Dish VS LIN Media
Got Dish? You may not have KXAN (NBC) and its sister stations this Saturday.
Yes, it’s another one of these squabbles over retransmission. Dish has to pay KXAN’s owner, LIN Media for the right to carry programming from the channels owned by LIN in Austin and 16 other markets. In Austin, those stations include KXAN TV, KNVA TV (CW), and KBVO TV.
According to the Associated Press, LIN wants roughly double the money they’ve been getting and even more after the first year. Dish executives say they’re “frustrated” that LIN took its story to the public Monday, February 28th instead of keeping the negotiations quiet behind closed doors.
KXAN used a chunk of its Monday newscasts to feature General Manager Eric Lassberg’s explanation of the LIN/Dish impasse. Their web site, www.kxan.com goes into more detail.
“The fair compensation we are asking for amounts to pennies a day per subscriber, which is actually much less than what cable and satellite companies pay for cable networks that you may or may not watch. Our stations are important assets to our local community. They are consistently ranked among the most-watched television channels, in part because we provide local news, programming and information that cable networks don’t offer.”
KXAN urges viewers to call Dish.
Dish makes no mention of the negotiations on its site, but issued the following statement:
"LIN Media, a corporate media conglomerate, is threatening to block DISH Network customers from watching its local channels in 17 markets across the country. LIN Media is demanding more than a 140 percent rate hike and other burdensome contract terms that ultimately will result in higher prices for consumers. We are pleased the FCC is meeting this week to seek changes to the outdated retransmission consent process. In the meantime, DISH Network is diligently negotiating with LIN Media, and we're hopeful we can reach a fair agreement.”
LIN Media is hardly a conglomerate. With only 17-markets, LIN is considered a middle-sized media company. As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1st there has been no agreement, and LIN indicated little optimism.
Of course, KXAN and KNVA can be accessed live in HD off the air using an antenna. KBVO, on the other hand, is only available via an antenna in the Hill Country west of Austin.
© Jim McNabb, 2011