As the FCC moves to overhaul its retransmission consent rule, Saturday saw a major flareup of fighting as LIN Media-owned TV stations in 17 markets went dark on satcaster Dish Network.
The stations, most of them CBS, Fox and CW affiliates, went dark at midnight after the sides could not come to terms on a new retrans pact. The markets involved include Albuquerque, N.M., Austin, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y., Columbus and Dayton, Ohio.
The sides issued dueling statements but said negotiations would continue.
“We only want what is fair for our local stations, so that we can continue providing the premium news, sports, entertainment, and other local programming that is most important to viewers,” said LIN Media prexy and CEO Vincent L. Sadusky. “We will continue negotiating with DISH so we may reach an agreement.”
Dish accused LIN of being “greedy” and seeking far higher fees than its broadcast competitors.
“LIN Media is simply being greedy, insisting on a rate increase so immense that Dish Network and its customers couldn’t possibly absorb it. Their onerous demands and burdensome contract terms would result in payments of millions of dollars more each month, exceeding current market rates and demanding more money than we pay most of our popular national networks,” Dish said.
On Thursday, the FCC voted unanimously to begin a review of the nearly 20-year-old retrans rule that could lead to an overhaul that would restrict broadcasters’ ability to pull their stations if negotiations hit an impasse.