Transforming Network Infrastructure Industry News

TMCNet:  DISH, Northwest Broadcasting come to a deal in time for Seahawks game

[January 13, 2013]

DISH, Northwest Broadcasting come to a deal in time for Seahawks game

Jan 13, 2013 (Yakima Herald-Republic - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- YAKIMA, Wash. -- An 11th-hour deal was reached between Northwest Broadcasting and DISH Network Saturday night, to the delight of DISH subscribers hoping to watch the Seattle Seahawks play the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday's playoff game.

Brian Brady, CEO and president of Northwest Broadcasting, sent an email to media and subscribers announcing that a deal was reached.

"The deal is done and the stations should be back up shortly," he wrote. "I appreciate your help and I apologize for the disruption." A news release from DISH Network late Saturday confirmed the stations were back in Yakima.

"DISH customers once again have access to this important local TV programming in Washington, Oregon and New York," said Andrew LeCuyer, vice president of programming, in the release. "We thank our customers for their patience during these negotiations and the agreement allows DISH to continue offering the best programming at the best prices for DISH customers." Neither side revealed specific details of the agreement in his email. Neither DISH Network nor Brady could be reached Saturday for further comment.

According to subscriber reports, the stations were restored during the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers playoff game.

Northwest Broadcasting, a Okemos, Mich., company that operates local Fox affiliates in Eastern Washington, Oregon and New York blacked out the stations in late November after a breakdown in contract negotiations. Though both sides had agreed on the fees DISH Network would pay to Northwest Broadcasting to retransmit the station's signals, the two parties butted heads over whether DISH Network were to make retroactive payments at the new rate from when the previous contract expired in 2009.

Things came to a head on Friday afternoon, when Brady copied media and subscribers on an email he sent to DISH executive Dave Shull Friday afternoon, accusing DISH of misleading subscribers on what happened. That prompted the Englewood, Colo.-based satellite provider to send emails of its own, stating that Northwest Broadcasting were using the popularity of playoff games to hold the company hostage.

Customers, however, weren't taking sides and exhorted both sides to come to a compromise. Over the past 24 hours, subscribers bonded over email and lamented their inability to watch their favorite teams play.

And they breathed a sight of relief when the stations were restored.

"I hope that all parties, including the customers, will be satisfied with the agreement," said Lucy Tracy, a subscriber in Clarkston, in a group email. "Thank goodness we didn't have to get your mothers involved to settle this." Jerry Jarnagin, who lives in an unincorporated area northwest of Ellensburg, was trying to install an antenna when he heard the good news.

"It's about time," he said.

___ (c)2013 Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) Visit Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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