DISH customers throughout the Charleston area were blocked access to CBS affiliate WCSC channel 5 today in a contract dispute between DISH and Raycom Media.
A DISH spokeswoman said efforts to negotiate a new deal with Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom fell apart because Raycom wants DISH to pay four times more than it currently does for programming.
DISH has offered to pay the same rates as its primary competitors to carry Raycom programming, but Raycom refuses to sign a contract, according to DISH.
“We are ready to listen to a fair proposal from Raycom to bring this impasse to a swift end,” said Sruta Vootukuru, DISH director of programming. “Unfortunately, the broadcaster has not been willing to pursue an agreement that would have avoided this disruption of service to our customers and Raycom viewers. 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.”
Raycom did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Channel 5 acknowledged the problem this morning on its Facebook page with a message to DISH Network subscribers.
“We deeply regret that you are now unable to see Live 5 News, severe weather updates and local sports. ... We are going to keep working to resolve this matter.”
WCSC General Manager Rita Scott said Thursday morning the parties are still negotiating.
The blockage also affects DISH customers in 35 other markets from accessing various local television channels.
The action affects viewers of various ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC-affiliated stations throughout the nation.