Dish, Hearst Television battle over retrans contract

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Hearst Television are in the final hours of a retransmission battle that could black out 29 local Hearst TV stations in as many markets.

Among the markets with affected Hearst stations are Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Louisville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Honolulu, Milwaukee and Sacramento. Depending on the outcome of the talks between the two parties, they could go off the satellite service lineup if a deal isn't worked out by April 8.

Some stations, such as WISN in Milwaukee, have already begun using their Web sites to warn viewers that the signals may be going away.

Noting that its parent company, Hearst, and Dish are negotiating a new contract, the station pointed out that failure to pound out a new pact before the 9 p.m. Central Standard Time deadline April 8 could mean "you may not be able to view WISN 12 on DISH if carriage is no longer authorized."

On the plus side, the station said, there's always the over-the-air option and the inevitable suggestion of turning to "other providers such as DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR)."

Dish has offered up no official comment as yet on the tussle with the broadcasters.

For more:
- see this TV Predictions story
- and this WISN notice

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