Unhinged Alaska: DISH doldrums

A few weeks ago my buddy Turk called and was so fired up I could feel the plastic in my phone starting to soften from the heat of his tirade.

He has been a DISH satellite user for years and was apoplectic that they had suddenly removed the FOX business and news channels over some contract dispute.

DISH, of course, was claiming that is was the E-Vile FOX Empire that had withheld the programming.

I suggested that he chill because the satellite company had the same situation with the Turner Broadcasting programs awhile back, including CNN.  The two squabbling entities were able to settle their differences within a month while still accusing each other as being the despicable miscreants responsible for the outage.

Note: I must stop here and admit that I’m also a longtime DISH Network customer and somewhat PO’d at the situation albeit not for the same reasons as Turk. I’ll get to that a bit later.

Turk was amazed to hear that CNN had been dropped for awhile instead of totally shutdown. He thought the outfit’s ratings had shrunk so much that the only viable audience it had anymore were people stuck at airport boarding areas.

To say the least, he’s a bit on the conservative side.

Now don’t get him wrong. He’s not an anonymous ideologue who jumps into blogs or online comment sessions to undertake senseless insult hurling that solves zilch.

The guy has the highest respect for those who engage in an intelligent debate no matter what side they are on but once they step outside the ring of civility he gives them the same respect as the some party animal who is on his/her second keg while trying to elucidate the basic concept of polar and non polar molecules using an Etch-A-Sketch.

According to Turk, “That’s when they start coming across as clueless ^*&^%$+&s who don’t usually have anything better to do than sit in a dark corner of some basement playing Candy Crush while taking a myriad of questionable IQ tests trying to get a result higher than their pet gecko.”

I suggested that he could watch The Kelly File and others online along with the FOX business reports. (He enjoys some of Bill O’Reilly’s stuff but says he can’t afford a flat screen big enough to encompass the commentator’s ego.)

He admitted he hadn’t considered that option and chilled down to a subtle growl then hung up after mumbling something about the opposing companies being manipulative egotistical tools that were ripping off customers along with their advertisers.  

He had a good point. If I ran a business shelling out big bucks to sponsor certain programs and those shows were being blocked, I’d strap on some hip waders and threaten both sides with a kick in their financial assets that would make a drug free colonoscopy feel like sitting on a down pillow.

Anyway, things went back to being cool until all hell broke loose when the opposing factions upped the ante and the local FOX channel was thrown into the dispute Dumpster.

Not cool. We’re talking the loss of NFL playoff games, regular primetime and local Alaskan programs.

Now it was getting personal.

Just as I was girding my computer screen with battle-ready Post It notes containing sardonic comments and flat out grumping about the current status of the FOX signal, the doors blew off my gmail account.

People were seriously peeved about KTBY being removed from DISH including some FOX News haters who were not only football fans but super honked at not being able to catch the latest episode of Gotham and sundry other offerings.

I was relieved to see no one was blaming area vendors for the mess but there was some talk of switching services.

I must admit I was momentarily annoyed enough to consider that option until a brief stroll with the pooch patrol cooled my jets.

As we were strolling back to the cabin, I noticed the old TV aerial still attached atop our yard light.

We hadn’t used the antenna since the satellite receiver was installed years ago but, on a hunch, I hooked its cable up to our existing system and “POW!” after a couple of set adjustments the Anchorage FOX channel was rocking our flat screen.

As of this writing, the dispute goes on while those with DIRECTV, cable, and basic repeater access could care less. Hopefully things will be settled by the time the column is published.

As for this DISH dude, I learned that a little contemplation and a small step back in tech time can reap sweet rewards, especially when the catalyst of a pending kickoff is involved.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com unless there are footballs flying.

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