A relatively small standoff over retransmission consent will probably get big attention because of its timing. LIN Media’s 17 stations, mostly CBS, Fox and CW affiliates, went dark on Dish Network systems today, just two days after the FCC said it will review the current retransmission-consent rules so that it can prevent such blackouts. The markets impacted by the spat include Albuquerque, N.M., Austin, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y. At the center of the dispute are fees broadcast stations, previously free to cable and satellite providers, now want to charge for their programming.
“We only want what is fair for our local stations, so that we can continue providing the premium news, sports, entertainment and other local programming that is most important to viewers,” said LIN Media president and CEO Vincent L. Sadusky.
Dish’s statement included direct accusations against the station owner: “LIN Media is simply being greedy, insisting on a rate increase so immense that Dish Network and its customers couldn’t possibly absorb it. Their onerous demands and burdensome contract terms would result in payments of millions of dollars more each month, exceeding current market rates and demanding more money than we pay most of our popular national networks.”