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Dish Shows No Signs of Renewing With Tegna

Riley Van Steward

In a Q3 earnings call, Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said that the company is “far apart” from resolving its standoff with Tegna. There are “no serious negotiations,” Ergen continued.

Tegna wants a higher retransmission fee, but Dish executives essentially dared Tegna not to back down, noting that the NFL season is half over, and customers upset over the loss of their local stations have already found another way to watch. Dish seems content to let those customers walk, while Tegna’s greatest leverage (the NFL) dwindles week-by-week.

Dish previously filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, alleging that Tegna has been acting in bad faith in ongoing negotiations over a new carriage deal.

Tegna’s 64 broadcast stations across the nation have been off the air for Dish satellite subscribers since Oct. 6. The outage does not affect those with Sling TV, which only carry NBC and FOX owned-and-operated channels.

“Tegna turned its back on its public-interest obligation and failed to engage in good faith retransmission consent negotiations with Dish,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior VP of programming in a statement quoted by industry magazine Broadcasting + Cable. “Tegna’s demands were both unreasonable and inconsistent. This behavior negatively impacts Dish subscribers, and we expect Tegna’s bad behavior to only get worse as the programmer looks to sell its stations to the highest bidder. As a result, we have filed a formal complaint with the FCC to address Tegna’s blatant disregard of the Commission’s rules.”

A Tegna spokesperson sent a statement to The Streamable last month that said, in part, that Dish’s complaint is without merit. The statement pointed out that Dish has dropped more than 230 channels over the past year, and is repeating the same pattern by refusing to reach an agreement with Tegna.

“DISH’s complaint is utterly baseless and without merit. TEGNA welcomes a chance for the FCC to review DISH’s conduct over the course of this negotiation. Perhaps a close examination of DISH’s conduct will cause them to come to the table to negotiate free from their consistently unproductive tactics and public misrepresentations,” the statement said. “Through it all, TEGNA has been steadfast in insisting that all we want is to reach a fair deal, and we have worked constructively to achieve that goal by offering DISH terms and conditions that reflect the marketplace and have served as the foundation for deals we have reached with other cable and satellite providers.”

This is not Tegna’s first extended outage from one of the larger cable or satellite providers.

Last year, Tegna local affiliates were dropped from DirecTV and AT&T TV for about 18 days before the two sides were able to reach a deal. Dish Network is currently in a carriage dispute with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has been ongoing since Mid-August.

Sling TV

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Sling is great for the budget-conscious cord cutter who just wants to watch live TV, but doesn’t need the most comprehensive channel selection.

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