Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Dish tonight could lose 12 local channels in seven markets due to a programming dispute with their owner, Morgan Murphy Media.
Update, Saturday, January 30, 6 a.m. ET: Dish still has the Morgan Murphy stations, but their viewer warnings are still posted at their web sites. So it would appear the two sides have agreed to another short-term extension. The TV Answer Man will update this article if anything significant changes.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Morgan Murphy Media stations posted the same warning in the days leading up to Monday, January 24. However, before Dish’s pact to carry MMM stations expired last Monday night, the two sides negotiated a short-term agreement to allow negotiations for a long-term deal to continue.
But Morgan Murphy Media says the temporary agreement will expire tonight at 7 p.m. ET.
“The carriage agreement with DISH expires at (7 p.m. ET) Friday, January 28,” the stations’ notice states. “While we wish to avoid a disruption in your DISH service, without an agreement or extension, DISH could choose to remove our programming from its lineup.”
Since pay TV operators, such as Dish, cannot carry local stations without their permission, it’s actually Morgan Murphy Media that would remove the programming if Dish does not meet its fee demand. But that aside, the clock is again ticking on Dish-Morgan Murphy Media.
What is Dish saying? The satcaster’s web site, has posted this message:
“We are still working to reach a fair long-term deal to avoid any service interruption.”
The seven markets affected by the fee fight are Joplin, Missouri, Spokane, Washington, Yakima, Washington, Kennewick, Washington, Victoria, Texas, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Madison, Wisconsin.
You can be forgiven if this dispute sounds familiar for another reason. Dish is engaged in at least a dozen other carriage disputes that have left more than 100 channels missing in its lineup, including 64 Tegna-owned locals. And the Dish-Morgan Murphy fight has been brewing for several months. Morgan Murphy threatened to remove its signals from Dish last October, but the two companies signed a short-term agreement then to allow negotiations to continue.
The TV Answer Man will update this article if there are any changes to the dispute.
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— Phillip Swann