from the Tri Cities Herald when they wanted to get their side of the story. Non-response can be only seen as a desire to hide something.

Here are my views on what has been happening:

Fisher Group has requested an increase.
Dish Network is not pleased that Fisher is requesting any increase.
Dish Network (as it has done in the past) pulled all Fisher Group programming in a strong-arm tactic to force Fisher Group to lower the requested price increase.
Fisher Group refuses to budge since they were able to negotiate with other companies without problems.

If Dish Network has (as it appears to be) pulled these broadcasts as a “strong-arm” negotiation tactic, it is deplorable! This tactic is using their customers as a bargaining chip and the only people suffering here are the customers. I think this is the case since KOMO offered to allow Dish Network to carry broadcasts until the end of December and Dish Network ceased broadcasting KOMO on the 18th of December (even though the area was experiencing a severe storm).

If I were not locked into a contract with Dish Network I would be changing services.
Posted by: Ken ( Email ) at 2/3/2009 4:11 PM

Here's what it boils down to: Dish, regardless of the merits of their dispute with Fisher, is no longer providing the service which they promised to their customers. There may be something tucked deep inside their customer contracts that says they reserve the right to alter their programming, but their failure to broadcast one the three largest broadcast networks and regional news sources is not a minor alteration of their programming, it is a **fundamental change** to the services they promised to provide. By failing to live up to the terms of their contract, they are in violation of it. This should allow customers to cancel subscriptions **with no penalty**!! We recently re-newed for a 2 year contract that has a $200 early termination penalty. The AG's Office needs to order Dish to waive any such penalties until they are in compliance with their own contract!
Posted by: Dain ( Email ) at 2/5/2009 1:45 PM

People blame cable and satellite operators for raising rates all the time, but what most people do not realize is that programers are unregulated. Firsher's request maybe only "82%" on a small amount, but if you do the math over the course of a few years, the costs add up. These are costs per subscriber, so five cents on the hundreds of thousands of viewers in our area will be profitable for Fisher. Sports programmers will easily raise their rates 20 or 30 percent in any given year. It is kind of funny that KOMO provided the cost of product information that they found, without mentioning they are adding to the problem by not negotiating a solution.

I am not happy with either side, but I am most mad at Fisher. Fisher does not have cost of programming, only the cost of infrastructure to deliver the signal. Granted, they had to invest in digital and HD equipment, but they can afford those costs. They should be able to find common ground. On that never ending "Charlie Chat", the VP of Programming said they offered to pay KOMO the highest amount in the market.

Fisher and other local channels now have the ability this year to ask for retransmission fees from cable providers. They have not had this opportunity before, so their pockets will be lined from Comcast and other smaller companies. They are not hurting for money. Don't be surprised when you see on your cable bill a line item for the Seattle TV stations in the near future.

Dish Network is disappointing me also. Since December, they have not given us any kind of update. KOMO has at least put an announcement on the radio indicating negotiations are still happening. Dish has just given us Hallmark Movie Channel, whoopee. On the plus side of the ledger, the fact that Dish takes these stands shows why they are the lowest priced TV provider. I have had both Dish and Direct TV, and when the promotions ended I paid more with Direct TV. Both are still less than Comcast.

Congress would need to pass legislation to allow us to get ABC from another market. Find a congress person who has not accepted monney from Fisher, and consumers might be able to get some legislative relief.

To Roland's post, I believe Direct TV is publicly traded, and you should be able to see who has sizeable investments in their company. I would also agree about failing the public interest test. Moving around network programming to sell informercials on the weekend is arrogant by any network affiliate, as is even more maddening when the substitued programming is for some cheap trinket instead of news or sports programming.
Posted by: GL ( Email ) at 2/11/2009 6:55 PM

Looks like two kids are fighting and the consumers are the loosers...paying for something they are not getting. The requested increase is reported to be 82%. DISH is crediting bills $1 for not providing a channel. I will pay 82 cents more, just give me the channel. Haven't these folks heard of binding arbitration? I am considering my options since it appears that DISH is not fulfilling their end of our contract thus maybe this breaks the contract and one would be free to go elsewhere.
Posted by: Lee Roberts ( Email ) at 2/12/2009 8:33 AM

imple. Fisher wants Dish to pay more money for their subpar programming. If Dish Network gives in then you the customer will pay the Fisher Tax. Dish Network fights Fisher's price increase to keep its rate the lowest around. I have been very happy with Dish Network and this is just one of the reasons. When I had cable my bill would go up every few months. Plain and simple, the Fisher Group saw an opportunity to put the squeeze on Dish at the cost of its viewers. Shame on you Fisher. I refuse to watch that channel even when it becomes available. Sorry Fisher, you lose.
Posted by: Todd ( Email ) at 2/12/2009 10:37 PM

