Press release from Tribune Media Co., June 15, 2016:
Tribune Broadcasting today said Dish Network has been totally unresponsive in negotiating a new contract between the two companies, even as millions of Dish subscribers across the country go without access to Tribune’s 42 local stations and cable network WGN America.
“We delivered another proposal to Dish at 11:50 p.m. ET, Sunday evening, and have heard nothing about it from Dish,” said Gary Weitman, Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations for Tribune Media. “It has been more than 48 hours and we’ve had zero response to it, and as a result of Dish’s unresponsiveness, their subscribers suffer the consequences — missing important local news and entertainment programming as well as one-of-a-kind live sporting events like the NBA Finals and The U.S. Golf tournament. We stand ready to negotiate, but we can’t do so alone.”
Tens of thousands of Dish subscribers will lose access to this afternoon’s baseball game between the Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals on WGN-TV. Tomorrow night, Dish subscribers in Tribune’s ABC-affiliated markets will lose access to Game 6 of the NBA Finals and this weekend, more than 1.5 million Dish subscribers in Tribune’s FOX-affiliated markets will lose access to the network’s coverage of one of golf’s most prestigious events, The U.S. Open.
Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 owned or operated television stations, which reach more than 50 million households across the United States, were forced off Dish Network’s satellite distribution system at 7 p.m. ET, Sunday, when the contract between Tribune Broadcasting and Dish expired. At the same time, roughly 7 million Dish subscribers nationwide have also lost access to WGN America, Tribune’s basic entertainment cable network and the home of hit shows “Underground” and “Outsiders.”
“We repeatedly offered Dish an extension through the end of August, more than 60 days, for precisely this reason — they drag their feet in negotiations,” said Weitman. “Dish rejected every offer, which demonstrates a total disregard for their customers and our viewers. Perhaps that explains why they have lost almost 150,000 subscribers in the last year alone.”