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Dish Drops Four Stations In Midwest

In a retransmission-consent dispute with Citadel Communications, Dish Network Friday dropped four TV stations in Iowa and Nebraska off its lineup.

In a press statement, the satellite provider said that Citadel “forced” it to remove WHBF, a CBS affiliate in Davenport, Iowa; WOI-TV, an ABC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa; KLKN-TV, an ABC affiliate in Lincoln, Neb.; and KCAU-TV, an ABC affiliate in Sioux City, Iowa, from its roster.

The stations were dropped after midnight Aug. 1. Dish Network's retransmission-consent deal with Citadel expired July 31, and the satellite company is balking at the price increase Citadel wants for carriage of its stations.

“The absence of a contract means that Dish Network is not longer” able to provide the four stations to its subscribers, the satellite company said in separate press releases regarding each station.

Dish Network claims that Citadel is “demanding unreasonable contract terms and an excessive rate increase for continued carriage” of its TV stations. The broadcaster, in turn, maintained that it is only seeking fair compensation, and that Dish is being “disingenuous” in its statements.

Citadel president Ray Cole said that Dish Network has had its retransmission consent proposal since May 23, and that the TV station group is only seeking a fee increase in line with what Dish is paying other network-affiliated stations.

Dish contacted Citadel July 21 about its proposal, and the talks that resulted were “disappointing and less than productive,” Cole said. Meanwhile, the four stations have received thousands of calls and e-mail messages about the drops by Dish Network.