Tribune, whose stations have been blacked out in 33 markets by a retransmission dispute with Dish Network, blasted Dish’s description of their talks.
In a press release about supporting the National Association of Broadcasters’ antenna giveaway program, Warren Schlichting, Dish executive VP of marketing, programming and media sales, said Tribune was back at the bargaining table.
“Regrettably, Tribune had stopped negotiating for five weeks, delaying a resolution,” Schlichting said. “Tribune is back at the table and we are making headway that I am hopeful will get these channels back to our customers soon.”
A Tribune spokesman called that account untrue.
“Tribune Media has been in continuous negotiations with Dish since being forced off its distribution system on June 12. To say otherwise is patently false, and further evidence of Dish's willingness to mislead its customers and our viewers," the Tribune spokeman said.
"To be clear, despite Tribune Media’s best efforts, an agreement with Dish is not imminent, and Dish subscribers should consider switching providers before the start of football’s regular season in a few weeks," the spokesman added.
It is important for Dish to convey that the Tribune stations will be available again soon to its subscribers as football season approaches.
Last month, Tribune ran TV ads in Indianapolis urging Dish subscribers to switch their pay TV service because without Tribune’s CBS and Fox affiliates, they’d miss 13 of 16 Colts games.
Tribune more recently began running ads in NFL markets including Milwaukee and Seattle, where viewers won’t be able to see their pro football teams play unless a new retrans deal is completed. It is also running ads aimed at Lions fans in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Panthers fans in Greensboro, N.C.
The broadcaster is also running ads in the heavy college football markets of Huntsville, Alabama, and Ft. Smith, Arkansas, where SEC games could be blacked out.
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