WCCO goes dark on Dish

Dish Network has dropped WCCO and all CBS stations from its broadcast lineup in a dispute over the amount of money the satellite TV service pays to CBS.

The move affects 13 million subscribers to Dish and 28 channels in 18 markets, including Minnesota.

“CBS is attempting to tax Dish customers on programming that’s losing viewers, tax Dish customers on programming available for free over the air, and tax Dish customers for content available directly from CBS,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish executive vice president of marketing, programming and media sales, in a statement.

“This particular dispute is yet another example of the company punishing its subscribers instead of negotiating a fair carriage deal that reflects the current marketplace,” CBS said in its statement.

This is the second time Dish has dropped CBS. In 2014, the network and local stations went dark on the service for a few hours.

WCCO went dark on Dish a little before 2 this morning.

Local viewers can still watch WCCO if they use rabbit ears.

Who’s still got rabbit ears?

  • John

    Using the term “tax” to describe something a private company is doing is interesting.

    edit: PS – I don’t use rabbit ears, but I do have an antenna in my attic. I don’t have cable or dish or any other way to watch “live” tv.

    • Me neither. I’ve been using a Leaf 30 antenna on one TV, rabbit ears on the other (an old TV; very retro). Things are fine unless it’s windy.

      • John

        Old TV – how do you get digital – one of those fancy adapter things they were selling during the transition? We’re down to one TV in the house, but that’s a little unfair to claim, because the kids watch a fair bit of streaming video on the computer (and a fair bit on the TV).

        • Yep. The digital converter. Also, last week when cleaning out a crawl space, I found our old rotary phone. You bet, I installed it.

          • Mike Worcester

            Do the rotary phones still work with newer land line cables?

          • Not sure how new the cables are in my house. It’s a 1984 house with 1984 wiring.

            The ring is sweet.

            I wish I’d saved the red one I had in 1971.

          • Jack

            My folks still use their old harvest gold one that they bought from the phone company when they were no longer allowed to rent it. Who needs more than one when you have a 50 foot cord????

          • Yes, they should.

          • John K

            Depends on what the land line is connected to. In my case, it’s a Comcast cable modem with voice. I haven’t tried it, but I’d be very surprised if the manufacturer added the ability to decode rotary pulses into it. If you’re still truly connected to a telephone switch office, then pulses might still work.
            FYI – this box is just for internet + phone (but I never answer it… only robocalls there). My TV is comes from a rooftop antenna and Netflix.

          • I have Century Link. It worked fine coming in and going out. of course you can’t check your voicemail or anything. But I never check landline voicemail anyway.

          • Rob

            I have an old candlestick phone that’s been retrofitted to work on a landline. Serious.

      • Rob

        I’ve discovered that if you stand facing the TV, wrap tin foil around your hands and feet and raise your arms at about a 45 degree angle to each side of your body, the reception is way better than with any set of rabbit ears.

        • Joseph

          I’m a millenial, and I love my OTA tv. I bought a TV signal booster for $50 on Amazon, and now get over 30 tv channels from the Twin Cities in St. Cloud, and rarely have issues except with the occasional severe storm between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. Saves me a boat load of cash, and I can still watch everything I’m interested in watching.

    • Jim in RF

      Caught that too. New intern in the PR group. We’re antenna in the attic also, and its okay even on the far side of the St Croix, unless its windy. Every January we treat ourselves to a nice $150 dinner with the $1000 we saved.

    • Glsai

      Your old antenna in your attic will work perfect for watching digital over the air TV. If you TV came out in the last few years simply run the coax cable to the back of your TV. If it’s 5+ years older you may need one of those digital converter boxes. Almost all TVs recently (and many older ones) come with the hardware needed to watch OTA digital broadcasts.

      It’s how I do it at home, the house we bought had a TV in the attic, we routed the cables and even used a splitter and it worked like a charm. You can buy one of those low profile tiny antennas like the Leaf Bob talks about, but if you got a big antenna in your attic or on your roof give that a shot.

      • John

        I should clarify – I put an antenna in the attic so I could get TV reception. Our TV lives in the basement, and I couldn’t get signal reliably with a standard, indoor, antenna. Three or four years ago, I bought a non-directional antenna that had a stated range of about 2x the distance from my house to Shoreview, but it only consistently worked when there were not leaves on the trees and it wasn’t actively snowing (sometimes I could watch the St. Cloud stations on it).

