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Citadel-Dish Talks At Impasse

A retransmission consent spat between Citadel Communications and satellite provider Dish Network continues after a conference call earlier this week failed to bring the sides to an agreement.

 Citadel President/COO Ray Cole said in a statement posted prominently on the WOI Des Moines Website that a pact was “increasingly doubtful” before the start of the fall season, which includes program premieres, football and the start of the NASCAR campaign.

 “I am disappointed to report, however, that the DISH Network continues to be inflexible and appears to have drawn a line in the sand...a line which makes it increasingly doubtful that we can reach a fair and equitable agreement prior to the start” of the fall season, he wrote.

 According to Multichannel News, the affected stations include WOI, WHBF Davenport, KLKN Lincoln and KCAU Sioux City.

All four feature a large banner reading “Important Information For Dish Network Subscribers” on their homepage, which links to Cole’s letter.

 Cole recommends affected viewers either call Dish directly, sign up for DirecTV or cable, or find rabbit ears for their televisions.

 A Dish spokesperson said "we're really not commenting on Citadel."

 Cole said Citadel “will remain committed to engaging DISH in the hope that, sooner rather than later, DISH will show flexibility and a concern for fairness.”

 Earlier this month, boards representing the Big Four affiliate organizations agreed to support a month-long “quiet period” ensuring no disruption of local TV service on cable, satellite and telco TV from Feb. 4-March 4. The National Association of Broadcasters’ television board of directors also pledged to continue making local TV signals available on pay TV to avoid viewer confusion when the broadcasting world turns off its analog signals Feb. 17.