Dish last night lost 10 local channels due to a fee fight with their owner, Lilly Broadcasting.

The stations include three local channels in hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, a fact that Dish noted bitterly in a press release.

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“These stations are among the few broadcast sources that offer national news and information from the continental U.S. to DISH customers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” the press release stated. “DISH offered a short-term contract extension to Lilly that would include a retroactive true-up when new rates are agreed upon, and would preserve the ability of DISH customers to access Lilly’s stations while negotiations continued. The true-up would ensure that Lilly is made whole at the new rates for the period of any contract extension.”

By law, a pay TV provider can not carry a local station’s signal without its permission. The carriage pact between Dish and Lilly expired last night so Lilly pulled its signals from the satcaster when they could not agree on a new one.

The two companies are fighting over how much Dish should pay to carry the local stations.

Lilly says at its station web sites that Dish is refusing to pay the fair market value for its signals.

“The Lilly Broadcasting negotiating team has been ready and available around-the-clock to engage in substantive negotiations with DISH—in hopes of concluding a fair agreement that reflects the current marketplace,” Lilly states. “In the end, DISH’s tactics will hurt their subscribers and you—our viewers. DISH is making subscribers pay for programming they are not receiving. That just isn’t fair.”

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The stations affected by the dispute are:

  • One Caribbean Television (Puerto Rico)
  • WSEEP-TV (CBS, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • WENY-VI (ABC, U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • WENY-TV (ABC, Elmira)
  • WENYD-TV (CBS, Elmira)
  • WBEP-TV (CW, Erie)
  • WICU-TV (NBC, Erie)
  • WSEE-TV (CBS, Erie)
  • KITV-TV (ABC, Honolulu)
  • KITV2-TV (MeTV, Honolulu)

    — Phillip Swann