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Posts tagged: Cowles California Media Co.

Will area football fans using Dish Network miss out on the Super Bowl?

UPDATED FEB. 1, 1:30 p.m.:  

The two sides have ended the contract impasse and have signed a new retransmission contract. See more recent posts on Office Hours for details.

By early Wednesday morning a number of Dish Network TV subscribers may be seeing nothing on the channel normally carrying KHQ.

A negotiation of a new multiyear contract between KHQ's parent company and Dish has stalled. The contract reportedly ends at midnight on Jan. 31. As happened with DirecTV and Fox affilliate KAYU exactly one year ago, the dispute over money could lead to a blackout for Dish subscribers just before Sunday's Super Bowl.

It would have no effect on cable subscribers, those using DirecTV or getting their signals over-the-air or from another cable service.

The contract covers retransmission fees paid by the satellite company to the affiliate station management.  Dish and KHQ's parent company — Cowles California Media Co., in this case — have not been able to agree on the annual fee oaid by Dish. The fee in large part is based on the number of subscribers Dish has within that station's market area.

Last year Fox carried the Super Bowl. This year it's NBC, and KHQ is the NBC affiliate in this market.

As happened during the KAYU blackout, area TV fans can prepare themselves by finding alternatives. Dish subscribers who have line rabbit-ears antennas might be able to pull the signal over the air.

But residents with spotty reception or none at all will have to figure out another option.

The Dish Network folks emailed this comment to us: “Dish Network's lengthy negotiations with Cowles California Media Co., the owner of KHQ in Spokane, remain ongoing; but so far they have not resulted in an agreement. Without an agreement from Cowles, Dish would no longer have the legal right to provide KHQ's NBC programming — along with the Super Bowl — to Dish customers.
 
“Essentially, Cowles is holding the Super Bowl hostage while it demands an outrageous rate increase of more than 250 percent. We hope to have an agreement before access to this channel is interrupted, but so far Cowles has been unreasonable in its negotiations.”
 
A KHQ manager declined to comment, saying the negotiations are ongoing and confidential.
 
KHQ is owned by a company that is a subsidiary of Cowles Co, which also operates The Spokesman-Review and Spokesman.com.

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