Dish Drops 10 Young TV Stations

Last week, Dish Network was embroiled in yet another retransmission-consent dispute with a broadcaster, with this one resulting in the satellite provider dropping 10 Young Broadcasting stations, including San Francisco's KRON-TV, from its program lineup.

Once again, Dish Network is battling with a broadcaster over how much cash it should fork over to carry TV-station signals. The satellite company deleted Young's stations, which reach 11 of its markets, last Thursday evening. Dish Network's retransmission-consent deal with Young expired the day before, last Wednesday.

The dispute is one of three recent retransmission-consent spats that have resulted in TV stations being knocked off Dish Network or cable. In August, Dish Network got in a retransmission-consent fight with Citadel Communications, dropping four of its Midwestern TV stations in a standoff that lasted about a month. The Citadel stations went back on in September after both sides reached a new deal.

Then in October, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks got into a nearly monthlong retransmission-consent dispute with LIN TV. More than a dozen LIN TV stations were dropped by the two cable operators until all the parties reached a new contract.

Dish put out a press release last week accusing Young Broadcasting of demanding unreasonable contract terms that would mean higher costs for its subscribers.

“It is unfortunate that Young Broadcasting has forced us into this situation and caused this disruption to our customers,” Eric Sahl, Dish Network's outgoing senior vice president of programming, said in the release. “Our goal is to remain the best value for our customers and in order to do this, we need fair contracts with competitive pricing for the channels our customers want to watch.”

Young Broadcasting, in turn, argued that it is only seeking proper license fees for its content.

On its Web site, Young's KRON told viewers, “We believe that a penny per day, per subscriber is a reasonable demand for our award-winning news, sports and entertainment programming. It is considerably less than the amount paid by Dish to less popular satellite/cable networks.”

Young Broadcasting also owns WLNS-TV in Lansing, Mich., WKRN-TV in Nashville, Tenn., WTEN-TV in Albany, N.Y., WRIC-TV in Richmond, Va., WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tenn., WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wis., KLFY-TV in Lafayette, La., KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, S.D., and KWQC-TV in Davenport, Iowa.