DISH customers in the Tampa Bay area will have to miss their favorite NBC lineup on WFLA-Ch. 8, until DISH and station owner Media General can reach a new carriage agreement. Media General, based in Richmond, Va., and DISH continue to negotiate a new agreement but have been unable to reach a deal. Media General refuses to give DISH the right to carry its programming until DISH agrees to pay more than five times what it currently pays for the same content.
"We've attempted to reach a fair agreement via many avenues, but Media General remains immovable in its demands," said Sruta Vootukuru, DISH's director of programming. "They declined a contract extension, an offer from DISH to pay our competitors' rates, and have now refused our willingness to match rates paid to other area broadcasters. Media General is overreaching by trying to force DISH customers to pay more than their neighbors."
DISH offered a short-term contract extension until Media General is acquired by Young Broadcasting, a broadcaster with which DISH has a long-term agreement in place. Media General rejected that offer.
Last year, broadcasting companies across the country blacked out 91 channels on various pay-TV companies at various times; and an industry watchdog group, the American Television Alliance, has also called for the U.S. Congress to "revamp the out-of-date rules" that favor those blackouts.