Dish Network and station owner Citadel Communications agreed to extend their current contract until next Wednesday, Aug. 23, to avoid a blackout of Providence, Rhode Island, ABC affiliate WLNE-TV that would have occurred when the retrans deal expired at 7 p.m. this evening.
Earlier this week, Dish began offering qualified local subscribers free installation of HD over-the-air antennas in anticipation of a service interruption.
“We’ve been actively working to negotiate an agreement that keeps ABC6 available on Dish, but Citadel’s unbending attitude and outrageous demands show that this broadcaster has no intention of coming to a deal,” said Dish executive VP of marketing, programming and media sales Warren Schlichting in a statement.
Dish lost an estimated 281,000 users to its core satellite TV business in the second quarter and has seen steady erosion of the platform dating back more than a year—erosion partially caused by a steady stream of network service interruptions.
Dish, of course, blamed rising programming costs.
“The fastest rising cost of almost any pay-TV bill is what broadcasters like Citadel charge for local channels, but they are available for free with a digital antenna,” added Schlichting. “While other pay-TV providers charge ‘Broadcast TV’ fees, Dish is asking, ‘Why pay for channels if you can get them with an antenna for free?’”