Yes, it’s true.
The latest culprits in the fee fight wars are Gray Television and Bonten Media. Gray operates 100 stations throughout the country. You can see a full list here. Bonten’s 12 stations are mostly in the South, and you can see them here.
The first question you should be asking yourself — I know I am — is how one company can own and operate 100 TV stations, especially some company you’ve never heard of. It does seem like that wouldn’t be in the public’s best interest, especially when you look at the number of cities where they operate two or three stations. A blackout like the one that DISH customers could be facing could take away almost all local TV.
This sort of thing has been legal for decades, ever since the FCC lifted the rules limiting the number of stations that could be owned by a single company. Today there is practically nothing stopping one company from owning every station in a market, or even, if they were rich enough, owning every station in the state. The thought is, there are a lot of other ways to get your local news, whether it’s newspapers, Facebook, streaming, the internet, what have you. Protecting local station independence isn’t as important as it was in the 20th century when local TV was pretty much the undisputed king of news and information.
So yeah, one company can own what can only be described as a “buttload” of stations. And, since the FCC backed down on a promise they made a few years ago, the owners can negotiate all-or-nothing deals with a company like DIRECTV or DISH if they want to. There’s nothing that can be done…
…except of course by you, the customer. You can get an antenna and end this nonsense. There may be a channel blackout on DISH but you’ll still get your local channels for FREE. Let them play their petty games. You’ll be sitting pretty watching your nightly news without any interruption, and when it comes time to watch any of the top ten rated TV shows, you’ll be covered. All you have to do is shop for an antenna from Solid Signal!
I’ll keep you updated on what may be the largest number of channels blacked out on a single day, ever… news as it happens.