FAQ’s on the DISH dispute with WQOW

Q: What is this all about?
TV stations were granted the right to negotiate for fair compensation from pay TV programming providers by federal law in 1992.  This right was granted in large part to help ensure that local TV stations would be able to maintain and hopefully grow their local news and community service efforts, provide severe weather and emergency information to their communities, and continue to be a valuable resource to the communities they serve.  We negotiate periodically with every multichannel video programming distributor for the right to carry our station.

Q: Are these disputes common with WQOW?
No.  Since TV stations were granted the right to negotiate for fair compensation by federal law in 1992, our station has been in a dispute just once, for a total of just 15 hours over that 26-year period of time.

Q: Are these disputes with local TV stations common with DISH?
Unfortunately, yes.  Since 2010, DISH has had almost 500 disputes with local TV stations. Here is a link to the list of those disputes.  While the length of these disputes has varied, in many instances DISH has had outages that have lasted several months.  Currently, DISH is in multiple disputes, including with Univision nationally and with other local TV stations in other areas.

Q: Why has DISH created a dispute with WQOW?
DISH is a multi-billion dollar company.  WQOW is part of a family-owned business.  We think DISH has created the dispute because it believes it can bully us into making a bad deal because we aren’t big enough to fight back.  The fact is that WQOW has reached fair agreements with every other programming provider, and we thought that if we took the same approach with DISH as we did with the others, then we would be able to reach a fair deal with DISH.  Unfortunately, DISH decided to play by different rules.

Q: Why is the dispute occurring now?
We have been attempting to reach a fair new agreement with DISH for the past several months.   Our original contract end date is way past.  We offered five extensions to provide more time to complete a new agreement, but DISH has steadfastly refused to make a fair deal.

Q: Is WQOW making unreasonable demands of DISH?  
No.  Our station is asking for fair and reasonable terms and compensation from DISH.  We are not asking anything more from DISH than we did from any other programming provider.  And we successfully concluded fair agreements with everyone else, without delays or disputes.

Q: DISH is telling their customers that WQOW is demanding an unreasonable rate increase, which is more than double what DISH currently pays for your channels.  Is that the case?
No, it is not. The fee we are asking DISH to pay today compared to the fee DISH was paying before we went off their system is not “more than double,” it’s not even close to “more than double.”

Q: DISH is telling their subscribers that WQOW has refused DISH’s offer to match the rates that other pay TV providers are paying to WQOW.  Is that true?
No, that is not true.  DISH has never offered to match the rates paid by “other pay TV providers.”  Since they never offered to match those fees, WQOW never refused their offer.

Q: Where else can we find your station?
WQOW ABC continues to be available over the air, along with the CW (18.2) and Decades (18.3), and is available on Charter Spectrum, DirecTV, Hulu and 5 other multi-channel video programming services in the Eau Claire area. The following is a list of other WQOW program providers:

  • Celect Communications
  • Charter
  • Chippewa Valley Cable
  • DirecTV
  • Hulu
  • Packerland Broadband
  • S & K TV Systems, Inc.
  • Western Wisconsin Communications, LLC

Q: Is there anything I can do to help get WQOW back on DISH?
Yes!  Call DISH at 800-333-3474 and let them know you want this dispute resolved and WQOW back on their system.

Click here for a list of DISH Blackouts Since 2010.

Travis Sloan

Travis Sloan

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