WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The carriage agreement between Morris Network, Inc., which owns and operates television stations in six Southern television markets, including WWAY NewsChannel 3, and DISH Network, LLC expires tonight at midnight. Morris Network has offered DISH a short-term extension, until Friday for continued carriage of the stations as the parties continue to negotiate a new, longer-term agreement.
DISH publicly claimed on last week that Morris Network had rejected an extension offer by DISH. The claim is not true; DISH never made such an offer, or even a request for an extension. Nevertheless, as a sign of good faith, Morris Network has unilaterally offered DISH an extension to allow additional time for negotiation.
Morris Network first attempted to engage DISH in renewal discussions in early August. DISH has virtually ignored Morris Network’s attempts to negotiate.
Morris Network is only seeking market-based compensation for carriage of its six television stations consistent with recent agreements Morris Network has struck with its cable partners. Unlike those cable partners, however, DISH is refusing to pay market-based rates or to provide its subscribers with the stations’ CW and MyNetwork channels in all five of the television markets in which Morris Network’s stations are affiliated with these networks.
Morris Network has successfully negotiated hundreds of agreements over the years with its various video distribution partners and has never had an impasse resulting in a disruption of service. DISH, in contrast, has had at least 28 service disruptions with broadcasters in the past three years alone.
“DISH is a $14 billion a year company. It is unfortunate that DISH is threatening to black out our stations and deprive its subscribers of these valued local stations when the difference in a market-based rate and what DISH has offered to pay is less than a penny a day per subscriber,” said H. Dean Hinson, President of Morris Network.
Stations affected by a potential disruption in service are
WCBI-TV (CBS, ch. 4), Columbus, MS
WDEF-TV (CBS, ch. 12), Chattanooga, TN
WMGT-TV (NBC, ch. 41), Macon, GA
WTVQ (ABC, ch. 36), Lexington, KY
WWAY-TV (ABC, ch. 3), Wilmington
WXXV-TV (Fox, ch. 25) and WXXV-DT2 (NBC, ch. 6), Gulfport, MS
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, all of the stations will continue to be available over the air to viewers for free, as well as available on local cable systems and on DirecTV.
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