After seven weeks and two days, WRCB-Channel 3 is back on Dish Network.
The two organizations finished up contract negotiations today and brought the network back to the air around 4:15 p.m.
The NBC affiliate was off the air so long because of a dispute over fees Dish would pay WRCB to carry the station's programming. Recently major networks such as Fox and NBC told their affiliates the larger companies would take a bigger share of those fees, leaving stations scrambling to make up the difference by charging higher fees.
Negotiations were slow on Dish's side in November leading up to sweeps week, when stations collect viewership data used to sell advertising, according to Tom Tolar, WRCB's general manager.
After Thanksgiving, the pace picked up. The two parties spent the last week finalizing their agreement before putting the signal back on the air.
"I just wish we could have done it without having to take down the signal," Tolar said. "The people who were affected the most were our viewers and their subscribers, and they have every right to feel like they were needlessly deprived of our programming for a long time."
Dish representatives were not immediately available for comment.
For more information, read tomorrow's Times Free Press.
Contact Carey O'Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6525. Follow him at twitter.com/careyoneil