UPDATED: Dish Files Bad Faith Complaint with FCC Against Tegna

Dish Network
(Image credit: Dish Network)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—Dish has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Tegna accusing the station group of bad faith during failed negotiations for a new retransmission consent agreement that resulted in Tegna’s local stations being removed from Dish’s channel line-up in 53 markets across the country.

"Tegna turned its back on its public interest obligation and failed to engage in good faith retransmission consent negotiations with Dish," said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior vice president of programming. "Tegna's demands were both unreasonable and inconsistent. This behavior negatively impacts Dish subscribers, and we expect Tegna's bad behavior to only get worse as the programmer looks to sell its stations to the highest bidder. As a result, we have filed a formal complaint with the FCC to address Tegna's blatant disregard of the Commission's rules."

In the complaint, Dish cites a number of examples of what it calls bad faith, including appearing to demand that Dish pay for all subscribers in a local market whether they purchase local programming from Dish or not, and appearing to demand that Dish pay for viewers who are no longer subscribers of Dish. 

Tegna's demands would have totaled nearly a billion dollars in fees, Dish asserted. 

Dish's complaint against Tegna Inc. can be found here (opens in new tab).  

In response, Tenga issued a statement saying, "Dish’s complaint is utterly baseless and without merit. Tegna welcomes a chance for the FCC to review Dish’s conduct over the course of this negotiation. Perhaps a close examination of Dish’s conduct will cause them to come to the table to negotiate free from their consistently unproductive tactics and public misrepresentations."

"The real issue at hand is the need for Dish to stop short-changing their customers by serially dropping valued stations and instead reach fair, market-based deals with programmers like Tegna," the station group also noted. 

"The unfortunate reality is that Dish dropped more than 230 channels last year alone and is now repeating that pattern by refusing to reach an agreement with Tegna, depriving its customers nationwide of some of the most valued programming on TV. Through it all, Tegna has been steadfast in insisting that all we want is to reach a fair deal, and we have worked constructively to achieve that goal by offering Dish terms and conditions that reflect the marketplace and have served as the foundation for deals we have reached with other cable and satellite providers.

"Tegna made a comprehensive proposal to Dish months ago and has updated its proposal multiple times, including a reduction in rates," Tegna explained. "Dish has refused to counter – it has not proposed rates in more than three weeks."

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.