Dish Network and Media General agreed to put their retransmission consent dispute on hold for a limited time in specific markets so subscribers to the satellite TV service can receive news and information concerning Tropical Storm Karen.
The storm is currently approaching the Gulf Coast and is expected to make landfall on Saturday or Sunday. According to reports, Karen is currently packing winds of up to 50 mph and heavy rains that could cause flooding, but at the moment officials are doubtful it will reach hurricane status.
In a statement, Media General CEO George Mahoney said the company has asked Dish to restore its signal in markets in Mississippi and Alabama as the storm approaches.
“Providing our viewers with important weather and safety information during storms is an integral part of our responsibility to our local communities,” Mahoney said in the statement. “We will continue to do everything we can to reach a fair resolution with Dish on our retransmission consent agreement that has expired and have our programming permanently restored to the Dish satellite system as soon as possible. We look forward to continuing the conversation with Dish.”
Dish said it reached out to Media General Friday morning as the storm approached to see if the stations could be restored. The satellite giant had said that it had not been in contact with the broadcaster since its channels went dark on Sept. 30.
“We are pleased Media General broke its silence and agreed with our request to serve viewers,” Dish executive vice president Dave Shull said in a statement. “While this permission is limited to four markets for two days, this is a productive outcome for viewers who rely on their local news the most.”
Media General said the following stations would be available to Dish customers from 6 a.m. on Oct. 5 until 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 7: WJTV, Jackson, Miss.; WHLT, Hattiesburg, Miss.; WKRG, Mobile, Ala.; and WVTM, Birmingham, Ala.
About 18 Media General stations went dark to Dish subscribers on Sept. 30.