Although this has not happened yet, it may in the future:
If you have Dish Satelllite Network, you may wake up one morning to find that one of your local TV stations is missing, and it just may be one that you trust and rely on for information. You may still be able to see those familiar faces on the local news, weather, and morning shows; and I will tell you how.
In the little Rock area, the missing channel will be the ABC affiliate, KATV channel 7. The problem is that Dish Network has not reached a retransmission agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of KATV and about 150 other stations around the country. Several of those stations' contracts with Dish have expired, and many more will expire soon. Dish has been known to suspend certain channels for up to a month, but you can still watch your favorite locally produced shows on the internet. Just visit your TV stations’ web page (KATV.COM in Little Rock) and find the link to their stream.
An even better solution would be to purchase a TV antenna to see all programs the station airs, not just locally produced shows. You should be able to receive all the local stations in beautiful high definition if you live close to the city and are not on the wrong side of a big hill.
I personally use an outside TV antenna, but you might get good reception with an indoor antenna. My advice is to stay away from antennas that are amplified or extremely small . A simple inexpensive antenna placed in the right place will likely work as well as a more expensive model. You will find that most big box stores sell antennas, although their in-store selection may be limited. Of course there is a large selection of antennas available online.
Hooking up your indoor antenna is a simple as connecting it to the round F connector on the back of the TV. Your satellite receiver is likely connected via HDMI, leaving the antenna connector open and available. If you have never connected an antenna to your TV, you will need to go to the menu , set reception to AIR, and scan for channels. After a few minutes you will be able to channel surf several free TV channels that are coming directly from the TV station through the air to your antenna. Although you will not receive any of the 24 hour news channels or cable channels via your antenna, you should find that you receive all the major networks and many independent channels running old TV shows and movies. Some of those channels are not broadcasting in HD. Maybe that is why Dish chooses not to include them? Instead of receiving only one PBS channel, you will probably receive three. So even when your local station returns to Dish, you still may want to punch the input button on your remote to switch to your antenna sometimes – especially when your Dish signal fades out due to rain. Local TV reception is seldom affected by weather, and that is a good thing when storms are moving in.
If you are not happy with reception using an indoor antenna, you could put a larger antenna in your attic or outside on a pole. Amplified antennas are seldom needed, and may even perform worse than those that are not amplified. The most important thing is to locate the antenna away from obstructions and if you live more than 20 or 30 miles from the city, it needs to be high in the air. You cannot control the terrain between you and the TV station, so if there are mountains, do not expect a miraculous reception of over 50 miles (or maybe less). Most people even with normal terrain should not believe a claim of 80 miles or more reception. Bigger and higher is better, although the larger antennas must be aimed more accurately. For more detailed info about TV antennas, search the internet. Good luck with your antenna project.
Written by Charles Young who happens to work at KATV in Little Rock, but is not writing on behalf of KATV.