Yet Another Retrans Battle, And A Bit Of Football

The latest retransmission consent battle (read: over money) has left Dish Network subscribers in the Cleveland TV market without CBS or MyNetwork TV programming…since early Thursday morning.

The dispute between the nation’s number two satellite TV provider and Raycom Media removed WOIO/19 and WUAB/43 from the Cleveland local channels lineup.

So, since we’ve been down this road before, let’s bring in both sides…first, the local TV stations:

For months, we have been working to resolve this matter, but so far have been unable to reach an Agreement with Dish Network for the continued carriage of WOIO and WUAB. This is particularly disappointing because all the other TV providers in our area have Agreements with us and those Agreements are fundamentally similar to the one we have been negotiating with Dish Network.

As a result, on August 1st, Dish Network customers lost access to WOIO and WUAB.

Raycom urges Dish subscribers to call the company, and suggests alternative providers like DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Cox Cable.

Oh, and:

And you can always get your local broadcast channel free over the air.

We needed that laugh. More on that later.

Enter Englewood, Colorado, and the folks at Dish Network, who say Raycom “blocked” viewers from their channels on the satellite service.

(quoting Sruta Vootukuru, director of programming) DISH has offered to pay Raycom the same rates as our primary competitors; yet Raycom has stalled negotiations, refusing to accept that fair offer. DISH has negotiated hundreds of local retransmission agreements and on behalf of customers, we hope Raycom will soon agree to terms in line with market standards.”

At this time, Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom has refused DISH the legal right to carry its programming unless DISH pays more than four times what it was paying under the previous agreement.

About that “always free over the air” line from WOIO/WUAB/Raycom – regular readers are laughing along with us, well aware of the difficulty many over-air viewers in the core of the Cleveland area have in decoding the 9.5kW/still-getting-interference-from-Canada signal currently offered by WOIO.

Folks in the Akron/Summit County area get a lot of help from the well-placed WOIO digital translator on RF 24, but viewers north of Akron have no shot at that low-power signal.

Dish Network has much more on their side on a site called “Fair Satellite”, here.

Our take? This would get resolved a lot faster if it happened about a month later, when the Cleveland Browns open up the regular season on September 8th…in a game with the Miami Dolphins televised by WOIO’s network, CBS.

Pre-season games are handled once again this year by Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, which opens up its four game warmup slate next Thursday (!) against the St. Louis Rams.

By the way, Browns pre-season play by play on the radio side, with Jim Donovan on TV, will be handled by WKNR’s Michael Reghi…taking the role that Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 sports director Mike Snyder did for many years prior.

While we’re talking Browns in this item anyway, a note: the End of the Clear Channel-Browns relationship has popped up again, this time in Mansfield.

We hear that Mid-State sports WRGM/1440 and its 97.3 FM translator “ESPN 1440 & 97.3” take the radio broadcasts from long-time Mansfield rightsholder WMAN/1400(-WMAN-FM/98.3).

Anyway, back to the Dish/Raycom dispute…as usual, you can watch many of the shows on both channels online. has an extensive selection of full episode video, and is heavily promoting the existing streaming of their local newscasts…


4 Responses to Yet Another Retrans Battle, And A Bit Of Football

  1. Robert Asch says:

    Cox Cable underwent a similar blackout at the beginning of January of this year. It took 5 days to resolve the dispute. Raycom Media has played hardball with every cable/satellite provider that has had its retransmission rates disputed. If you get WOIO/WUAB via any external provider, don’t be surprised if this happens to you when the current contract expires.

  2. Daniel says:

    Thank you staff for being an outstanding resource regarding our local media machinations and events. Until I discovered your site/service I was always left guessing as to what specifically has/had taken place with changes, shake-ups and terminations. Well done and Thank you.

  3. Frank says:

    The Browns leaving Clear Channel is a big mistake!

  4. Yekimi says:

    Only Clear Channel thinks that!

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