Augusta-area Dish Network customers could lose local NBC station

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Augusta-area Dish Net–work customers could lose access to the local NBC affiliate if the company can’t come to an agreement with Indiana-based Shurz Communications Inc.

Shurz, which owns WAGT -TV (Channel 26) in Augusta, is demanding “a rate increase to more than five times what Dish pays under its current contract,” according to a Dish news release.

Dish says the sticking point in negotiations is over fees for AutoHop, a customer-enabled commercial-skipping technology found on the company’s Hopper DVRs.

“Dish has been unable to reach an agreement with Schurz Communications because Schurz is demanding that Dish pay a significant penalty for allowing our customers access to AutoHop,” Dave Shull, Dish’s senior vice president of programming, said in the release.

Marcy Burdick, Shurz’s senior vice president for broadcast and cable, called the claim a “categorical falsehood.”

“We have never discussed AutoHop in our weeks of negotiations,” Burdick said. She said Shurz is seeking the same contract terms with Dish that it has with other cable carriers in the Augusta area.

“Shurz has reached hundreds of agreements with carriers large and small and has never had a station go off the air,” she said.

Burdick said WAGT will remain available through other cable carriers.

WAGT also broadcasts a digital signal that is available free to those with digital antennas.

Dish spokesman John Hall said negotiations with Shurz were still under way. He could not disclose when WAGT would be removed from the carrier’s lineup or how many customers would be affected.

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higear 12/17/12 - 07:42 pm
From a person who has been in

From a person who has been in media, walk away. They will come back to you they need dish, otherwise they lose viewers in the Neilson ratings which then lowers their rates to advertisers, which lowers their revenue. No media outlet can afford to lose revenue. Not in this economy. Problem Solved. You are welcome.

bdouglas 12/18/12 - 10:39 am

"WAGT also broadcasts a digital signal that is available free to those with digital antennas."

There is no such thing as a "digital antenna" for TV. You can use a hanger and tin foil if you want to; the tuner in the TV (or a separate box) is the only thing digtal.

MarinerMan 12/18/12 - 11:12 am
Shurz Has a Reputation, and it is not Good

Shurz did the same thing with DirecTV several years ago. I could not get NBC26 on DirecTV, and they would not grant me a waiver, so I could get the NBC feed. And let's not forget the shaft that Shurz gave the news/weather folks, when they sold them out to WJBF's parent company. Low life scum. Look at all of the talent that left the Augusta market because of them. Let them pound sand. They could not compete, so they sold out.

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