These type of negotiations are more the norm than not. I'm sure that DISH Network feels that they were already paying Fisher a fair price. I guess a 'fair price' is in the eye of the beholder. My sister lives in Seattle and was affected minimally. My wife and I havee DISH and we are very happy with their satellite programming service.
Posted by: Gary Davis ( Email ) at 2/16/2009 7:32 AM

I find KOMO and its parent company petulant. When I wrote them about my feelings that their request to get paid more for something that they only have to pay a modest amount they were dismissive. I see them as trying to make money on a loosing product. Why should I prop them up? Part of the reason why I have a dish is so that I do not have to watch dribble that is ABC, NBC and CBS. Many of their shows are either silly in their inceptions and execution or they present a product that I find object able or is just not worth my time. SO…I do not miss them. If they start to provide a product that I will buy then maybe I would want to have their product in my home.
Posted by: Clynn ( Email ) at 2/18/2009 12:43 PM

I paid for local channels with my DISH contract. I am not receiving what I paid for. The State Attorney General has a responsibility to correct that! [AGO BLOG MODERATOR's COMMENTS -- Jerome, Please see the article posted in our blog regardomg when government agencies can intervene and their limitations. - Kristin]
Posted by: Jerome Goetz ( Email ) at 2/22/2009 6:50 PM

we have sat and waited for both KOMO and Dishnetwork to come to a understanding, it has 2 months and I think you should be able to come to a agrement and let everyone see how good you are at thinking about both yourself and your customers got on with it we are getting tired of this.
Posted by: Sherry ( Email ) at 2/24/2009 6:01 PM

This whole thing stinks. Two months now and no one is talking. The same Charlie talk since Dec 31st.
I am so upset over this that I was willing to get Directv however they could not pick up their signal at my house in the trees in Kitsap County.
Converter box does not work here at all. That signal is not like analog where it skips, it's a direct shot and anything in the way will block it. My husband spoke with John Barrett at Komo 4 twice and they said the only way around that is possibly a huge antenne on your roof or wait a couple years and they may put in repeaters like the cell phone.
What a mess for us consumers. Dish Network has raised,,,yes RAISED my monthly bill by $ more get less should be the motto..
I am so sick of it all.....
Posted by: Sheryl ( Email ) at 2/24/2009 8:55 PM

My wife likes Her soaps and other programs on channel 4, When we signed our contract with Dish it was agreed that we would get local stations, we decided to get Comcast cable and Dish is going to fine us $130.00 because we are ending our service before the contract is up, but they breached the contract. We can't fight them because they can ruin our credit, It's there blunder not ours.. Jim
Posted by: Jim Bish ( Email ) at 3/1/2009 6:56 PM

I cannot stand Dish Network. Every Wednesday I forget that I have "Lost" scheduled to record and instead have recorded Dish's endless blathering about why it's not their fault we no longer have ABC. I moved to the San Juans a couple years ago, and love it here, but dearly miss cable and the user-friendless wonderfulness of TiVo. Dish's DVR is so confusing, they don't show you a list of choices when you type in a name but do the whole thing out of your view. We inadvertently recorded "Big Love" in two languages for several weeks. [LAST SENTENCE DELETED BY BLOG MODERATOR PER AGO COMMENT POLICY.]
Posted by: Linda ( Email ) at 3/3/2009 7:44 PM

Keep it up Fisher. Dish has generously given me a credit for ALL of my locals for 6 months. In addition, they have upgraded me to 250 from 200 for 12 months. All for complaining nicely. If you pay your bills, they will do the same... if you are NICE. I'd love to see this continue indefinitely. I watch Lost through my PC via an S-Video cable and Audio cables I had laying around. Looks fine to me.

