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Citadel Claims Dish Has ‘Gone Silent’ In Retrans Talks

8/12/2008 11:31 AM Eastern

Citadel Communications Tuesday told its viewers that Dish Network has “gone silent” since it submitted a contract counter-proposal to the satellite provider last week.

Four Midwestern TV stations owned by Citadel have been off Dish Network’s lineup since Aug. 1 in a retransmission-consent dispute. The contract between both sides expired July 31, and the broadcaster and satellite company have not been able to come to terms on a renewal, disagreeing over what compensation Dish should pay to carry the stations.

Citadel president Ray Cole posted an update on the situation on Des Moines, Iowa-based WOI-TV’s Web site Tuesday afternoon. ABC affiliate WOI is one of the stations that was pulled from Dish Network, as well as a WHBF, a CBS affiliate in Davenport, Iowa; KLKN, an ABC affiliate in Lincoln, Neb.; and KCAU, an ABC affiliate in Sioux City, Iowa.

“Our company has presented several proposals to Dish in the spirit of reaching an accommodation only to have each of those proposals rejected to date,” Cole said on the WOI Web site. “Our most recent counter-proposal was submitted last Thursday, Aug. 7, and Dish has ‘gone silent’ since then.”

“In short, we have attempted to reason with Dish in a good faith manner and compromised about as much as we can consistent with responsible business practices,” he wrote. “I am less hopeful than I was a week ago that we can reach a fair and equitable agreement carriage agreement with Dish anytime soon.”

Dish Network, which claims Citadel is seeking an unreasonable price increase for its stations, declined to comment Tuesday. On Aug. 1, in an unrelated contract dispute, the satellite provider also dropped GolTV. That cable channel also remains off Dish Network’s roster, like the four Citadel stations.

Cole suggested that Dish subscribers either contact the satellite provider; switch to DirecTV or cable; or get an antenna “to receive ABC5 over the air as many viewers have told us they've already done.”

On WOI’s Web site Cole said, “We simply can't allow a video provider such as Dish to take our signal and re-sell it to the public without compensating us in a reasonable and equitable manner. But Dish apparently believes that it should be entitled to take our local, syndicated and network programs—in which we've invested heavily—and charge people to view it without compensating us fairly.” 

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