Charlie Ergen on Distant Networks

Scott Greczkowski

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Sep 7, 2003
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I just had the opportunity to speak one on one with Charlie Ergen, the CEO of Echostar Communications / Dish Network about the distant network issue.

Charlie wants to urge everyone to CALL their senators and leave them a message at (202) 224-3121 telling them to protect the legal Distant Network customer that receive their distant locals from Dish Network.

Charlie mention that 20 or 25 calls on this issue per senator will get them to take notice of this issue.

It is expected that the distant network shutoffs will effect many viewers from the states of PA, VT, AK, HI, KY, TN, OR, MT, UT. Members in those areas are especially urged as they will be the ones who will be most effected by this shutoff.

I asked Charlie about the reports of some of our members getting their distant networks shut off as of today and he confirmed that they have begun the shutoff process, and said it is being done randomly, and the last customers will be shut off on or by the December 1st deadline.

If you have been shutoff, please call (202) 224-3121 NOW, your call might just get you your networks back in the future!

And while Dish Network is running the website http://www.savemychannels.com where you can email your senators, your efforts would be better served by calling in and talking to someone about this issue.

A big thank you to from Charlie to everyone who has already called in or wrote in. Remember you can call in daily about this if you want. Let congress know your a legal customer and you want your distant networks today.

In addition Charlie emailed me a letter which will be going out in awhile to all retailers, he has given me permission to repost this letter here.

Please call, and get the word out. Together we CAN make a difference!

IMPORTANT NOTICE
Save Distant Network Programming
Contact Your U.S. Senators and Representative in Congress Today

November 1, 2006

Dear DISH Network Retailer,

As you know, on October 20, 2006, a district court judge issued an order rejecting the joint settlement agreement between EchoStar and broadcasters and entered a permanent injunction requiring us to shut off “distant network” channels to all customers by December 1, 2006. As a result we must start tuning off customers daily over the next 30 days to meet the December 1 date.

We are disappointed by the court’s decision, and we are working aggressively to preserve all channels for as many customers as possible. Congress is the ONLY entity that can preserve network signals for these customers They are scheduled to meet in a post election session starting November 13. Congress has the ability to preserve our customers networks BEFORE the injunction deadline. Many in Congress have expressed a desire to address the issue and to framework legislation to preserve distant networks for those customers who legally qualify and in markets where we do not offer local channels by satellite. They need your SUPPORT. If you agree this is an important customer issue we offer some suggestions later in this notice.

What are Distant Network Channels?

Distant network channels are the ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX broadcast channels customers get from us by satellite that originate outside their community. This injunction does not, however, affect or upset in any way our ability to offer local network channels to local markets (i.e., local ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX network channels). The good news is that we offer local channels by satellite in 170 markets, serving over 96 percent of the U.S. households. The injunction also does not affect any of our other great programming we offer, like ESPN, USA, Discovery, and Showtime. Nonetheless, hundreds of thousands of customers would be impacted by the forced shutdown of their distant network channels.

What is DISH Network Doing?

DISH Network will continue to do everything it can to prevent as many customers as possible from losing their distant network channels, as we are aggressively working towards a congressional and a judicial solution. Congress can pass legislation to protect consumers, and we will ask the courts to reconsider their decision.

What Can You Do and When?
You can alert Congress to the pressing need for action and to the importance of distant networks to your business and for consumers. The window for congressional action in this session will be very short when Congress returns on November 13, 2006. As a result, it is critical that your voice is heard on Capitol Hill today.

Specifically, you can help prevent these distant network channels from being taken away by immediately going to www.savemychannels.com. Simply type in your ZIP code, and this web site will show the names and email addresses for the two U.S. Senators from your state, and for the Representative in Congress from your local district. It’s so easy to use, you can even send an email message to them directly from the web site.

You can also help by placing phone calls directly to Congress. Simply call 202-224-3121, tell the operator where you live, and they can connect you to your elected Representatives’ offices. Since they can only put you through to one number at a time, please call back two more times to be sure you reach both of your Senators, and your Representative in Congress. Please do not send mail, it may not get to Washington in time.

The message is simple. Tell your elected officials that Congress CAN pass legislation to protect consumers from unnecessarily losing access to their distant network channels, and that Congress NEEDS to act now, but this can't happen unless Congress hears from YOU today. Here is some language that you can use:

· Hello Congressman or Senator___.
· My name is ___ and I am a DISH Network Retailer [and customer].
· I understand that a court recently ordered DISH Network to shut off all distant network signals being provided to consumers in our state.
· This court decision will require a shutdown no later than December 1, 2006.
· If this happens, consumers will be confused and angry. It will also impact my business and my employees locally.
· I am calling to ask you to help do anything to resolve this situation and make sure consumers are not harmed.

We will continue to keep you informed of significant developments. In the meantime, please go to www.savemychannels.com today.

Thank You for Supporting DISH Network.

Again thank you to all SatelliteGuys members and forum members from around the country for your help in this matter!
 
