Stations May Go Dark Tonight in 45 Markets in Retransmission Dispute

Aug 14, 2012  •  Post A Comment

In the wake of a series of disputes over retransmission fees that have produced blackouts on Dish Network, the satellite provider is headed for another showdown in another dispute, Deadline.com reports.

An impending blackout tonight involving Sinclair stations could affect Dish subscribers in 45 markets, the story reports. The wide-ranging blackout could affect 20 Fox affiliates, 18 MyTV stations, 11 ABC affils, 14 CW stations, nine CBS affiliates, one NBC station and one Azteca station.

Said Dish Senior VP Dave Shull: “We carry more than 1,800 local broadcast stations nationwide. Sinclair is asking for more than any other station anywhere in the country. This goes beyond pure corporate greed — it’s profoundly insensitive to the needs of the public.”

The report notes: “Sinclair says that although it is still negotiating with Dish, there’s ‘significant doubt’ as to whether they can reach an agreement. Dish accounts for about 3.6M of the 27.2M homes that Sinclair reaches, according to SNL Kagan data.”

While one of Dish’s most recent spats with a broadcaster involved tiny Hoak Media, the report notes that all major broadcasters are up in arms about Dish’s Hopper DVR, which enables automatic skipping of commercials on programming recorded from network affiliates.

Another recent Dish confrontation led to the service’s dropping all AMC Networks cable channels.

The report adds: “Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has vigorously attacked broadcasters’ retransmission demands, calling them a ‘government-sponsored monopoly.’”


  1. Excuse me. The stations don’t go dark. Dish network viewers go dark who subscribe to those stations. That is what they get for continuing to subscribe to a substandard system of delivery managed by people who are out of control. Whether you like comercials or not the Hopper is a total affront to the television industry and the advertising industry. The fact that they promote it is amazing and they deserve all of the issues that they are currently dealing with.

  2. I am a relatively new subscriber to Dish, it has its drawbacks, I resent losing the AMC channels and I also don’t like the fact that I no longer get the alternative digital local channels. Still its cheaper than cable..
    I happen to enjoy the Hopper, it sometimes does what I do when I watch a recorded show, but its doesn’t do the commercial skip on all shows. I don’t think its a tech that will go away..

  3. Wonder how many of the stockholders were consulted. Loss of overnight revenue may be small, but wall street will not take well to this. If TV companies cannot keep up with technology, let the industry fail. They make some monies selling “discount tickets” at 50% off. That was a good way to adjust. It’s time to think outside of the “idiot-box” and come up with new ways of income, if technology continues to be for the consumer. At least radio has “Blinks” that fool the listener to hear spots, before they change the station. Maybe TV needs the old fashioned way of spots within the show, live or a quick “Blink” with a sponsor. Go back to the 50’s to fool the hopper. It’s shown it works in previous tests.
    Sinclair… if you refuse to catch up with the times, it’s not the customer’s fault. As someone who was part of the DTV testing, I would have thought you’d catch up and have forethought about this entire issue… not leave customers in the “dark.” Your monetary loss of a night may be worth it. However, your lack of forethought for Wall Street and investors will catch up with you. Mark my words. I’m ALWAYS right. Shame on you Sinclair!

  4. Although I know this happens with a lot of big TV companies, I am sooooo glad I am not in a Sinclair market. They are one of the biggest egotistical companies in the TV biz.

  5. I dislike program interruptions as much as anyone else but the ‘free’ TV model depends heavily on advertising to keep it ‘free’. The options are a TV tax like Britain, fundraising drives like PBS or make everything pay per view. Go ahead and keep touting the great tech for skipping ads – it just brings us one step closer to on-screen ads during the show, expanding the concept currently used mostly for network promos. I can hear the screaming now….

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