Apollo Stations Go Dark to Dish Customers

Television stations in 10 markets owned by Apollo Global Asset Management went dark to Dish Network customers at 7 p.m. ET Saturday, after the parties could not reach a retransmission consent agreement.

The stations had warned Dish customers that they may lose access to their programming if a deal was not reached. Dish had said Apollo was asking for double the rate it previously received for the properties.

“Apollo doesn’t care how high a customer’s bill gets. It's trying to squeeze every last penny out of consumers to recoup the billions it spent buying these stations,” said Dish senior VP of programming Andy LeCuyer in a press release. “They are fund managers built to serve wealthy private investors, not local viewers. For Apollo it’s about a number. For Dish it’s about customers.”

The stations were formerly owned by Northwest Broadcasting and previously went dark to DirecTV customers last year for about eight months. 

On its station websites, the Apollo stations expressed disappointment, and urged Dish customers to drop the satellite company.

“Despite prolonged negotiations, it appears that Dish is unwilling to carry KLAX beginning at 6:00 PM [CST], January 18th, 2020,” Apollo station KLAX-TV said on its website. “As a result, KLAX will no longer be seen on Dish as of January 18, 2020. Our programming will remain available for viewers over the air, and this dispute will not affect customers of any other video provider. Call Dish today to let them know how you feel. ...Let Dish know that you do have other options, like DirecTV and Suddenlink.”

The stations involved in the blackout are: KLAX-TV (ABC, Alexandria, La.); WICZ-TV, (FOX, Binghamton, N.Y.); WBPN (MNT, Binghamton, N.Y.); KIEM-TV (NBC, Eureka, Calif.); KVIQ-TV (CBS, Eureka, Calif.); WABG-TV (ABC, Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.); :WABGD-TV, (FOX, Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.); WNBD-TV, (NBC, Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.); WXVT-TV (CBS, Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.); KPVI-TV (NBC, Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Idaho); KMVU-TV (FOX, Medford-Klamath Falls, Ore.); KFBI-TV (MNT, Medford-Klamath Falls, Ore.); KAYU-TV (FOX, Spokane, Wash.); WSYT-TV (FOX, Syracuse, N.Y.); WNYS-TV (MNT, Syracuse, N.Y.); KCYU-TV (FOX, Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash.); KSWT-TV (CBS, Yuma AZ - El Centro, Calif.); KYMA-TV (NBC, Yuma AZ - El Centro, Calif.)

Dish said it has avoided a larger blackout of Apollo stations after receiving a temporary restraining order in Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, to prevent Apollo from blacking out 14 local Cox Media channels. Apollo purchased the Cox Media stations in February. 

Dish said it is offering free antennas to capture the broadcast signal to qualified customers in the affected markets. Customers also have the option to completely drop local channels from their programming package and save $12 on their monthly bill.

Dish will install an antenna for qualifying customers in affected markets based on the expected reception available at their home. Local station availability over the air is dependent on geographic location and topography. Consequently, some customer locations may not qualify for an antenna installation.