Tuesday, October 1, 2013

More Broadcast Networks Go Dark On Cable

While the current word may be that a short term agreement has prevented ABC/ESPN Nets from going dark on Dish Network, another broadcaster failed to stay on.  Media General's 18 broadcast networks got shut down at midnight when no renewal was reached with Dish Network.  "Media General's retrans agreement originally expired in June, but Media General extended negotiations for 90 days."  So Dish consumers in those markets are now without their stations during the most important time for broadcasters, the Fall season. 

Who is to blame?  Frankly, the blame should be shared among all parties, Dish, Media General, and even the FCC for enabling broadcasters to charge for broadcast networks and the use of over the air spectrum.  This fight between operator and broadcaster continues to repeat itself endlessly.  And while Dish and ABC may have put into place an extension, it may still end up with networks being dropped off Dish.  It was only last month that Time Warner Cable faced this same issue with CBS; it will only happen again.  Broadcast networks should not be enabled to charge; if they want to then free up the airwaves and become cable networks. It is time for the FCC to intervene.

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