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Tribune: Dish Hasn’t Responded to Offer

Tribune Broadcasting says that Dish Network has not responded to its proposal to settle a retransmission consent dispute that has blacked out 42 local stations and WGN America to satellite subscribers since Sunday evening.

Both Tribune and Dish said they offered extensions while negotiations continued, but the plug got pulled at 7 p.m.

“We delivered another proposal to Dish at 11:50 p.m. ET, Sunday evening, and have heard nothing about it from Dish,” said Gary Weitman, a spokesman for Tribune Media. “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.  We stand ready to negotiate, but we can’t do so alone.”  

Dish continued to blame the impasse on Tribune.

“Dish offered to extend the contract so that consumers would have continued access to the Tribune channels while negotiations continued.  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," Dish said.

"Rather than negotiate in the Press we suggest that Tribune respond to our last offer with a meaningful and fair offer for our customers," Dish added. 

Tribune’s 42 stations reach 50 million households. WGN America had 7 million Dish subscribers.

“We repeatedly offered Dish an extension through the end of August, more than 60 days, for precisely this reason—they drag their feet in negotiations,” said Tribune's Weitman. “Dish rejected every offer, which demonstrates a total disregard for their customers and our viewers.  Perhaps that explains why they have lost almost 150,000 subscribers in the last year alone.”

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.