Dish Girds for Apollo Retrans Blackout

Dish Network is gearing up for a possible blackout of 18 television stations owned by Apollo Global Asset Management in seven states, offering the broadcaster an extension to its existing deal, with pay, through Feb. 2 to ensure its customers don’t lose access to the NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl.

The Apollo stations 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.)

“Apollo Global Management, the new owner of the former Northwest Broadcasting stations, has recently been warning its viewers that they may lose their local channels on Dish,” Dish said in a statement. “Apollo, which is in contract renewal talks with Dish, has been demanding nearly double its current rate to carry its stations. Dish is doing everything in its power to strike a fair deal on behalf of customers.”

On its station websites, the Apollo stations are warning Dish customers that if a deal isn’t reached by 7 p.m. on Jan. 18, they may lose access to programming.

“Our existing agreement with Dish expires at 7:00 p.m. EST on January 18, 2020,” said station WICZ on its website. “If no deal is reached before that date, you will lose live access to the shows, sports and local news on WICZ-TV, which you rely on and are paying for. We are continuing to negotiate with Dish, but Dish has refused to agree to reasonable terms for the valuable programming we provide.” 

Dish also said it was granted a temporary restraining order on Wednesday (Jan. 15) to prevent Apollo from blocking out 14 stations it purchased from Cox Media last year. Dish said that Apollo has been warning Cox viewers that they may lose access to those stations, despite Dish and Cox having renewed a multi-year contract in March 2019.

The Cox Media stations are: WSB-TV (ABC, Atlanta); WFXT-TV (FOX, Boston); WAXN-TV (IND, Charlotte, N.C.); WSOC-TV (ABC, Charlotte, N.C.); WHIO-TV (CBS, Dayton, Ohio); WFOX-TV (FOX, Jacksonville, Fla.); WFOX2-TV (MNT, Jacksonville, Fla.); WHBQ-TV(FOX, Memphis); WFTV-TV (ABC, Orlando, Fla.); WRDQ-TV (IND, Orlando, Fla.); WPXI-TV(NBC, Pittsburgh); KIRO-TV (CBS, Seattle); KMYT-TV (MNT, Tulsa); KOKI-TV (FOX, Tulsa).

Apollo’s Charlotte, N.C. ABC affiliate WSOC-TV said on its website that carriage of the channel by Dish had been temporarily extended and that the company remains in negotiations.

“We are simply seeking a fair deal, which adequately values the award-winning news, sports, entertainment, weather and traffic programming that is paramount to our local viewers,” WSOC-TV VP and general manager Cedric Thomas said in a statement on its website. “In fact, we are asking for far less than what Dish pays for national networks even though our ratings are much higher. More importantly, those national networks offer no local news, provide no information about local school closings, have no local employees, and offer nowhere near the same high-quality, compelling programming that we provide.”