TV Answer Man, I saw your article on Charlie Ergen talking about Tegna, but what is Tegna saying? What is their position on this thing. You should have their positions published, too! — Gina, Alexandria, Virginia.
Gina, the Dish-Tegna carriage dispute, which has left Dish without Tegna’s 64 network affiliates, is now officially one month old with no end in sight. Last week, the TV Answer Man published an article detailing Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen’s new comments on the fee fight, including his assessment that the two sides are far apart and that the current negotiations are not “serious.”
Dish last month filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that charges Tegna with negotiating in ‘bad faith. And Friday, Tegna responded with its own complaint to the FCC that alleges that Dish is the one negotiating in bad faith. (The TV Answer Man did publish an article on the Tegna complaint, which can read here. )
What else is Tegna saying?
Tegna CEO Dave Lougee was asked about the Dish battle last week during an analyst call following the release of his company’s third quarter report. Here’s what he had to say, as notated by the web site, Seeking Alpha.
“I’m not obviously going to comment on a negotiation or speak to the motivation of the other party at a negotiation,” the Tegna chief stated. “Other than I would say, blackouts with DISH unfortunately are not uncommon as I think is very well known, right? They’ve currently got 200 stations blacked out in the last year over time. So it’s not as rare as potentially it should be. But otherwise we’re not going to comment on a negotiation.”
(Lougee was referring to a TV Answer Man article last year that reported that, at one point, Dish was missing 236 channels due to multiple, ongoing carriage disputes. The number is considerably less now since Dish has settled several of those blackouts.)
The Tegna chief did not offer any guidance on when he believes this dispute will end, or when (or if) the FCC will act on the two complaints.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this fight and report back here if anything changes, including any notable statements from Dish and Tegna.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann