We do not know DISH Network’s plans. By law, cable companies must negotiate in good faith with a television station before dropping that station’s signal. WNEM has been trying for months to get DISH to negotiate seriously.

If DISH does not reach an agreement to carry WNEM, WNEM’s programming will not be available on DISH systems as of Monday, July 15, 2019 at 7 p.m. DISH will drop all WNEM’s top-rated programs. DISH’s decision will not impact DIRECTV, Charter Spectrum subscribers, or subscribers of any smaller cable companies. Of course, WNEM is always available for free over-the-air.

If DISH drops WNEM it will be an outlier – WNEM has successfully reached fair agreements with every major cable and satellite company. Without fair and equitable treatment, local TV stations will not be able to continue to provide the top-quality news, sports, entertainment, and other local programming that is most important to you.

We will continue to attempt to negotiate with DISH. In the meantime, we hope you will continue supporting local television and watch us free over the air with an antenna, or you may choose to subscribe to any other cable or satellite company serving your area, which all carry our station and the other local television stations in our market.

If you are a DISH subscriber, you can call 1-800-333-3474 to speak with customer service.

Thank you for supporting LOCAL television.


Know the Facts:

Question: Why have you not yet reached an agreement with DISH Network?

Answer: We have been trying for months to reach an agreement with DISH. So far, DISH has rejected all our proposals for compromise. Local broadcasters negotiate agreements with cable and satellite providers all the time for the rights to resell our programming to their subscribers. Usually, agreements are reached without any disruption to your service. We will continue to negotiate with DISH in hopes of reaching an agreement before our contract expires.

Question: What exactly is “retransmission consent”?

Answer: Cable and satellite companies negotiate with local broadcasters for the right to retransmit their signals in a process known as retransmission consent.  Fair compensation is critical to local TV stations' ability to provide local news, community and emergency information, as well as top-quality entertainment.  Recently, certain cable and satellite companies (which don’t invest in local programming) have waged an aggressive lobbying effort urging the government to weigh in on these private, market-based negotiations to avoid fairly-compensating broadcasters, who produce the highest-rated content on television.

Question:  Why do you charge DISH, when your signal is available free over the air?

Answer: Our signals always have been and always will be available for free over-the-air to every viewer. But we cannot continue to provide the same high-quality programming if our competitors can take our programming for free and re-sell it.   

DISH competes with us to sell advertising, and that cuts into the revenue we use to support our high-quality programming, including our local news. DISH does not invest in local programming, but it profits by including local broadcast stations like ours in its channel lineups. DISH pays for other channels it sends you, including dozens of channels you’ve probably never watched.  DISH should pay fair value for the ability to send our programming to you, just like they pay for those other channels.  Remember, DISH already charges you for our local programming as part of your monthly bill.

Question: Does DISH pay for other channels?

Answer: Based on publicly available information, cable and satellite providers pay substantial fees per month for the rights to carry ESPN, TNT, and many other cable networks that have far fewer viewers, no local employees and no local investments. The rates that we are asking for from DISH are far less than those DISH pays for niche cable networks from New York and Los Angeles that have lower viewership than our stations in this LOCAL market.

Question: So, what are my options?

Answer: It is important to know that you have many choices. You can always watch the station for free and in high-definition over-the-air by using an antenna. We also have agreements with virtually all other pay-tv providers in your area such as DIRECTV and Charter Spectrum.

Question: What can I do in the meantime?

Answer: If you are a DISH subscriber, you can call 1-800-333-3474 to speak with customer service.