Dish to FCC: Force Talks With Media General - Multichannel

Dish to FCC: Force Talks With Media General

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The retransmission blackout of Media General stations on Dish Network reached new heights last week after the satellite-TV provider asked the Federal Communications Commission to force the broadcaster to negotiate.

Media General stations in 17 markets went dark to Dish subscribers on Oct. 1 after the parties could not reach a deal. Dish had asked the broadcaster to continue providing its signal to Dish subscribers during negotiations, as well as waiting until Media General’s planned merger with Young Broadcasting is completed. Dish has an existing retransmission agreement with Young.

In the FCC filing, Dish claims Media General did not respond to its last pre-blackout offer for 11 days and has yet to respond to Dish’s subsequent counter offer made about seven days ago.

Dish wants the FCC to act expeditiously to address Media General’s bad faith, push it back to the negotiating table and submit to mediation to get programming back to consumers.

Dish also said Media General is now requiring that Dish reopen its existing agreement with Young with a new entity — New Young Broadcasting Holdings — as a condition of Media General signing an agreement with the satellite giant.

According to Dish, Media General had offered the satellite-TV firm two options: Dissolve the existing Young agreement and pay a set price for the Young and Media General stations combined, or reach a deal for just the Media General stations at a price that was equal to the charges they would entail, including the Young stations.

Dish said in the filing that the latter option would represent a 500% increase to the fees they were previously paying to Media General. Dish wants the agency to compel third-party mediation.

In an email message, a Media General spokesperson said the broadcaster was reviewing the document and would respond appropriately.

Separately, Dish said last Friday it reached a long-term retransmission agreement with Gray TV for 43 stations in 30 markets. The stations include affiliates from the four major networks in cities such as Augusta, Ga.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Tallahassee, Fla.

TAKEAWAY

Dish Network wants the FCC to jump into a retrans-consent dispute regarding Media General TV stations in 17 markets.

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