Welcome to Dish, Texas

By Linda Moss
MultiChannel News

11/16/2005 4:41:00 PM


The tiny town of Clark, Texas -- population 125 -- has taken up 
EchoStar Communications Corp. on its offer, officials said Wednesday.

The hamlet will legally change its name to "Dish" in exchange for 
each of its 55 households receiving 10 years of free basic 
programming from Dish Network, EchoStar's direct-broadcast satellite 
service. The offer, which kicks off Wednesday includes equipment such 
as a digital-video-recorder receiver, and installation.

Clark, incorporated as a town in 2000, is located 25 miles north of 
Fort Worth, Texas. The Clark Town Commission, which has two members, 
voted to rename the town Dish Tuesday night at a crowded town meeting.

Dish Mayor Bill Merritt said any new residents coming to live in the 
city will also get the free Dish Network service, and he hopes the 
offer will help to attract new residents during the next decade.

"We really look at this as sort of a rebirth for our community and 
something we hope we can put out there to attract new businesses, new 
people and really put our name on the map and get folks get to know 
what Dish, Texas, is," Merritt, a real estate developer, said.

The town, which isn't serviced by cable, is in a rural agricultural 
and ranching area. Dish -- which has two stop signs but no stop 
lights -- also serves as a bedroom community for commuters who work in Dallas

Under terms of its agreement, Dish Network has agreed to provide 
every household within the city limits with its "America's Top 60" 
programming package for 10 years, along with free standard 
installation and a free DVR receiver.

In exchange, the town will legally change its name and change all of 
its signage -- about one-dozen signs -- to reflect the new moniker.

EchoStar believes Dish's resident will become "evangelists" for 
satellite TV, according to president Michael Neuman. He noted that 
since Merritt was elected six months ago, he has reduced local taxes by 34%.

Since Dish Network stresses many channel for low prices, "it seemed 
like a great spiritual fit between own company and the town of 
Clark," Neuman said. "This becomes, in some respects, our galactic 

Dish Network was in negotiations with several cities about its offer, 
and it ultimately came down to Clark, which was named after the 
town's founder, and one other city, according to Neuman.

Dish Network will unveil the "Dish City Makeover" as part of a 
rebranding effort and a new ad campaign with the tag line, "Better TV for All."

Dish Network officials said the cost of its service over 10 years per 
home is about $4,500.

Merritt said a Clark resident told him about Dish Network's offer in 
August, and he followed up and contacted the company about it.

George Antunes                    Voice (713) 743-3923
Associate Professor               Fax   (713) 743-3927
Political Science                    Internet: antunes at uh dot edu
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3011          

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