EchoStar Plans Local-Station Additions


EchoStar Communications Corp. announced late Thursday that it would add new
local channels Jan. 1 in the 36 markets where it already offers
broadcast-network packages.

In a press release, the company said it would add local United Paramount
Network, The WB Television Network and PBS affiliates, plus popular independent

The company plans to post the new channel lineup on its Web site before the
first of the year.

In most markets, Dish Network customers require slightly larger dishes to
pull in the local broadcast affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

In some markets, customers may also need additional satellite dishes to pull
in some of the new, less-requested local channels.

EchoStar plans to provide free second dishes and installation on request to
local-package subscribers in those markets.

DirecTV Inc. added to its local-channel lineup in 42 cities Thursday. DirecTV
customers in those markets do not need new equipment to access the new local
feeds because DirecTV launched a spot-beam satellite at its core orbital

EchoStar plans to launch a spot-beam satellite of its own within the first
quarter of 2002.

Both direct-broadcast satellite companies are adding local channels to comply
with a pending must-carry deadline.

The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association issued a
statement Thursday reiterating its position that must-carry is

'Nonetheless, we are pleased that both EchoStar and DirecTV have announced
that they will be able to comply with the rules by the Jan. 1, 2002, deadline,'
SBCA president Andy Wright said in a prepared statement.