Mission Stations Blacked Out to Dish Subscribers

Mission Broadcasting said its stations in 18 markets are no longer being carried by Dish Network because of a retransmission consent dispute.

The stations were removed by Dish without warning Friday night, Mission said. The broadcaster said it had offered to extend its current agreement so viewers wouldn’t miss the beginning of the NFL playoff but Dish turned it down.

“Dish gave us no warning when it removed our stations,” said Dennis Thatcher, president of Mission Broadcasting.

“We offered an extension, and Dish refused, even though the NFL Playoffs began on Saturday. This has been, sadly, typical behavior for Dish—the company has constantly put its subscribers in the middle, denying them programming they’ve already paid for rather than taking the path to negotiate in good faith,” Thatcher said. “Mission has now joined the ranks of a number of broadcast groups who’ve been subject to this harsh negotiating tactic by The Dish Network. Mission has a long track record of negotiating fairly with all of its cable, satellite and telco partners and avoiding service interruptions in our markets. That’s simply not the case with Dish.”

Dish said the opposite happened, blaming Mission for the signals being pulled.

“Mission is using its own viewers as leverage as it demands higher monthly rates, interrupting programming as we head into the first weekend of NFL playoffs,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior VP of programming. “Dish offered to extend the contract during ongoing negotiations, ensuring consumers would not be harmed in this process, but Mission refused.”

Mission owns ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The CW, MyNetworkTV affiliates in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont. The company’s majority shareholder is Nancie J. Smith, one of the top female owners of broadcast stations in the U.S.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.