The dispute between Dish Network and Tribune Media has been in news for quite some time now, and the Federal Communications Commission has finally stepped in to deal with the matter. Reports say that the FCC has asked executives from Dish Network and Tribune Media to file reports on their current positions in the retransmission battle.
“In the recent – and ongoing — dispute between Dish Network and Tribune Media, when the parties failed to reach an agreement or to extend their prior deal pending further negotiations, consumers began to suffer what is becoming an extensive blackout,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. He further outlined that the Dish – Tribune blackout is a very good example to show how FCC is capable of handling blackouts on a case-by-case basis.
“I summoned both parties to Washington to negotiate in coordination with commission staff. When that step failed to produce an agreement or an extension, the Media Bureau issued comprehensive information requests to both parties to enable FCC staff to determine whether they were meeting their duty to negotiate in good faith; we are reviewing their responses as I write. If that review reveals a dereliction of duty on the part of one or both parties, I will not hesitate to recommend appropriate commission action,” Wheeler added.
Forty-two Tribune stations were pulled out from thirty-three markets on Dish Network on June 12, and this started the dispute between the two. The situation escalated to Dish filing a lawsuit against Tribune Media claiming that the latter has used defamatory language in their advertisement campaigns against Dish Network. Executives from Dish Network asked Tribune to submit to “baseball-style” arbitration, to which Tribune officials said that the satellite TV provider is reluctant to engage into bargaining on the matter.
Interestingly, Dish and Tribune representatives did not respond to the intervention of FCC on their dispute so far. Experts in the field hope that the FCC interference will bring about some positive changes in the dispute between Tribune and Dish Network soon.