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DISH, Texas May Once Again Become Clark, Texas

The New York Times today has an interesting postcard of a story about DISH, Texas, the small Denton County community that changed its name to DISH either years ago in exchange for some free satellite service. Thing is, people might want to switch the name back to Clark when the deal expires in 2015.

But the renaming of Dish — its official name became DISH, to match the company’s all-caps style — did not turn the town into a household name, like Truth or Consequences, N.M., which named itself after the radio quiz show in 1950. Some residents have wondered how they have benefited from the 10-year arrangement.

“It’s not a very publicized item,” said Wester Draper, 34, who is one of the town council’s two members. “You tell people you live in Dish, Texas, and they’re like, ‘Where’s Dish, Texas?’ Initially trying to get the service turned on, if you call them up and tell them you live in Dish and you get free TV, they don’t believe you, the customer service agents.”

Others complained that the signs trumpeting free satellite TV need an asterisk: While basic service is free, residents have to pay for HBO and other premium channels, as well as any additional equipment they might want. Joe Ratliff, 83, said his bill is about $36 per month. Mr. Draper pays $25. Some residents have not bothered to sign up, because they were not interested or were customers of DirecTV.

Some town commissioners have already expressed support for changing the name back to Clark, but one resident has another idea. “I wished Jack Daniel’s would have looked us up,” said Buddy Kinney.