Attention DISH Network Customers

Agreement will expire at 12:59 a.m. on March 17th

Published On: Mar 09 2012 04:30:00 PM CST

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I'm really frustrated to keep hearing that both DISH and WKBT are willing to negotiate yet no deal gets done. Who am I to believe?
A. WKBT wonders if DISH's unwillingness to believe we're offering fair pricing has something to do with a comment on their website which says, "Simply put, Morgan Murphy (parent company of WKBT) is threatening to hold DISH customers hostage in an attempt to extract above-market rates for its seasonally popular programming."

If that's what DISH believes, we are genuinely concerned about getting a deal negotiated with DISH. If they don't value our "everyday programming", our everyday local news and community service, this may be the difference between what we think is fair and what DISH thinks is fair.

We need you to let DISH know that you value what we do in our local communities. This is not just about "seasonally popular programs" like sports and major network events.

Here's another point to consider.

We produce a product, our programming, here in your community. Our product keeps you informed, gets you involved and sometimes even protects you. The people who produce that product are employed locally, some of which you may even know or see in the community. Our product creates local payrolls whose people consume goods and services in the local community, own homes and pay taxes. We are the people you invite into your homes each day for news and entertainment- we are the people you trust- people like Jennifer, Bill, Cory, Mike, Lisa, Martha and the rest of the News 8 team.

Dish Network re-sells our product to you. They have no base of operation here. Maybe the reason we've reached agreements with other operators who re-sell our product is because most, if not all of them, also have some base of operations in the local market. They know about our LOCAL product and valued it enough that we reached agreements without any of their customers ever knowing about it.

We are not asking DISH for anything out-of-line with other operators we have agreements with.

Q. Is WKBT/News 8 making unreasonable demands of DISH?
A. No. Our asking rate is fair. In fact, it is far below the rates DISH pays to non-broadcast cable channels which are much less popular that WKBT, have fewer viewers, and provide no local news. These same non-broadcast channels also generate revenues with advertising sales. We are asking for a fair rate which reflects the value of our programming and will help us continue to make investments in the station to serve our community. Again, we have reached agreements with all other operators in the market in the past 90 days, and our request for compensation from DISH is consistent with our other agreements. It is only a fraction of what subscribers are charged by DISH to receive local television services. While DISH Network's PR firm says we are asking for an "outrageous" increase, please know our statement saying this amounts to "a little more than 2 cents a day" is fair and accurate in what we are requesting.

Q. Why should a local station be able to charge DISH Network for its programming when it available free over-the-air?
A. DISH Network has built a business by taking ours and others programming and reselling it to its customers. While we do allow anyone to take the programming for personal use for FREE by using an antenna, we won't allow anyone to take our signal and resell it to the public without fair compensation. This right to negotiate for fair compensation was authorized by Congress in 1992. The 1992 Cable Act, also known as the retransmission consent process, was in large part designed to ensure that local TV stations would be able to enhance their local news and community service efforts. News 8's local news operation is by far the largest single expense of the television station, as it should be. We currently provide 19.5 hours of local news each week and will soon expand to 22 hours a week. Again, our agreements with operators such as DISH support our local operation.

Q. Doesn't this just come down to money?
A. Everyone expects to be paid for the work they do. Our viewers rely on us to provide quality local reporting, to perform community service and to provide up-to-date coverage of the weather, emergency information, sports, elections, and other local issues. We also bring our viewers quality entertainment from CBS and other program providers. We must invest millions of dollars annually to do this -- most of which goes into local wages, programming and technical improvements to serve our local community. Our agreements with operators such as DISH provide important support to our local operation.

Q. What are my other options for getting WKBT/News 8 programming?
A. All other cable and satellite providers will continue to carry WKBT without interruption, as WKBT has existing retransmission agreements with everyone except for DISH as of March 17, 2012. You may also use an antenna to receive WKBT's digital, high-definition signal over the air free of charge.

Q. Why is this happening to WKBT, but not with the other TV stations in the area?
A. Each broadcaster has its own agreement with DISH, and we can only speak to our own situation. WKBT is not privy to the negotiations with others in the market.

Q. How do I get in touch with someone at DISH Network to express my opinion?
A. You can call DISH customer service center at 1-800-333-3474 or contact them through the Internet at

Q. Do I need to call WKBT again after contacting DISH?
A. No. While we appreciate your input and welcome your comments, it is not necessary to contact us after you have contacted DISH Network. Just make sure your voice is heard at DISH.

For more information about antennas and getting the best reception:
- FCC's Web Site
- Federal Government's Digital Television Site

We encourage you to contact Dish to let them know you want them to carry WKBT-TV and MyNetwork TV on their channel lineups.
Phone: 1-800-333-3474

Viewers are welcome to contact us through our website, by e-mail or by telephone. Someone will respond to a question or concern as soon as possible.
Phone: 608-782-4678
E-mail: Contact Us
Facebook: News8000's Facebook Page
Twitter: WKBT-TV Twitter Page