In one of the Legal documents submitted by E* to stay the injunction , I thought I saw a statement that they could only shut off about 8000 customers a day. That is 100 days to shut off 800,000. Is there penalties for not having all shut off by Dec. 1st.
 
Tell Charlie I'll be calling my senator, "very, very soon." ;)

No, I'm only kidding. Thanks for the info Scott, hopefully we can rattle some cages.
 
OK I'm lost - why would it affect HI so much?
Isn't ALL of HI in one DMA & since that same DMA has LIL, why would it affect them at ALL? (since they CAN get locals) :confused:
And, isn't HI available with a standard D500 dish?
 
I think those who are legal DNS customers should be able to keep them. But why should I want to help a company that violates the law. Too many corporations think they are above the law. So now they want us to help? I think all should be cut off and then allow legitimate customers to file for DNS status afterwards.
 
OK I'm lost - why would it affect HI so much?
Isn't ALL of HI in one DMA & since that same DMA has LIL, why would it affect them at ALL? (since they CAN get locals) :confused:
And, isn't HI available with a standard D500 dish?

It is simply the case that, in addition to many customers in non local areas , there are E* customers in most states that now have locals but who had waivers or were grandfathered to get distants. These folks up to this injunction were given legal rights to receive distant networks They will now lose them. Many of these folks prefered distants to locals for their own reasons. Mine were better PQ, I was originally from the east coast and like to see that news, and there are many more sport viewing opportunities with distants and locals.
 
I don't know why Hawaii off the top of my head. I asked Charlie what some of the key areas were and that was one he rattled off.

If congress does step in they will requalify everyone.

You may believe that Echostar violated the law and that's fine, I have no problem with that.

However remember that Dish negoiated with every TV station a setllement which was agreed upon by every TV station and network except for about 20 Fox owned stations. Remember who owns Fox. And remember who own DirecTV.

Let Charlie write the $100 Million fine and let the good folks who have paid good money for their satellite system and were legal distant network customer contine enjoying the NBC Nightly News, Desprate Housewifes and all the other shows which are not available to them via an antenna.

Also think about all the hard working satellite retailers who be losing residuals, getting charge back and losing future income from these customers. Many of these folks are SatelliteGuys members. This hurt them.

Dish made a mistake... Dish is willing to pay for it. The broadcasters want dish to continue offering distants.

Please make the call.
 
I don't know why Hawaii off the top of my head. I asked Charlie what some of the key areas were and that was one he rattled off.

If congress does step in they will requalify everyone.

You may believe that Echostar violated the law and that's fine, I have no problem with that.

However remember that Dish negoiated with every TV station a setllement which was agreed upon by every TV station and network except for about 20 Fox owned stations. Remember who owns Fox. And remember who own DirecTV.

Let Charlie write the $100 Million fine and let the good folks who have paid good money for their satellite system and were legal distant network customer contine enjoying the NBC Nightly News, Desprate Housewifes and all the other shows which are not available to them via an antenna.

Also think about all the hard working satellite retailers who be losing residuals, getting charge back and losing future income from these customers. Many of these folks are SatelliteGuys members. This hurt them.

Dish made a mistake... Dish is willing to pay for it. The broadcasters want dish to continue offering distants.

Please make the call
.

:up :up :up
 
The law is BS.. no one should be forced to watch any station. If people are willing to pay for other locals why should the goverment put its nose in. it should be a free market just like the rest of the united states. if people wanted their locals they would get an antenna.

freaking goverment crap to cover the stations so they dont lose viewers.. rediculous crap is what it is..

can I say crap again? :)
 
The law is BS.. no one should be forced to watch any station. If people are willing to pay for other locals why should the goverment put its nose in. it should be a free market just like the rest of the united states. if people wanted their locals they would get an antenna.

freaking goverment crap to cover the stations so they dont lose viewers.. rediculous crap is what it is..

can I say crap again? :)

:up Without getting into a political debate, I sometimes feel like I am living in a communist country lately.
 
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i emailed through the savemychannels site when it first came out. i think that was months ago. i just got a reply from my senator yesterday. below is what he sent.

Thank you for contacting me regarding distant television signals transmitted by direct broadcast satellite services. I appreciate your sharing these concerns with me.

Although a Federal judge recently ruled to stop EchoStar, which operates DISH Network, from transmitting distant signals in faraway markets, the legal dispute is still ongoing. Hopefully, EchoStar and the broadcast networks will reach a settlement that is in the consumers' best interest, and the government won't have to step in.

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I will closely monitor this issue to ensure that Floridians do not unreasonably lose access to distant television signals. Your views are important and enable me to better serve you in the Senate. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future.



P.S. From time to time, I compile electronic news briefs highlighting key issues and hot topics of particular importance to Floridians. If you'd like to receive these e-briefs, visit my Web site and sign up for them at http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/ebriefs.cfm
 
Hopefully, EchoStar and the broadcast networks will reach a settlement that is in the consumers' best interest, and the government won't have to step in.
[/QUOTE] They did reach an agreement except for the 20 odd Fox Stations which are owned by NewsCorp who also owns DIRECTV!
 
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