        So, this summer, I upgraded to a semi directional (I think a 30 degree window), non-amplified antenna with a much longer range. It takes up a lot more attic space, but it doesn’t take up space that I care about. And it works (so far) in all the weather and leaf situations we’ve had since we got it. Can’t watch St. Cloud though – it’s pointed the wrong way.

  • Is there a reason satellite companies don’t make their dishes so they pick up OTA signals for local channels?

    • I don’t believe the problem is a technical issue, it’s a right-to-redistribute issue.

      • PaulK

        For our specific area (Twin Cities), there is also an alignment issue. Most satellite parabolic receivers face south, whereas terrestrial broadcasts are from Shoreview. But like Bob said, it’s mainly a right-to-redistribute issue.
        I get decent reception with an antenna in the attic.

    • jon

      A dish is tuned for signals up in the Ghz range, pointed at the geosynchronous satellites.
      Digital TV broadcasts at ~200Mhz UFH and 500Mhz VHF… (which is why the old rabbit ears also had the bow tie antenna, to cover UHF and VHF, bow tie has largely become a loop right off the base of the antenna), with the signal coming out of shoreview (at least in the cities).

      They’d need to add a pair of antennas to their dish and point them different directions… and then add that signal into their lines, as something that the set top boxes can process and present…

      Basically it adds a lot of complexity to the system, and the broadcasts aren’t something they have direct control over, so if the experience is impacted by something, their customers will be blaming them, even though they have no control over it… easier just to tell customers to setup their own antennas…

  • jon

    I do have rabbit ears…

    The house came with a Yagi antenna in the attic, but it’s got a ~2 degree range, and the towers in shoreview are just over 2 degrees apart when viewed from my house (to close to the towers).

    I switched it out with rabbit ears that are far less sensitive and far less directional to improve reception…. (crazy part, it worked.)

    so now I have rabbit ears, in the attic… next to a much more powerful antenna that doesn’t work near as well….

  • Gary F

    I have a set, I don’t use them, maybe the term isn’t rabbit ears but that basic antenna thing. But when we went through the joke known as St Paul Comcast, some times you needed them for a day or two.

  • AL287

    I have Netflix and a digital antenna which picks up 26 OTA channels, 20 of them clearly. The antenna was a Christmas present from my son and his wife 2 years ago.

    Prior to that I didn’t watch TV at all and got my news from MPR or online. I watched movies from my 150+ DVD collection.

  • Dan

    “Who’s still got rabbit ears?”

    I think lots of people have the newer HDTV antennas, myself included. Probably more prevalent among cord cutters. Speaking of which, DirectTV makes a great point — you don’t need DirectTV to watch content.

  • Angry Jonny

    My parents still have rabbit ears!

  • QuietBlue

    I still have rabbit ears (albeit a modern version) for the rare times when we watch OTA television. Otherwise it’s all streaming for us.

  • >>Who’s still got rabbit ears?<<

    As already stated, you can still get these and/or better systems for getting OTA HD signals.

    I tried it a couple years ago, but found i couldn't get a decent signal.

  • Al

    We only use rabbit ears, actually, with Netflix and Amazon. Never had a cord to cut.

  • Barton

    As someone who is still angry that CBS is basically charging (gouging) me for being a Star Trek fan, I say good for Dish.

  • Paul

    Rabbit ears here, no cable or sat tele. Mostly a streamer though.

  • Bob Sinclair

    “Who’s still got rabbit ears?” Umm…rabbits?

  • AverageJoeMN

    I didn’t have rabbit ears so I whacked a rabbit in the back yard, cut off the ears and hooked up my TV. The reception didn’t get any better. Bet it’s because I don’t live close enough to the tower.

  • BJ

    CBS is wanting people to pay them for the new online service they have, that includes your local broadcast. This will be a test if they can do it on a national scale.

  • Garth Vander Vorst

    I am charged for local channels on Dish and haven’t watched them for years. I tried to drop local channels off my package but Dish will not allow it. This makes it easier. I want $1 a month discount since channel was dropped. Hopefully the other local channels drop off soon and I can get the $5 a month credit I’ve been after.