Earlier this week, we shared a letter from reader Dale, who was sad that Dish Network didn’t provide him with his actual local broadcast stations, instead giving him the stations from a larger city that’s in his same state but farther away. “It’s the map,” customer service representatives insisted. Fortunately, many of our readers know more about Dish Network service than its own employees do, and wrote in to help straighten us–and Dale–out.
In Dale’s case, he lives in the city of Bemidji, Minnesota, which is actually closer to Fargo, North Dakota than it is to Minneapolis. But the Federal Communications Commission has divided the country up into media markets more or less geographically. This made sense when a TV station’s reach was defined by how far its actual signal could reach. That’s not the case anymore. Dale lives in Beltrami County, waaaay up at the top edge of this map of the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market.
The one TV channel based in that county, KAWE, is a PBS member station.
Some counties in Minnesota are part of the Fargo media market. Where Dale lives isn’t one of them.
The FCC’s own data show that, at least as of 2006, the most-watched TV stations in Dale’s county are mostly based in Duluth, Minnesota. That’s closer to Dale than Minneapolis, but Duluth is also part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market.
KCCW-TV, 12, Walker, MN (formerly KNMT)
KDLH, 3, Duluth, MN (formerly KDAL)
KBJR-TV, 6, Duluth, MN (formerly WDSM)
KVLY-TV, 11, Fargo, ND (formerly KTHI)
The good news, at least, is that Dish has worked things out with Gannett, owner of Dale’s local NBC affiiate, and his access to that channel will remain.
Thanks to Dustin and to Kyle, who wrote in to straighten us out. They recommend these sites unofficial sites full of people who know what’s going on, if you’re a Dish customer in need of help.