It seems pay TV providers and local broadcast TV station groups are in dispute on days ending in “y,” and this latest fight between Dish Network and Hearst is a particularly nasty one. Since March 3, Hearst stations have been backed out. Both sides are blaming the other for the dispute.

This has affected stations in Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, New Orleans, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and other markets across the country. Overall, Hearst has 31 stations in 26 markets and the station group includes 15 stations affiliated with ABC, 12 NBC affiliates as well as two CBS stations (Des Moines and Louisville).

In a video that Dish has inserted in place of Hearst channels, Dish programming exec Warren Schlichting acaused Hearst of refusing to negotiate with the company:

Hearst has fired back. In an open letter from Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb, he said any accusation that his company is unwilling to talk is “simply untrue.”

As we have said to DISH all along, we remain ready and willing to conclude a deal promptly. In contrast, DISH has said that they’re available day and night to reach an agreement, and yet they’ve refused to modify their completely off-market terms in any meaningful way. Given the foregoing and DISH’s extensive history of outages, we suspect they will employ any scheme that serves to delay meaningful discussions. While Hearst Television can’t force DISH to negotiate, we can assure you that we remain committed to reaching a fair deal, and we will work each and every day to make that happen.

Wertlieb warned that this dispute could go for a while:

DISH has been the most egregious abuser of pay-TV disputes within the industry. While the length of these disputes has varied, in numerous instances DISH has had outages that have lasted several months. Unfortunately, to date DISH’s lack of engagement and unwillingness to present a fair proposal suggest that DISH intends to employ their age-old strategy of a long-term impasse.

There’s never a good time for these disputes. There’s plenty of sports programming this month that is being blacked out.

For CBS stations, the NCAA Tournament is about to start and for basketball-crazy Louisville, it leaves viewers of WLKY scrambling for alternatives methods to watch the games. Those who live in NBC markets will have to do without NBC’s inventory of golf, hockey, Olympic sports and the English Premier League. And subscribers where Hearst’s ABC stations are blacked out will have to do without NBA games on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.

Again, viewers are left holding the bag until both sides come together on an agreement. Dish and Hearst negotiated until a March 1 deadline and then extended it by 48 hours, but the stations have been blacked out for the last ten days.

When this will end, no one knows and for Dish subscribers, this impasse may last a while.

[Deadline/Photo courtesy Dish Network]

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.

  • Carter_Burger67

    trying to say Hearst stations are refusing to negotiate is ludicrous. Why would you not want to negotiate with one of the largest service providers? Unless that service provider is being unreasonable.

    • steve mitchell

      So you believe the Big Media Co Over the Big provider. there both screwing us

      • Carter_Burger67

        No, I find it hard to believe that Hearst would tell the #2 provider to take a flying leap. Imagine how many subs Dish is losing in Louisville alone.

  • Raymond Chuang

    Dish Network is _notorious_ for getting into spats with program providers, if you’ve read up on their history. They’re just as notorious as New York-based Cablevision for this type of feud.

  • MrSchimpf

    At this point, anyone who has Dish or Sling is playing a fool’s game of hoping they go a month without Dish getting into a carriage fight only because someone ordered the wrong thing for Charlie Ergen at the negotiation table. They’ve just grown tiresome at this point to be an alternative to anything.

  • Scott Harris

    Hell, I lost AMC over a year ago and it still hasn’t returned to my cable provider. I’d get Dish if cable was included as part of my rent, be damned if I am paying twice for TV service.

  • melaniedacus

    If I have to say “goodbye” to the NBA playoffs, I’ll be saying “goodbye” to Dish! It’s always something with them. Initially, Dish was my best choice in satellite tv. Now, I have many more options and I’ll be utilizing one of the other options before missing my Grizz play in the playoffs! Jus know that!

    • steve mitchell

      In January I said good bye to Directv now where do I go and if I do who’s to say another FREE local channel will not do it to me again.

  • SayWhat?

    Just remember that the more Dish has to pay the more the customer has to pay. The networks are greedy and want the customers to pay twice. First with the service provider and then with the advertisers.

    • steve mitchell

      you seem to be the only one that gets it

  • steve mitchell

    Who’s right? They are both Wrong. They know when there contract ends they could of settled this long before the contract expired. Its to big dogs fighting. They care nothing about there customers or they would not of put us end the middle. If I move to cable who’s to say my cable company will not be fighting with Hearst next week. For now I called up Dish and got a discount and have a local ant. Watching the commercials on NBC and calling advertisers up letting them know I won’t be buying there product. We as consumers have to hit the big dogs in the pocket book. That’s all they care about.

  • Laura Huff

    Hearst TV pulled this same stunt with DirectTV at the end of 2016. We were without CBS for a week. DirectTV caved in to Hearst’s demands and my DirectTV bill increased by $10 the very next month. Hearst advised people they can stream their programming online, however there’s a monthly charge for that as well. Hearst is a gigantic monster who wants just more and more $$$! Disgusting!

  • Pingback: Hearst Television begins a 'shot clock' to show how long Dish blackout is()

  • Deni Hitzfeld Springer

    I don’t care what the issue is… I am dropping DISH as soon as my contract is up!!! I had DirectTV for 14 years, and I never experienced anything like this. I am tired of paying to not watch my favorite shows!

  • Kenn Gentile

    Just an FYI. Hearst blacked out their channels, not DISH. That’s the way it happens. Hearst could have chosen to leave the broadcast active during negotiations, but instead is using the blackout as leverage against DISH. Same tactics the other broadcasters have done. Unfortunately, there are far too many ways to watch the network programming these days without having it rebroadcast by your chosen service. The only thing Hearst is doing is losing the revenue they could be getting from providers… oh, and killing the local stations.

  • Paul Seals

    I understand both sides point of view, but at the end of the day, we, the consumers are going to loose!
    I am in a market that had the local channels taken away.
    This prompted me to finally cut the CORD!
    it is not easy, but I now have MORE channels than I had before, my locals (OTA) and I am saving $1200 a year!
    The big conglomerates need to remember this, everyone has there breaking point, mine was now.
    it took me a couple of months to assemble my TV to the way I wanted, but it’s done.
    Cheaper, better service and I’m done!

  • Ulbe Bach

    Haven’t missed ABC at all. Having had some bad experiences with Hearst, I say ‘pound sand’. I think eventually the advertisers will understand that both ABC and Hearst are ineffective, and will take their business elsewhere.

    If I lived within antenna range of a major city, I would get ABC for free. Please explain why I should pay for the content at all. If you want to charge for the content, lose the commercials.

  • Pingback: Dish and Hearst are digging in for a very long battle()

  • Pingback: Dish and Hearst finally end their almost eight-week dispute()