UPDATE | Gray Television Reaches Long-Term Agreement With Dish

Published: Jan. 16, 2017 at 2:49 PM EST
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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Gray Television and WRDW News 12 WAGT 26 would like to thank our viewers for their support in the negotiations with DISH Network. We are happy to announce we have reached a deal with DISH!!! Channels 12 and 26 will continue to be on the DISH Network. We cannot thank our viewers enough for their phone calls and comments to DISH urging them to keep TV local. We look forward to delivering the same high quality programming as we always have, and we will continue to serve our community as we have done for decades!! Thank you!

ATLANTA, Ga. (GRAY TV) -- Gray Television, Inc. announced this evening that it has reached an agreement in principle with Dish Network covering all of its owned and operated television stations across the country. As a result, no viewers will lose access to any of Gray's television stations on Dish's platform. Terms were not disclosed.

Gray owns and/or operates 100 television stations across 54 television markets that collectively broadcast over 200 program streams including 101 channels affiliated with the CBS Network, the NBC Network, the ABC Network and the FOX Network.

Our portfolio includes the number-one and/or number-two ranked television station operations in essentially all of our markets, which collectively cover approximately 10.1 percent of total United States television households.

Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

WRDW & WAGT, the local CBS and NBC affiliates found on Channels 12 and 26, today announced that pay-TV provider Dish Network has decided to stop carrying our programming on Tuesday, January 17 at 7:00 PM.

“We are shocked and disappointed to learn that Dish Network has decided to impose yet another blackout on its customers by taking away our stations, which broadcast some of the most highly rated programming on any broadcast or cable channel in their market,” said John Ray, the station’s President and General Manager.

Our parent company, Gray Television, owns the number one- or number two-ranked television station in over 50 markets. In many of these markets, including Augusta, Gray’s television stations have higher ratings than every other broadcast station and cable channel combined. Despite the obvious popularity of Gray’s stations, Dish has refused after many months to even begin negotiating carriage terms that are consistent with those that Dish has provided to other broadcasters and cable channels.

Recently, Gray offered Dish an extension that would have continued beyond tomorrow’s deadline, but Dish refused to accept it. Unfortunately, neither our stations nor the government nor Dish’s millions of fee-paying customers can force Dish to continue carrying our stations when, as here, it chooses to take leading stations off of its system for perceived leverage in private carriage negotiations.

For these reasons, it is not likely that the blackout imposed by Dish today will end soon. Sadly, Dish customers who wish to receive our award winning and highly rated programming over the next several months will most likely need to switch to another pay-TV provider. This blackout will also negatively affect local Dish viewers who want to watch the highly-anticipated NFL AFC Championship this Sunday night between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.

Dish’s actions will not affect customers of DirecTV, Comcast Xfinity, WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, and other local providers. Our company has reached long term agreements with several hundred other major cable and satellite distributor, virtually all without any disruptions or even public statements about our negotiations. In contrast, in just the last two years alone, Dish has dropped more than 200 local television stations.

“It is unfortunate that Dish does not see the same value in our programming as every other operator. Regardless, we will continue to offer the same high quality programming as we always have, and we will continue to serve our community as we have done for decades.”

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