DISH & Sinclair Avoid Blackout, Continue Contract Talks


ENGLEWOOD: DISH Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group have agreed to a short-term contract extension as they negotiate a new retransmission agreement, averting a potential blackout of local TV channels.

The current agreement was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. last night. The extension preserves DISH customer access to 153 local channels in 79 markets across the U.S. 

DISH has filed a verified retransmission complaint asserting that, among other things, in direct violation of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Sinclair is refusing to negotiate for retransmission consent for stations unless DISH also agrees to allow Sinclair to negotiate for 32 stations that it does not control and are in the same markets as Sinclair stations.

“We appreciate that we have mutually created time to try to find the right path to serve consumers,” said Warren Schlichting, DISH's senior VP of programming.

“We’re asking the FCC to act on behalf of consumers to bring Sinclair back in line with the law,” commented Jeff Blum, DISH's senior VP and deputy general counsel. “Sinclair’s ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ posture is in direct violation of federal regulations—they have offered a single path and are threatening that any deviation from that path will lead to a consumer blackout.”