Dish, Sinclair Extend Talks

Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group have extended their retransmission consent talks, avoiding a blackout for now as they try to hammer out an agreement.

Dish filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission on Saturday, claiming Sinclair was not negotiating in good faith and asked the FCC to intervene in the talks.  Dish’s retrans agreement was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

Dish claims that Sinclair is insisting it be allowed to negotiate for 32 stations it does not own in markets where it had other stations. According to Dish, if an agreement is not reached, it has the potential to be the largest retrans blackout in history, covering 153 stations in 79 markets. 

Dish wouldn’t say how long the extension is for – it was characterized only as “short-term” – but said the agreement will give its customers access to the channels as negotiations continue.

“We appreciate that we have mutually created time to try to find the right path to serve consumers,” Dish senior vice president of programming Warren Schlichting said in a statement.