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DISH Says Media General Not Playing Fair in Retrans Fight, Asks FCC for Help

media general_dishDISH Network has appealed to the FCC to “immediately require Media General to negotiate in good faith to resolve a blackout that began Oct. 1.”

The satellite broadcaster released a statement saying it told the FCC in a recently filed complaint, “Media General’s conduct violates the Commission’s rules requiring good faith negotiation for retransmission consent rights, because, among other things, Media General failed to respond for 11 days to DISH’s last pre-blackout offer.”

>UPDATE: On Friday, Media General responded by saying in part, “Unfortunately, DISH would prefer to manufacture a dispute, and now ask for government intervention, for its own purposes, rather than pay us a fair, market-based rate for the value of our stations.” You can read the entire statement after the jump.

DISH executive vice president Dave Shull said in the statement, “DISH customers and Media General viewers were without their shows and events for 11 days before Media General would even contact us.” Shull added, “We reacted with a counter offer within hours and Media General has yet to respond. DISH is asking the FCC to act expeditiously to address Media General’s bad faith, push them back to the negotiating table and submit to mediation to get programming back to consumers.”

DISH also alleges Media General is asking for more money than its primary pay TV competitors and area broadcasters and that it is looking to get a deal separate from the one DISH has with Young Broadcasting. Young, which is currently acquiring Media General, has a long-term deal with DISH, according to Variety.

The blackout affects DISH customers in 17 markets including Columbus, OH, Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL, and Hattiesburg, MS.

Here is Media General’s statement in full:

This is the first time in the history of our company that Media General has failed to reach an agreement with a cable operator or satellite carrier. DISH, in contrast, has been involved in 32 take-down disputes with local broadcasters in the past three years alone, affecting more than 120 local television stations. DISH is currently involved in two other take-downs, in addition to its dispute with Media General.

We have acted in a responsive, courteous and professional manner at all times, have accommodated numerous of DISH’s requests and have negotiated in absolute good faith since we began discussions in June — not merely because of any obligation to do so, but because our own standards, and our commitments to our viewers and our communities demand nothing less.

Unfortunately, DISH would prefer to manufacture a dispute, and now ask for government intervention, for its own purposes, rather than pay us a fair, market-based rate for the value of our stations.

Despite DISH’s meritless request for government intervention, Media General will continue to negotiate in good faith so that we can return our stations to the DISH service for those viewers who remain DISH subscribers.

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