Posted by: John ( Email ) at 3/4/2009 12:52 PM

I was able to get them to waive all of the local channels for 3 months as long as there is still a contract dispute. By signing up for a two year contact and Auto pay I was also able to save an additional 10.00 per month, and get starz and HBO free for 3 months and Cinemax for a year for 1 cent... So, I guess it will cost me a few dollars more in the long run but I get new channels to take my mind off of KOMO and ABC.
Posted by: Rod Alex ( Email ) at 3/12/2009 1:19 PM

Ok, so it looks like none of you are getting this or the importance of this at all.
As a contract lawyer, I have seen this many times. I also happen to have some inside info on this one.
Fisher the "Big Bully"? Really?
Dish Network is worth Ten Times what Fisher is.
So let me break it down so that you can understand.
Fisher is asking Dish Network for the exact same thing they have asked for and received from all of the other carriers.
82% of 6 cents is another 4 cents per subscriber.
Fisher has a "Favored nation" clause as all broadcast affiliates do. Which means that they are required to give everyone they do business the lowest price they charge any carrier to retransmit their signal to everyone.
Dish Network does not want to pay this. Nor do they want you to know this.
Now here is the fun part, you are required to pay approximately $5.00 per household for the "local stations".
In Fishers case this is either ABC or CBS depending on where you live.
Fisher pays Millions of dollars for the right to be the local affiliate. Dish Network wants to charge you one dollar of the five that they charge you for local content to give you your Fisher stations.
So out of that One dollar Fisher is asking for 11-14 cents.
This is like McDonald's going to all of the trouble of manufacturing your favorite yummy food and having Dish network com in take as much as they want and then give McDonalds 6 cents on the dollar for the food they have taken without asking what you think it is worth. Who is the Bully now?
In addition if you (Fisher) do cave then you lose millions in revenue to the other folks whom you have negotiated with in good faith and come to mutually acceptable terms.
Now as for your Waiver? Why would Fisher dream of giving into the hundreds of Waiver requests they are getting? It only makes the Bully stronger and when all is said and done are you going to and switch back?
Do you have any Idea how much it costs to put on the News. There is very little profit left. Government has slanted all of the laws in the direction of the lobbyists and true Bully's like Comcast and Dish Network. So if we are being fair then we should let Local TV stations generate more revenue by putting discover or other traditionally "Cable only" products on their secondary channels.

You people are being sold a bill of goods here. Dish Network is Goliath here and Fisher is David.
We are all here in the Valley of Elah Waiting to see what will happen. Stop letting Big Business crush our economy. You are pundits.
Posted by: Alisa ( Email ) at 3/15/2009 3:24 PM

If these guys really cared about the consumers, we wouldn't be in this mess. I've told Fisher that if they really cared, they find a way to make something work. The bottom line is, they don't care. We need to keep letting businesses that advertise with Fisher know they are being ripped off since so much of the market can't see their ads! I bet anything that they are not being given a discount at this time. That is just wrong. It's been long enough. Fix this for us!! I don't want cable. I can't get all of my stations on cable, and, I don't want to invest in a bunch of Dish TV equipment. I shouldn't have to!
Posted by: Lynette ( Email ) at 3/20/2009 4:31 PM

There is a way that Dish can get us the ABC Channel....let us subscribe to the West Coast feed.
You'll get Los Angeles news but who cares. We want our ABC progamming!! NOW!! Just give us the National ABC Network Feed!!!
I will be canceling my contract in July and moving to Direct TV. Tell everyone you know...[EDITED PER AGO BLOG COMMENT POLICY.]
Posted by: Joy Mergen ( Email ) at 3/21/2009 2:07 PM

I live in Oregon and I don't get CBS anymore. They keep telling me to get cable or watch online. One..I can't get cable as they never ran the lines to our house and charter wants over 400.00 to do it now. Two..several of our shows are NOT online so what then, put an extremely large antenna on our roof and hope that we get the free signal or switch to directtv which at this point would cost me over 300.00. I wish they would both just pull their heads out of their butts and fix the problem.
Posted by: Heather ( Email ) at 4/7/2009 7:21 PM

The Washington AG is not doing his job. Call Dish at 1-800 whatever and they will tell you Fisher's stations are available. This is a fraudulent sales practice, but our beloved AG sits on his hands and cites this and that.

Want proof? The story is on where the tv person calls multiple times over multiple days and gets lies and fraud.

