Dish faces 8-market blackout in the Deep South, gets temporary reprieve in Oklahoma

Dish Network satellite dishes on rooftop
Dish customers in select southern regions could face blackouts Tuesday night if the operator doesn't agree to a new broadcast retransmission licensing deal.

Continuing to draw a hard line in retrans negotiations with broadcasters, Dish Network has been threatened by Bonten Media Group with the blackout of 12 more network affiliates in eight markets.

Bonten has posted a message on its station websites, informing Dish customers primarily in the South that their channel could go dark—dark!—Tuesday night if the satellite operator doesn't agree to a new broadcast retransmission licensing deal.

"While both Dish and our stations are working earnestly to resolve this matter, there is the potential this could be a long interruption of service," Bonten said. 

According to TV Predictions, Bonten stations included in the possible service interruption include:

  • WCTB-TV, the NBC affiliate in the “Tri-Cities" market of Tennessee and Virginia
  • WEMT-TV, the Fox affiliate in the same Tri-Cities region
  • WCTI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Greenville, North Carolina
  • WFXI-TV and WTDO-TV, the Fox affiliates in Greenville and New Bern, North Carolina
  • KTXS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Abilene, Texas

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As usual, Dish is battling a multi-front retrans war, having been at impasse since Jan. 1 with Griffin Communications-owned CBS affiliates in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Over the weekend, with a storm bearing down in the Oklahoma region, Griffin requested that Dish temporarily restore service, according to TV Predictions

Meanwhile, Cable One avoided a service interruption with six Hearst Television stations, signing a long-term retrans deal. The two companies had been operating on an extension since the beginning of the month.

“We value the opportunity to work with distribution partners like Cable One to bring local investigative journalism, breaking news and weather coverage, and quality local and national programming to the widest audience possible in our markets,” said Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb in a statement obtained by TV News Check.