Because of a contract dispute, WAGM-TV, the Presque Isle-based affiliate of CBS and FOX, is facing the possibility of being dropped by the satellite television service DISH Network.
The parent company of WAGM, Gray Television, said DISH Network subscribers around the country could lose access to 99 Gray Television streams, including WAGM, as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.
“We are shocked and disappointed to learn that DISH Network has decided to impose yet another blackout on its customers by taking away our station[s], which broadcast some of the most highly rated programming on any broadcast or cable channel in their market,” Kelly Landeen, WAGM’s vice president and general manager, said in a news release issued Tuesday morning.
Landeen said Gray Television offered DISH an extension beyond the Jan. 17 deadline that was not accepted and that DISH has dropped more than 200 local television programs around the country in the last two years.
A spokesperson for the Englewood, Colorado-based Dish Network said in a statement that “ample time remains for parties to reach an agreement or extension, and DISH is actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires.”
“DISH has successfully negotiated agreements representing hundreds of stations in recent months that benefit all parties, including our viewers,” the statement said. “Gray is simply trying to use consumers as pawns in an effort to gain leverage for their own economic benefit.”
Landee said the potential blackout would only affect viewers with DISH service.