Common AG, let's work for the people. [BLOG MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: Ben, please re-read the explanation in the Jan. 20 Ask the AG column for a better understanding of retrans agreements and contracts. As we've repeatedly indicated, state agencies can't step in simply because companies change programming. If you believe you are a victim of fraud, please file a written complaint with our office.]
Posted by: Ben West ( Email ) at 4/14/2009 6:56 AM

They are greedy and I feel trap, because of them they don’t care for the consumer they only care for money. I ask Dish network if I could get a signal from another NBC provider like New York or Atlanta, but I was told it was not allowed due to regulations. It all comes down that Fisher [EDITED BY BLOG MODERATOR PER COMMENT POLICY] no matter what, in order to get their Free signal (crappie signal by the way) I have to buy a converter box now, so either way, we all have to pay for their greed…. [EDITED BY BLOG MODERATOR PER COMMENT POLICY]
Posted by: Frank L ( Email ) at 4/18/2009 9:57 PM

We have been without KOMO4 for almost 5 months now. Isn't there something the AG office can do to help resolve this dispute? This is very frustrating for us consumers. We are all caught in the middle with no end in sight.

[BLOG MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: Mike, please re-read our Ask the AG column. As I've repeatedly stated, retransmission agreements are not an area where we have jurisdiction. Sincerely, Kristin.]
Posted by: Mike Morris ( Email ) at 5/5/2009 2:16 PM

It sure seems obvious to me that since Dish seems to have no plans in the immediate future to restore ABC programming that they should reduce the subscribers' fees.
Posted by: Judy ( Email ) at 5/19/2009 7:57 PM

I too am really beginning to wonder , are we ever to get the ABC channel back? I recently was connected to a "buy local channels" that can somehow patch you through still having dish. Sounded great to me after 5 months no ABC I will about pay any fee. Well, wouldn't you know it I needed to pay $3.00 to be told it's official I can not get ABC. What a crock. Give us what were paying for. Enough is enough I pay $120.00 a month for this and if no end in sight then stream it through somehow all this new technologies and still nothing??????? What's up with that??????
Posted by: Kris ( Email ) at 5/25/2009 7:27 AM

I am very mad becuase I can't see the last 11 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Circuit and some Nationwide Series races. Even worse, the Indy 500!!! I AM VERY ANGRY becuase I have watched the event since 2004. I have requested some people on YouTube to send me a copy of the whole race. Plus the Pre-Race, and I missed it that makes me very 1000% angry. Still nobody responded. I just wished that they make up their act and look at the Nielsen ratings drop badly. Thanks! You runied racing for life and the NBA Finals and other sports!!
Posted by: Luis ( Email ) at 5/26/2009 7:45 PM

I am sick of these companies, and I dont care who is at fault. I was promised all my local channels when I signed up with dish. This agreement had not been kept and I want my KOMO restored

Dish is a lousy service provider!
Posted by: JJ Greive ( Email ) at 5/31/2009 11:44 AM

My biggest complaint over the Dish network / Fisher broadcasting disagreement is that our federal government makes it imposable for me to receive a distant feed for ABC, when I checked I was told that I lived close enough to Portland Oregon to use a roof top antenna. I do not understand this whole thing over the distant network, other than the networks want to hold a gun to our heads. I wish that the government would step in and let us get a signal from where ever we want, that would put a stop to this whole issue
Posted by: Ken Corbin ( Email ) at 6/2/2009 10:32 AM

"In its complaint, Fisher also said that DISH breached the prior carriage agreement when it failed to pay Fisher in full for broadcasting KBAK and KBFX on its system. On January 1, 2008, Fisher acquired the two stations from Westwind Communications. While DISH has acknowledged that it has underpaid Fisher during that time period, it has not submitted proper payments to the Company. "

No matter whose at fault for this mess at least DISH Network should pay debts they themselves admit to blowing off. Good grief, people! Meanwhile, we've been without local CBS since December 17th, 2008 and can't even get an update through Upon entering our zip code (we live 1/2 mile from the local CBS affiliate) we're told that we aren't affected. Say what? At least keep us updated as we continue to pay for channels that are being denied us.
Posted by: Lee ( Email ) at 6/6/2009 8:01 AM

i have experienced this bait n switch the dish advertisement , locked in your rate if you sign up for 2 years agreement. it is happening and they show the customer agreement they supposed signed after the installation. just look at the ad.....beware !!!!
Posted by: Josie ( Email ) at 6/17/2010 11:19 AM

Just wanted to add that the end of the contract dispute is a very welcome sign and pleasing to those of us who love DISH Network and Fisher Communications.
Posted by: Emma Jones ( Email ) at 7/11/2011 4:31 PM

I'm glad I stumbled on this site, although I was looking for something else. Great blog, I understand a bit more now.
Posted by: Andrew Holtom ( Email ) at 8/22/2011 5:47 AM

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