Pai Contacts Lilly, Dish Over Caribbean TV Impasse

A spokesperson for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that Lilly Broadcasting TV signals have been restored to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after the chairman expressed his concern about the impasse.

"Chairman Pai’s Office was in touch with both Lilly Broadcasting and Dish yesterday (Oct. 1) and expressed its concern about the impact of this dispute on the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," said an FCC spokesman. "We are pleased that the parties agreed to restore carriage of One Caribbean Television last night following these phone calls."

Lilly TV stations in a number of markets were off Dish as of 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 after the previous contract expired.

Lilly stations coming off Dish were WSEEP-TV Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (CBS) (one Caribbean TV); WENY-VI U.S. Virgin Islands (ABC)WSEE-TV Erie, N.Y. (ABC); KITV-TV  Honolulu (ABC; KITV2-TV Honolulu (MeTV).

Stanton Dodge used the impasse to argue for the FCC getting involved. “Lilly’s decision to cut ties with Dish customers is a prime example of why Washington needs to stand up for consumers and end local channel blackouts,” he said.

Dish has advocated for making blackouts a violation of FCC rules requiring parties to negotiate in good faith.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.