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Dish vs. Hearst: The Viewers Are Getting Angry

Dish has been missing Hearst-owned network affiliates in 26 markets now for 52 days and the satcaster’s subscribers are taking to social media sites to vent their growing impatience and anger.


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On March 3, the two companies broke off talks for a new carriage agreement, leaving Dish viewers in such large markets as Kansas City, Baltimore, Boston, Orlando and Milwaukee without at least one local channel. (See a list of all Hearst-owned stations here.)

For the first few weeks, Dish and Hearst issued scathing statements blaming each other for the dispute. However, since March 27, when Hearst posted an update on their station web sites, both sides have said nary a word in public.


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That has left it to the viewers to voice their opinions — on social media sites and other Internet message forums.

The tone of their remarks is getting so bitter that you have to wonder if some of them will soon contemplate dropping Dish and installing an antenna to watch their Hearst-owned locals. It’s not that they necessarily blame Dish, but they are clearly frustrated and desperate for any solution.

and get over yourself!!!! Selfish selfish selfish,” tweeted @fdlanham last night.

I’m trying to get a fire lit under Due to dispute with millions of us have no ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC 4 over a month, @DLeo5873 wrote on Twitter on April 5.


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Last night, @LarryBevansJr responded: “Just call any of ABC’s advertisers and say you’ ll never buy any of their products! Time for people to start taking back our power!”

@KatHessel last night got angry when she couldn’t watch a NBA playoff game on her local ABC affiliate.

. So pissed. Can’t watch the Thunder game. This is wrong,no way to treat your customers. End this now!” she wrote on Twitter.

@Blimfarkle served a reminder that if Dish subscribers don’t drop their service, they may start demanding refunds.

“NOTE: All Dish customers MUST call & REQUEST billing adjustment for this blackout. No automatic refunds – we have to BEG!,” the subscriber wrote last night.

@TurfNetMaestro probably best summed up the feelings of Dish subscribers who watch local Hearst channels.

“F*cked by , and once again. No Bruins game on Dish. Listening on radio like the old days. ,” she tweeted yesterday afternoon.

“Greedy ass—– can make a deal!” added @Thedaringpastry on Twitter.

While the battle is likely hurting Hearst’s ratings, Dish may have more to lose if the fight continues. The local station is likely to regain its viewers when the dispute ends, but how does Dish get back subscribers who switch services or drop pay TV entirely?

It’s always easier to retain a customer than enticing a new one to sign up.


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— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (706 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

12 Comments on Dish vs. Hearst: The Viewers Are Getting Angry

  1. After more than 10 years as a Dish customer, I switched to Comcast out of frustration with their inability to work out an agreement. I’m curious to know if they’re in more fee feuds than DirectTV or cable providers. Seems like that to me.

  2. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Hearst has been in a stalemate with a cable or satellite provider for longer than 20 days. Imagine the reaction if this was dispute involved Sinclair or Nexstar, which have far more stations in even more markets.

    Also that DLeo5873 guy made a mistake, Hearst has no Fox stations, only affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, The CW and MyNetworkTV as well as an independent station.

  3. What a joke….. The blame for this should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Hearst. Greed…. plain and simple. The little people must pay for our signals, and watch endless commercials…. WTF? Pick a side either you are PAYTV, or your commercial TV… make up your minds, you can’t have it both ways…. Stick to your guns Dish… It took me 3 weeks to even notice I didn’t have NBC…. go figure, guess there wasn’t much to watch on it anyway….. NBC Nothng But Crap…. Must not be much to See TV…..

  4. History lesson: There was a time wihen cable/sat operators did not have to carry any local channels. They carried what they felt like. Then came “must carry” which forced the operators to carry the local channels in their DMA where they provided service. That was followed by a new option called “Retransmission Fees”, aka “Free money”. The local channels who stuck with “must carry” got zip. So now operators have to pay to re-transmit channels that are available over the air for free. What can the operators do? Build an antenna signal amp on their boxes and re-trans goes away. Free money is gone. Do they have the potatoes to do so?

  5. Dish offered me a one time refund of $5. I’m ready for a change! By-By Dish!!!!!

  6. Deb Goodwin // April 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm // Reply

    Currently I get one CBS and one ABC. Hearst must not own them. I do not get NBC because Dish only offers the one. Maybe Dish could offer a different NBC station? So tired of this.

  7. susan Durant // April 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm // Reply

    I’m so over it and unfortunately we here in the adirondacks are still in the outlieing area where cable isn’t an option to us! So it’s Satellite or nothing…shame on both sides get over yourselves and get it fixed…to dish stop spending money on spectrum stock come on 6.2 million spend some for your customers on local station never mind your 5g you want to surpass the 4g… We do read and are knowledgeable customers!

  8. Unfortunately I installed Dish 2 days before the cancelation. Dish failed to inform me about the contract extension. I have reached out to both of them and all I got the blaming game, I was done amd asked Dish to terminate my contract being only 3 days old. They said that it would cost me $460. Wow, what a way to double screw a new customer.

  9. Jay R. Phillips // April 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm // Reply

    I am sticking with Dish- Believe Hearst is too greedy in it’s demands – missed KCCI for a while but have moved on !!!

  10. Michelle Sutton // April 26, 2017 at 9:57 pm // Reply

    I just saw that channel 5 WLWT was back on. I also saw where they had reached an agreement and settled. But when I look to see what is on tonight. At 11:00pm tonight it says WLWT removed NBC 5. So what does that mean? If it isn’t going to be back on. We are probably going to change! Are we going to be charged for this channel?

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