The fee fight between Dish and Hearst Television enters its 10th day today with both companies still blaming the other for the dispute.
On March 3, Dish lost 33 Hearst-owned local stations in 28 markets when the companies could not reach a new carriage pact.
The stations include the ABC affiliate in Boston, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans and the NBC station in Baltimore, among many others. (The old pact between the two sides expired on March 1, but Hearst and Dish agreed to a 48-hour extension, which expired on March 3.).
Since the initial dispute, Hearst has maintained that Dish has purposely dragged its feet in the talks in an attempt to gain leverage, a charge that other broadcasters have made in carriage disputes with the satcaster.
“We recognize that viewers are upset, and we share your frustration. DISH seems to be employing their standard “playbook”—using unfair tactics to hold subscribers hostage, while making unreasonable demands on yet another local broadcast station,” the Hearst stations say in a notice posted at their web sites.
However, Dish last week issued a video from Warren Schlichting, the company’s executive vice president for programming, which charged that Hearst won’t even respond to its latest offer.
— Phillip Swann