I have had a longstanding correspondence with Ergen himself on the poor quality of KCET.
The first letter was forwarded to vice presidents and then to field engineers and I had people on the phone within 2 hours! I was very impressed.
The technical problem was that the signal was being taken off-air, then uplinked. KCET, like most primary PBS stations in the US, does not have a retransmission agreement with Dish. Dish is allowed by law to take the NTSC signal off air but not the digital signal, nor does it have a direct fiber feed from the station to the POP.
Dish arranged for an improved temporary feed of some sort after that first letter, and it looked great for a month or so. The engineer warned me it was a temporary patch and it would go away, but said some sortof agreement between Dish and the PBS stations was near.
Since then I have read Ergen refuses to pay for PBS signals. We only get a good feed for the rimshot, secondary affiliates like KOCE and KVCR.
As a result, we not only do not get a HDTV PBS primary affiliate, we get a terrible analog signal.
It is incredible what we are missing. KCET-HD has pictures that are outstanding. The local cable KCET not only blows away Dish's poor analog pictures, it blows away the HD signals on Dish.
As for politics, I cannot help but think that politics are what are behind Ergen's refusal to pay for PBS like cable and DirectTV do.
I am very, very disappointed with Dish. For the amount of money he pays for channels I don't watch, the pittance asked for by PBS affiliates should be no obstacle. I mean, the NFL network as basic? Come on.