There are two sides to this story

Editor, the Advocate:

Victoria Television Group announcers are currently (every 15 minutes or so) informing area Dish Network subscribers that Dish Network is "planning to stop" providing local channels to local Dish Network subscribers on March 1. Their presentation would make it seem that Dish simply has decided to drop Victoria Television Group's local channels and deprive subscribers of local news, weather, etc., for no apparent reason. Not true.

A call to VTG revealed that, according to the person I spoke with, Dish has simply "refused" to negotiate a new contract. A call to Dish elicited a conflicting story. The Dish representative claimed that VTG was demanding an "outrageous increase" in the fees that Dish pays to VTG for the "privilege" of carrying VTG channels. The increase would force Dish to raise its rates to local Dish customers, a choice that Dish does not wish to make. However, Dish representatives are, in fact, continuing to negotiate in an effort to reach an agreement with VTG.

Negotiation of a contract is not unusual; it occurs every time the old contract is due to expire. Dish is in an almost constant contract negotiation with various local TV channel providers, since Dish provides service nationwide. To have the local stations demand "outrageous" and unreasonable fees and claim that Dish "refuses" to negotiate, however, is unusual. I think that it is past time that Dish subscribers hear both sides of the story, not just Victoria Television Group's statement that Dish is arbitrarily "planning to drop" our local channels.

Don Wendel, Victoria