Tribune Stations and WGN America Removed From DISH

By Chris Ariens Comment

If you have DISH, and live in a market with a Tribune-owned station, you’re out of luck.

Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 owned or operated television stations in 33 markets were pulled from the satellite provider at 7 p.m. That’s when the contract between Tribune Broadcasting and DISH expired. 7 million Dish subscribers also lost access to WGN America, Tribune’s basic cable network.

“Tribune is demanding an unreasonable rate increase for channels that are available for free over the air,” said Warren Schlichting, DISH evp of Programming.

“We want to reach an agreement, just as we have with every one of our other cable, satellite and telco distributors, but DISH refuses to reach an agreement based on fair-market value,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s svp for corporate relations. 

The blackout means subscribers in Tribune’s NBC markets (Des Moines and Oklahoma City) may not be able to see Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, and those in ABC markets (New Orleans and Moline, Ill.) will lose access to Game 5 of the NBA Finals tomorrow. Also, Mets and Yankees games on WPIX, and White Sox and Cubs games on WGN.

But DISH is providing an alternative: free antennas.

“We want to keep servicing our local communities and we have repeatedly offered DISH a lengthy extension to continue negotiations—unfortunately, DISH rejected these offers,” added Weitman.

“Actions like Tribune’s are what drive price increases and feed customer frustration for our industry,” added Schlichting.

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