Pai Contacts Lilly, Dish Over Caribbean TV Impasse

Stations in storm-affected areas restored to Dish following call, says FCC

A spokesperson for FCC chair Ajit Pai said Lilly Broadcasting TV signals have been restored to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Pai expressed his concern about a carriage impasse that took the broadcaster's systems off Dish Network.

Related > Dish: Lilly Stations off Satellite Service

Lilly TV stations in a number of markets were off Dish as of 7 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 30) after the previous contract expired. Dish pointed out that the impasse was happening while the two markets were recovering from the storms.

"Chairman Pai’s office was in touch with both Lilly Broadcasting and Dish yesterday (Oct. 1) and expressed its concern about the impact of this dispute on the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," said an FCC spokesman. " We are pleased that the parties agreed to restore carriage of One Caribbean Television last night following these phone calls."

Lilly stations blacked out on Dish in storm affected areas were WSEEP-TV Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (CBS); news and weather channel One Caribbean Television; and WENY-VI U.S. Virgin Islands (ABC). Elsewhere, Lilly's WSEE-TV Erie, N.Y. (ABC); KITV-TV Honolulu (ABC); and KITV2-TV Honolulu (MeTV) were also off Dish.

Related: No Breaks for Ergen as Dish Falls {pdimg}

Dish Network EVP/general counsel R. Stanton Dodge used the impasse to argue for the FCC getting involved.

“Lilly’s decision to cut ties with Dish customers is a prime example of why Washington needs to stand up for consumers and end local channel blackouts,” he said.

Dish has advocated for making blackouts a violation of FCC rules requiring parties to negotiate in good faith.