Standard Media channels dropped from Dish Network

A Dish Network satellite dish.
A Dish Network satellite dish. (Photo by Cody Logan via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Standard Media has pulled four television stations from Dish Network’s satellite service after both sides failed to reach a new carriage agreement this week.

According to a press release, Dish Network’s contract to offer the four Standard Media-owned channels expired on Friday, and the channels were pulled from the satellite lineup accordingly.

The four stations that are affected by the carriage dispute are:

  • KLKN (Channel 8, ABC) in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • KBSI (Channel 23, Fox) in Paducah, Kentucky
  • WDKA (Channel 49, MyNetwork) in Harrisburg, Illinois
  • WLNE (Channel 6, ABC) in New Bedford, Massachusetts

A spokesperson for Standard Media said they offered Dish Network an extension that would have kept the channels on the satellite service, but Dish Network refused that compromise and blacked out the channels instead.

The specific terms of the agreement, including any financial compensation, were not known. Like other pay television companies, Dish Network typically drops channels when it is asked to pay more in carriage fees, which are ultimately passed on to customers in the form of higher bills.

“Over the last year, Standard Media has worked hard to reach a deal with Dish,” a Standard Media spokesperson said. “Throughout this period, the parties have agreed to multiple extensions to permit negotiations to continue without an impact on viewers. Even though the parties continue to negotiate, Dish has taken the inexplicable position that it will no longer carry the stations during the negotiations.”

The spokesperson asserted that the four stations will no longer be available on Dish Network until a new carriage agreement is reached, and that the move was “Dish’s choice, and not what we prefer.”

“With just four local stations, Standard Media is a small station owner,” the spokesperson said.

Standard Media is in the process of becoming a much-larger station owner, though: Earlier this year, Standard Media’s parent company teamed up with Apollo Global Management to acquire broadcaster TEGNA and its 66 local television stations. That deal has been heavily scrutinized by regulators, including the Federal Communication Commission, which asked TEGNA and Standard General for additional documentation last month asking why the deal would be in the public’s interest.

Last week, The Desk reported TEGNA’s cable and satellite distribution fee revenue was larger than its traditional and political advertisement revenue for the second straight quarter. A similar trend has played out at TEGNA’s broadcast competitors, including Nexstar Media Group.