Welcome to TVOnMySide

Blue Ridge Communications' hub for information on our negotiations with the networks on your lineup. We are committed to providing quality TV programming at a competitive price and we fight hard against excessive fee increases from the networks.

We're on your side.


Blue Ridge Communications is a local company that delivers a range of products for home and business including Internet, Digital TV, Phone, and Security Systems. We employ many of your neighbors and play an active role in the community.

For more information about our company, visit our website.

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Why Disputes Happen

Over the years, we've negotiated hundreds of programming agreements behind the scenes, privately with no disruptions of service. But to the network and TV station owners, these disputes are not about respecting viewers with no interruptions, it's all about the money. To get higher fees, networks don't hesitate to pull the plug on viewers.

Every once in a while, these negotiations for the right to provide their programming to you become public and may result in a network or TV station removing their channel from your lineup. Networks hope that this will get you to pressure us to return programming at any cost, which usually means paying them more. This is why we fight for you - to minimize the increased cost of programming that we are forced to pass along to our customers.

Blackouts Help Stations Increase Fees

TV Stations use blackouts to pressure providers to accept their demands for higher fees to increase their revenue.

Recent Disputes

Networks black out their signals to try to get you to switch providers to pressure us to agree to their demands, and they do this to every TV provider; in 2010, there were 8 blackouts and that number jumped to over 145 in 2022*. Even on those rare occasions when Networks pull their signal, we’re on your side to get them back quickly at a fair price, so the networks are usually dark for only a short period of time.

Here are some examples of recent disputes:

*Includes digital subchannels. Source: S&P Global

Nexstar vs. Hawaiian Telecom

July, 2023

Hawaiian Telecom customers lost their local stations when Nexstar pulled the signal because HT wouldn’t agree to a 70% rate increase.

Nexstar vs. DISH

January, 2023

Nexstar pulled the signals to over 30 stations when DISH rejected their “unreasonable” fees, given that their viewership had “significantly declined”.

Nexstar vs. DIRECTV

July, 2023

Nexstar cut the signal to 200 stations in 100 cities after DIRECTV refused to pay more than double the fee. The stations were dark for over 2 months.

TEGNA vs. Verizon FiOS

January, 2022

TEGNA pulled 4 stations when Verizon wouldn’t agree to, “an unacceptable rate increase of almost 50%.”

Disney vs. Spectrum

September, 2023

Disney removed 27 networks 15 million Spectrum customers for about two weeks because Disney was demanding terms that weren’t, “fair to Spectrum’s customers.”

MLB Network vs YouTube TV

February, 2023

MLB Network cut the signal to YouTube TV when they wouldn’t agree to an agreement that wasn’t fair to their customers.

Imagicomm vs. Comcast

September, 2023

Comcast customers in two cities lost their stations for five weeks because Imagicomm was asking for huge fee hikes.

Hearst vs. DISH

September, 2023

DISH customers lost 37 Hearst stations for over two months because DISH wouldn’t agree to significantly, "higher rates for the same entertainment and news.”

Powerful Programmers

The television landscape is changing faster than ever, and it's all about power. Media giants, who already control over 90% of available networks and TV stations, are scaling up their businesses through acquisitions and mergers. They use their size and power to demand more money, with little regard to how it impacts your wallet.

In recent years, there have been many huge mega-media mergers: Gray Television purchased Meredith Broadcasting for $2.3 billion. Disney bought Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and 20th Century Fox and launched Disney+. AT&T acquired TimeWarner to create WarnerMedia, only to spin it off and merge with Discovery who had recently acquired Scripps Networks. Sinclair Broadcasting purchased 21 regional sports networks from FOX for $10 billion. Amazon announced the purchase of MGM Studios, home of James Bond.

All these multi-billion-dollar deals are aimed at better competing with the Netflixes of the world and squeezing more money out of video providers. We negotiate with these big corporations to make sure you get all the channels you want at a fair price.

Media Giants Own Most TV Networks

A few media giants own most of the networks and use their size to demand higher fees and network carriage.

Broadcast retransmission fees

Just like cable networks, broadcast TV stations want their cut of your monthly bill. They do this by charging retransmission fees. These fees are made possible by a 1992 federal law that requires cable operators and other providers to obtain permission to carry their stations. Broadcasters set the rate for these fees and the only control we have is to work hard to negotiate the best deal that we can on your behalf.

Broadcast stations make money by charging for ads and charging us to carry their programming. According to industry analyst Kagan, TV station advertising revenue has declined for the last three years. Broadcasters seem to be making up for this shortfall by placing more emphasis on retransmission fees paid by us and other TV providers.

The negotiations can get even more complicated. Station owners can ask for other compensation in addition to retrans fees, such as carriage of an additional channels. These can range from additional digital broadcast stations to popular cable networks they might own to seldom-watched niche networks you may never have heard of.

Monthly Retrans Fees per Customer

Skyrocketing Retransmission Fees

A gallon of milk cost approximately $3.25 in 2010. Today, it costs around $3.80, an average annual increase of 1.4% from 2010 to 2022. During that same period, local TV station fees increased EVERY year by an average of 24%.*

If a gallon of milk increased at that same rate, it would cost $42.38 today.

$3.25 2010
$42.38 2022

*AmericanTelevisionAlliance © 2022


TV rights for sports is the highest it's ever been because broadcast and cable networks continue to escalate what they pay for sports TV rights. Both cable and broadcast networks pay billions of dollars a year to bring you live games. This forces them to charge TV providers higher fees, which has a significant impact on your monthly bill.

