Dish Network subscribers without off-air antennas in Northern Michigan are doing without their CBS and FOX television affiliates this morning as a retransmission dispute between Dish and Heritage Broadcasting-owned WWTV-TV Ch. 9 / WWUP-TV Ch. 10 Cadillac/Traverse City/Sault Ste. Marie and Heritage operated WFQX-TV Ch. 32 Cadillac has resulted in a blackout of what's known locally as "9 & 10 News" and "Fox 32".
Viewers in the area still have the opportunity to receive the stations if they have digital tuners on their televisions (or a converter box) and an antenna capable of pulling in the stations off the air. Doing so may require a rescan of your television or converter box that is connected to the antenna.
Heritage Broadcasting has released the following information on the dispute:
Heritage Broadcasting, a Michigan locally owned broadcasting company that provides your local news, weather, school closings, and sports along with the CBS network, is currently negotiating with Dish network, a multi-billion dollar out of state company. Dish has resorted to using its vast resources to attempt to intimidate your local television station 9&10 News. Dish has started an intimidation campaign that involves not only the television station but includes the local television advertisers and you the viewers.
Dish believes that it can bully a small local business into accepting a deal for much less than they are worth. Heritage Broadcasting believes that you should be paid for the value that you deliver not the size of your company. In the latest Nielsen rating period, 9&10 News and the CBS network, is the highest rated channel, yet we are being asked to accept a fee that is near the bottom of pay scale. We are not asking to be the highest paid, but we think we are worth more than the price of a postage stamp!
Despite the Dish claim of a 600 percent increase, the fact is we have asked for a fee that is less than the price of a Sunday newspaper. We feel that the equivalent of 5 cents a day for your local news, weather, school closings, severe weather alerts, local sports coverage and the CBS network is a fair price.
We know this is an inconvenience to our viewers and advertisers and we sincerely apologize that our negotiations have affected you. We do not feel that it is appropriate that large corporations use scare tactics, high priced lawyers and their billions of dollars to bully local businesses. We do not accept bullying in our schools and we should not accept it in any form in our communities. Dish would know this if they were a part of, or cared about our community.
We are sorry for any inconveniences this has caused you. As more information becomes available, we will do our best to keep you informed.
Thank you for your viewership.