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Tribune: Dish Giving Broadcaster Cold Shoulder

With Game Six of the NBA Championship Finals looming, broadcaster Tribune Media said it is getting the silent treatment from Dish Network, concerning their days-old retransmission consent dispute.

About 42 stations in 33 markets went dark to Dish customers at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Dish has said that Tribune is trying to force an exorbitant rate increase coupled with full carriage of its WGN America cable network as terms for a deal. Tribune argues that it is merely asking for fair compensation for its content.

As the battle rages on, Tribune said in a statement Tuesday that it had submitted a proposal to Dish at 11:50 p.m. on Sunday and has yet to hear a response from the satellite TV service provider. Tribune did not reveal the terms of that offer.

 “It has been more than 48 hours and we’ve had zero response to it, and as a result of Dish’s unresponsiveness, their subscribers suffer the consequences—missing important local news and entertainment programming as well as one-of-a-kind live sporting events like the NBA Finals and The U.S. Golf tournament,” said Tribune Media senior vice president of corporate relations, Gary Weitman, said in a statement. “We stand ready to negotiate, but we can’t do so alone.”

In the meantime, Tribune said “tens of thousands” of Dish customers will not see Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs meet the Washington Nationals this afternoon on WGN-TV. Thursday night’s NBA Finals Game 6 could also be a washout for some Dish subscribers if a deal isn’t reached. Tribune estimated about 1.5 million Dish subscribers in its Fox-affiliated markets could miss this this weekend’s U.S. Open golf tournament as well.

Dish said it proposed a brief extension with a true-up provision while it continued negotiations that was rejected by Tribune.

“Dish offered to extend the contract so that consumers would have continued access to the Tribune channels while negotiations continued,” Dish said in a statement. “Tribune rejected our offer.  Only Tribune can cause a channel blackout.  Rather than continuing to negotiate in good faith, Tribune chose to remove their channels from Dish. We have yet to receive a reasonable response to our last offer. Rather than negotiate in the Press we suggest that Tribune respond to our last offer with a meaningful and fair offer for our customers.”