Media General Completes Young Deal

Could Impact Dish Carriage Stalemate

Media General completed its merger with New Young Broadcasting Holding on Nov, 12, a deal that increased the number of its owned and operated stations to 31, and could possibly be a catalyst in resolving a months-long carriage dispute with Dish Network.

Media General’s 18 stations in 17 markets went dark to Dish subscribers on Oct. 1  after the two parties could not reach a retransmission consent agreement. Dish already had an existing retrans agreement with Young’s 12 broadcast stations and had offered to carry the former Media General stations under the Young deal. Media General declined that offer.

Dish had tried to block the merger to force Media General’s hand, but the Federal Communications Commission denied Dish’s request and approved the deal on Nov. 8.

A Media General spokeswoman said the former Young stations were still available to Dish customers and the combined company was hopeful that a new deal could be reached.

In response to a reporter’s question on Dish’s conference call with analysts, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen appeared hopeful that the Young merger would help resolve the dispute.  

“We have an agreement with Young today, so the merger may end up with some opportunity on our side to get that settled,” Ergen said. “Media General is looking out for their shareholders, we’re looking out for our shareholders and you have to have discussions to reach a common ground. If not, we won’t carry their product.”