Dish said today it could lose the signal for the local ABC affiliate (WLNE-TV) in Providence, Rhode Island due to a dispute with its owner over carriage fees.
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In a press release, the satcaster said the current agreement with Citadel Communications, which owns ABC6 in Providence, expires at 7 p.m ET on Friday. If a new pact is not signed by then, the ABC station could pull its signal.
Update: Dish and Citadel extend carriage pact to Wednesday, August 23, so no Dish blackout tomorrow for ABC6 in Providence.
“We’ve been actively working to negotiate an agreement that keeps ABC6 on Dish, but Citadel’s unbending attitude and outrageous demands show that this broadcaster has no intention of coming to a deal,” Dish said in the statement.
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Citadel has not issued a response as of early Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the negative rhetoric, however, Dish added in its release that “two companies had been making steady progress in their recent negotiations.”
Still, to illustrate its frustration with negotiating carriage deals with local broadcasters, Dish said it’s offering customers nationwide $10 off their monthly bill if they agree to drop their local channels from their programming package.
As part of the offer, Dish will install an antenna for free for any Providence customer with qualifying equipment and programming plans. The customer must also live in an area in Providence where he or she can receive the local channels with an antenna.
“Why pay for channels if you can get them with an antenna for free?” Dish asks in its statement.
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— Phillip Swann
How is that legal for Dish? From my understanding, there is an FCC rule that requires local broadcast stations to be included in the lowest available plan and is a prerequisite to have higher programming packages. I guess that rule only applies to traditional cable MSOs…