TV providers have tried for years to minimize out-of-control sports programming costs. Most broadcast stations and cable networks that carry sports require that we offer their channels in our most popular levels of service, forcing almost everyone to pay for sports programming - whether they watch it or not.

We want you to have access to the best programming available, including sports. That's why we negotiate hard with stations and programmers to keep costs down, but these large increases in fees are unsustainable for our customers and our business.

Streaming services

In the beginning, streaming services promised cheap, innovative alternative to your local television provider. That promise did not last long. Streamers ran into the same price gouging by programmers that we have faced for years. Now those services are beginning to look a lot more like the traditional cable services they promised to replace…with prices to match.

The common denominator of both streaming companies and traditional TV providers like us, is the fact that we aren't really fighting with each other to keep prices down. We're fighting with content providers like NBCUniversal, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, ViacomCBS and Fox Corporation, which license out the rights for us to offer their channels. We all want to keep prices low, but these mega-media giants refuse to license their content reasonably.

The price, value, and quality that these streamers offer is very different from one service to another. Many brag about the raw number of channels you'll get but not all channels are created equal.

After roping in Customers, streaming services are hiking their prices

The cost of streaming television shows and movies, once seen as a much cheaper alternative to owning a cable box, is rising. Given the diversity of content available for streaming, consumers are subscribing to multiple platforms to keep up with their favorite shows, often paying more than one monthly streaming bill.



Why do Networks take their signals away from me?

When blackouts happen, it’s because we wouldn’t agree to the Network’s demands. The Networks know they can pass costs onto cable companies like us and ultimately to you. If we can’t agree, THEY may choose to take the channel off of your lineup.

What is “Retransmission Consent”?

It’s a law that requires all TV providers to obtain permission to carry local stations for a fee. If an agreement can’t be reached, the local stations can pull their signal from you.

Can I still watch shows if the Network blacks out their signal?

Every local station is available free over-the-air. Smart TVs can tune directly to these signals when paired with an inexpensive antenna. Most stations also stream their local newscasts on their sites. And if they are affiliated with a major Network such as ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC, most series are available free online, often with little delay. We will provide you with other ways to watch your favorite shows if there’s a blackout. And most shows will be available to catch up OnDemand once the Network has been returned to your lineup.

Should I just switch to another provider?

We’d like you to stay because most blackouts don't last long. Also, blackouts affect every provider. In 2021, there were more than 100 stations that pulled their signal from customers, so even if you switch you’ll likely still face blackouts. (Source: ATVA.com)


In the News

FCC Report Shows Consumers Are Paying 20%+ Increase in Annual Retransmission Consent Fees

The latest FCC report has found that the average subscriber pays more than $200 per year for so-called ‘free’ broadcast television, representing an increase of more than 20% over the previous year.

Read more

Cutting the cord was supposed to be our cheap future — then came the price hikes

Looking back at the price changes over the last five years, you can see increases of up to 82% from the likes of YouTube TV, but also 60% from Sling and 41% from Netflix. And all but three of the below services have avoided raising rates faster than the 21.5% rate of inflation from 2018 to 2023.

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Nexstar Media Group Incites Largest Blackout in Media History, Impacting Local Television Access for 68% of U.S. Households

Already the largest U.S. local TV broadcaster, Nexstar uses sham ‘sidecars’ to further evade television ownership rules, colluding with Mission and White Knight, and overcharging consumers. 

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American Television Alliance Supports DIRECTV’s Efforts To Combat Retransmission Consent Abuses That Harm Consumers

Today, the American Television Alliance (ATVA) affirmed its support for efforts to combat abuse by big broadcast companies who fix and raise retransmission consent rates, leaving American consumers to potentially foot billions of dollars in unwarranted fees.

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Charter Threatens to ‘Move On’ From Disney Amid Carriage Dispute

On Thursday, Disney removed all of its networks from Spectrum — including ESPN, FX, Disney Channel and ABC stations – leaving customers in the dark after the two parties failed to reach a deal.

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DIRECTV sues Nexstar for price fixing on broadcast fees

Satellite television provider DIRECTV accused Nexstar Media Group, the nation’s largest operator of local TV channels, of fixing prices with competitors, causing transmission fees to spike and forcing providers to raise bills for customers.

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Why Multichannel Operators Don’t Offer Packages Of Only The Channels You Want

The reason so many channels are forced on consumers is simple—most cable networks are owned by the major media conglomerates who force cable and satellite operators to take their whole bundle of channels or get none at all. Anyone who wants to carry ESPN, for instance, must carry a broad swath of channels such as ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU and more obscure channels like Disney Junior, FreeForm and Nat Geo WILD.

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What is a carriage dispute and why does YouTube TV keep getting embroiled in them?

Last year there we a number of carriage disputes between YouTube TV and several broadcasters. In September, the Google-owned streaming platform brawled with NBCUniversal, and it found itself in a spat with Disney a few month later. YouTube TV isn't the platform to butt heads with broadcasters. Roku, DirecTV, and just about every legacy cable company have found themselves in similar predicaments.

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Dish Network, Tegna dispute drops 64 TV stations from satellite service

A dispute between satellite TV provider Dish and media company Tegna has resulted in the removal of TV stations in more than 50 U.S. markets. Tegna had begun alerting Dish subscribers earlier in the week they could lose access to local stations at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday because the two companies could not reach a new carriage agreement for its station.

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Fox Networks Group Threatens to Pull 26 Local Stations in 16 Major Media Markets from DIRECTV Customers

Fox Networks Group threatened to black out 26 local broadcast stations across 16 major media markets as a bargaining ploy to increase its retransmission consent rates and other licensing fees.

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