The Heart Television-Dish Network dispute is into its third week without any end in sight. To signify how long it’s been, Hearst has now launched a countdown clock on its station websites. The discussions between Dish and Hearst ended on March 3 without an agreement and the stations across the country have been blacked out on the satellite provider ever since.

Hearst has 33 stations in 26 markets including Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Tampa. Both sides are blaming the other for the dispute. Last week, Dish publicly pleaded with Hearst to end the impasse in the following statement:

“Hearst blacked out millions of DirecTV customers in January, and eventually the two sides reached an agreement,” Dish said in a statement. “Before Hearst blacked out Dish customers two weeks ago, we said that we would agree to the same terms as DirecTV. That offer remains on the table. Hearst should do the right thing for consumers by agreeing to the same terms as its deal with DirecTV and restoring its stations to the Dish lineup today. Dish is committed to reaching a fair agreement with Hearst to end this blackout.”

Shortly after that statement was issued, Hearst launched its shot clock as part of a new ad campaign in radio, print and websites to inform customers how long the dispute has been going.

Hearst issued an open letter to Dish earlier this month telling viewers its side of the story. No matter which side of this dispute you believe, it’s left the subscribers in the middle. People don’t care about the impasse, they want to turn on their TV’s and be able to watch their local stations for news, sports and entertainment programming.

With viewers unable to watch the NCAA Tournament, NBA, golf, NHL, Olympics sports and English Premier League on the Hearst stations, it forces them to find other methods to watch. April isn’t that far away and hopefully, the two sides will find a way to come together instead of continuing the blackout.

[Multichannel News]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang’s Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • DrewShervin

    It just baffles me why people subscribe to DISH when all they do is fight with all their content providers and end up with constant blackouts.

    • maf113

      Please remember that the provider removed the channels not Dish. Further Dish offered to back pay Hearst for any new price if Hearst allowed the channels to stay up. Hearst refused as they want to hold the viewers hostage to force Dish to accept their new over the tip price schedule. Remember these higher prices will be passed on to us the consumer.

  • Carter_Burger67

    Remember when providers wanted to carry local stations? They both benefited from that arrangement. Then along came Congress and the 1992 Cable Act and allowed stations to charge cable providers for their programming. This is one of the perils of retransmission consent. Don’t you just love it when our government makes our lives easier?

    • Woz

      Guess who lobbied Congress for that change, the big three affiliates…..”The U.S. Congress best representation money can buy.” (kinda lke a prostitute ) Personaly I think we’re paying too much for the service we’re getting both Congress and Affilate Stations.

  • Woz

    I find it odd, that Dish carries local channels and has to pay a fee, to distribute those same chanels that we as subscribers can receive free over the air. So it’s free if we watch it over the air, but if out of common courtesy Dish carries it over a satelite link they have to pay? Sounds to me like Hearst is trying to dig into someone’s pockets (that would be us folks, because ultimately we have to pay. Dish will simply pass that fee along to us) Hearst, the money grubbers, didn’t get enough in billions from comercials. So now they’ve got to get in our pockets, If we have to pay for free T.V. then I would demand NO COMERCIALS on Hearst while carried over Dish.

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