It’s really happening. DISH has blacked out 28 local CBS and CW affiliates in a very impactful fee fight. This isn’t the first time DISH and CBS have duked it out, but the last time it was during the summer. This time, it’s during the November/December break, but if this goes into January it could be pretty scary for millions who enjoy CBS programs.
Here’s the full list of channels blacked out:
Boston (Manchester): WBZ-TV
Boston (Manchester): WSBK-TV
Dallas-Ft. Worth: KTVT-TV
Dallas-Ft. Worth: KTXA-TV
Johnstown-Altoona-State College: WPCW-TV
Los Angeles: KCAL-TV
Los Angeles: KCBS-TV
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale: WBFS-TV
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale: WFOR-TV
Minneapolis-St. Paul: WCCO-TV
New York: WCBS-TV
New York: WLNY-TV
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose: KBCW-TV
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose: KPIX-TV
Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota): WTOG-TV
As you can see there are some big cities on that list and that means a lot of affected people.
DISH says that they’re doing this in order to keep retransmission fees low. You know that your pay TV bill has probably quadrupled in the last 15 years and most of that money goes straight back to content providers. CBS may be the top network but it’s lost about 50% of its viewership since 1995 to streaming, people playing on the internet, and other factors. Yet the powers that be at CBS keep raising the rates every time a new contract comes up. I agree with DISH, that’s not fair.
If you are in an affected area, you can put up an antenna and get an over the air adapter for your equipment. This will give you the ability to integrate live channels into your guide and even record one channel at a time. DISH is also giving away antennas for free but details are limited — if you’re serious you probably want to choose the right antenna for your area instead of getting a giveaway.
DISH has been deadly serious about channel blackouts in the past and it’s hard to know if they’ll get a solution in place before programs start coming back in January. This could finally be the fee fight that breaks the cycle of price increases, but it won’t come easy.
If you want more details, here’s DISH’s press release.