Dish plays retrans whack-a-mole: Signs with Gray, but gets blacked out by Bonten

Charlie Ergen, CEO of Dish Network
After failing to meet a deal deadline set by Bonten yesterday, Dish found itself blacked out on 12 stations in eight markets in California, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and North Carolina. 

Dish is winning some and losing some in the challenging realm of broadcast retransmission licensing negotiations, coming to terms with Gray TV but descending into station blackout with Bonten Media Group. 

After failing to meet a deal deadline set by Bonten yesterday, Dish found itself blacked out on 12 stations in eight markets in California, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and North Carolina. 

“While both Dish Network and Bonten Media are working earnestly to resolve this matter, there is the potential that this could be a long interruption of service,” Bonten said yesterday in a statement posted on its stations’ websites.  

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

Dish, meanwhile, was able to avert a much bigger blackout with Gray, which operates more than 100 stations across 54 markets. The two companies didn’t release terms of their new retrans deal

The agreement came after Gray accused Dish of giving the broadcaster a Tuesday deadline.

“We are shocked and disappointed to learn that Dish Network has decided to impose yet another blackout on its customers by taking away our stations, which broadcast some of the most highly rated programming on any broadcast or cable channel in their markets,” said Kevin Latek, Gray’s chief legal and development officer, in a statement. 

Gray collectively covers more than 10% of U.S. TV households. 

Dish also continues to negotiate with Griffin Communications, which has blacked out two CBS affiliates in Tulsa and Oklahoma City on the satellite operator’s service. 

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