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Dish Doles Out Digital Antennas as Retrans Battle Looms

Dish Network is handing out free digital antennas to its subscribers in the Providence, R.I. area, as the deadline for a retransmission agreement with a local ABC affiliate there nears.

Dish’s existing retrans deal with WLNE-TV (ABC6), the Citadel Communications-owned ABC affiliate, expires at 7 p.m. on Aug. 18. As that date looms, Dish said it is offering qualifying customers installation of a high-definition digital over-the-air antenna at no charge to receive the signals for free. Dish said that customers who take the OTA option also can save about $10 per month on their pay TV bill if they drop their local channel package.  

Related: Dish Loses 196K Net Subs in Q2

“We’ve been actively working to negotiate an agreement that keeps ABC6 available on Dish, but Citadel’s unbending attitude and outrageous demands show that this broadcaster has no intention of coming to a deal,” said Dish executive VP of marketing, programming and media sales Warren Schlichting in a statement.

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