Dish, Raycom face Retrans Impasse

Dish Network faces yet another possible retransmission consent battle, this time involving about 56 Raycom Media television stations that could go dark by 6 p.m. tonight if a deal isn’t reached.

Dish already is embroiled in a seven-week retrans scuffle with 42 Tribune Media stations in 34 markets that began in June. Raycom, which owns NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates in markets like Richmond, Va.; Baton Rouge, La.; Cleveland and Cincinnati, began informing its viewers last week of the possibility of a blackout.

“We are presently attempting to negotiate our carriage contract with Dish so that we can continue to bring you the news, weather, and sports that you and your family rely on,” Raycom said on its Biloxi, Miss., ABC affiliate WLOX website. “…Most of the time these negotiations are handled quickly and behind the scenes with no interruption to your service. In fact, you rarely are aware of those negotiations, which in our view is how it should be. Unfortunately, to date, we have been unable to reach an agreement, and we feel that it’s important to let you know the facts so that you can continue to enjoy all of our programming.”

The station added that it continues to negotiate with Dish and hoped an agreement could be reached soon.

“In the meantime, we will keep you updated,” the station added. “And please remember you always have choices: we are free over the air and available through other providers in our community.”

Dish and Raycom have been down this road before. In 2013, Raycom stations went dark to Dish customers for about nine days. 

“We are still in negotiations and do not understand why Raycom Media has chosen to involve our customers at this time,” Dish wrote. “There is still time to reach a mutually beneficial deal. Negotiations regularly happen right up to the deadline and more often than not they are settled without issue.”