Officials for News Press & Gazette say they'll pull their 16 TV stations off Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) if a retrans renewal deal can't be worked out by 6 p.m. EST Tuesday.
This latest broadcast retransmission dispute threatens to black out network affiliates in a range of small and mid-sized TV markets, including Santa Barbara, Calif., Yuma, Ariz. and Bend, Oregon (you can see the full list here).
Management for each of these stations has been delivering the usual warnings/advisories to viewers.
"If the dispute continues through Sunday, Dish customers also won't be able to watch the 88th Academy Awards," Colorado Springs ABC affiliate KRDO-TV told viewers.
Dish has responded with this statement: "Only News Press & Gazette Company can force a blackout of its channels. Dish has successfully negotiated agreements representing hundreds of stations in recent months that benefit all parties, including our viewers."
Speaking to investors last week, Dish Chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen told investors that retransmission reform is among the company's biggest regulatory priorities.
Retrans negotiations are, Ergen said, "so one-sided, particularly to the network broadcaster." The FCC's decision to reform current laws governing these negotiations, he added, "will have more impact on consumers than new set-top rules."
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