Dish today lost four local stations in four markets due to a fee fight with their owner, the Lockwood Broadcast Group.
The stations are: KAKE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas; WHDF-TV, the CW affiliate in Florence, Alabama; WCWG-TV, the CW station in Lexington, North Carolina; and KTEN-TV, the NBC affiliate in Ada, Oklahoma (the station also offers feeds of ABC and the CW in the Ada area).
The Lockwood-owned stations posted a notice at their web sites alerting Dish viewers of the blackout. The companies are battling over how much Dish should pay to carry Lockwood’s stations.
“DISH Network and Lockwood Broadcasting, Inc..have reached an impasse in negotiating a renewal of the agreement providing for carriage of (the stations)…on DISH Network’s satellite system,” the notice states. “As a result, (the stations are) no longer being carried by DISH. Our company is a small, family-owned broadcaster, one of the few still left in America. DISH Network is a multi-billion dollar company that reported revenue of $3.6 billion in just the third quarter of 2017 We think you can see where this is going.”
Lockwood also claimed it offered Dish an opportunity to keep the channels on the air while negotiations continued, but that the satcaster rejected the proposal.
At its web site, DishPromise.com, which offers updates on channel disputes, the satcaster issued the following statement:
“We are currently experiencing a dispute with Lockwood Broadcasting and your programming is impacted by these negotiations. Lockwood Broadcasting is demanding an unreasonable rate increase, which is more than two times what we currently pay for their channels. DISH offered to match the rates paid by all other pay-TV providers; Lockwood Broadcasting refused this offer. The fact is, only Lockwood Broadcasting can choose to remove their content from DISH customers. DISH offered to extend the contract so viewers would not be impacted but Lockwood Broadcasting refused.”
— Phillip Swann