Dish’s standoff with Tegna’s 64 local network affiliates today enters its 12th day with no sign of a settlement in sight. In fact, the satcaster today filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Tegna, charging the broadcaster with negotiating in ‘bad faith.’
“Tegna turned its back on its public interest obligation and failed to engage in good faith retransmission consent negotiations with DISH,” Andy LeCuyer, Dish’s senior vice president of programming said in a statement. “Tegna’s demands were both unreasonable and inconsistent. This behavior negatively impacts DISH subscribers, and we expect Tegna’s bad behavior to only get worse as the programmer looks to sell its stations to the highest bidder. As a result, we have filed a formal complaint with the FCC to address Tegna’s blatant disregard of the Commission’s rules.”
Tegna has yet to respond to the complaint, but it’s easy to guess that it will strongly disagree with Dish’s characterization of its negotiating stance. The broadcaster itself has inferred that Dish triggered the blackout to improve its leverage in the negotiations.
See update from Tegna below
The Tegna stations are in such large markets as Washington, D.C., San Diego, Denver, Phoenix, Tampa, New Orleans, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, St. Louis as well as mid-size areas such as Austin, Texas, San Angelo, Texas, Macon, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, among others. (To see a complete list of the Tegna stations, click here. )
While it’s unclear how the FCC will respond to Dish’s complaint, what’s crystal clear is that viewers who subscribe to Tegna’s stations via Dish have run out of patience. And football fans, some of whom were unable to watch their second Sunday afternoon of games yesterday, are particularly incensed at both companies for failing to resolve this dispute. Hundreds of angry Dish customers stormed the social media sites, and this site, yesterday to voice their complaints.
“Missed the Cowboys game today! Thanks for nothing @kytxcbs19 (a Tegna network affiliate) and @dish . Work out your crap and do what’s best for your customers! This is happening way too often!” tweeted Wendy Steele.
But it’s not just the loss of the NFL that has Dish/Tegna customers hopping mad now.
“I, personally, am sick and tired of having become an unwilling pawn in the rebroadcast right fight. I live in a rural area outside reception coverage of any broadcast signal. I have “broadband” service, but not fast enough to reliably stream any video,” Wally Waldo wrote yesterday in the TV Answer Man readers forum. “Football is my fall time joy. I wish I had other options, but satellite is my only choice, and prefer Dish equipment over DirecTV. One or both always have removed channels, so the major difference is usability. As much as I abhor government interference, I think this is something that warrants some sort of federal oversight. I feel comfortable enough in the knowledge this will not be read by anyone, but if you have, thank you for reading my rant. I feel better, now.”
No one can watch WFAA on Dish network because of greedy corporations like Tegna and greedy station managers like WFAA'S Carolyn Mungo 💲💲💲💲💲💲💲
— dudelove1129 (@dudelove1129) October 18, 2021
— Kaylyn Pierro (@KaylynPierro) October 18, 2021
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this carriage dispute and report back here if anything significant changes.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
Update: Tegna issued a long statement this afternoon on the Dish FCC complaint:
“DISH’s complaint is utterly baseless and without merit. TEGNA welcomes a chance for the FCC to review DISH’s conduct over the course of this negotiation. Perhaps a close examination of DISH’s conduct will cause them to come to the table to negotiate free from their consistently unproductive tactics and public misrepresentations.
The real issue at hand is the need for DISH to stop short-changing their customers by serially dropping valued stations and instead reach fair, market-based deals with programmers like TEGNA.
The unfortunate reality is that DISH dropped more than 230 channels last year alone and is now repeating that pattern by refusing to reach an agreement with TEGNA, depriving its customers nationwide of some of the most valued programming on TV. Through it all, TEGNA has been steadfast in insisting that all we want is to reach a fair deal, and we have worked constructively to achieve that goal by offering DISH terms and conditions that reflect the marketplace and have served as the foundation for deals we have reached with other cable and satellite providers.
TEGNA made a comprehensive proposal to DISH months ago and has updated its proposal multiple times, including a reduction in rates. DISH has refused to counter – it has not proposed rates in more than three weeks.
Rather than engage in transparent PR stunts, DISH should return to the negotiating table in a serious fashion and get a deal done before their subscribers are forced to endure yet another week without their favorite shows, valued local news, as well as marquee college football and NFL matchups.”
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— Phillip Swann