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Hoak Stations Dark for Dish Subs over Retrans Disconnect

Fourteen Hoak Media stations went dark June 6 for Dish Network subscribers as the parties failed to come to terms ona  retransmission-consent agreement.

A sticking point in the negotiations, acknowledged Eric Van den Branden, president and CEO of Hoak, is Dish's controversial Hopper DVR, whose Auto Hop feature can eliminate commercials.

Van den Branden would not elaborate on details of the discussion. "We're in the middle of a negotiation and there are a number of terms we haven't agreed to," he said. "It's about Dish bullying people around and I think people are tired of that."

Emails to Dish were not responded to on short notice at presstime.

The Hoak-Dish clash over the DVR, which prompted lawsuits from multiple broadcast networks, was previously reported in The Hollywood Reporter.

Hoak's stations include WMBB Panama City (Fla.) and KALB-NALB in Alexandria (La.). A statement on read in part: "We will continue to negotiate with DISH. Unfortunately, we do not know if, or when, we will reach an agreement. In the meantime, we hope you will continue supporting local television and watch us through alternative means."

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.