According to a news release, Hearst — parent company to WYFF 4, an NBC affiliate in the Upstate — granted a 48-hour extension of the contract, but the talks yielded no result. WYFF and other Hearst stations were removed from Dish Network on March 3.
John Humphries, WYFF 4 president and general manager said, in a statement, that terms offered by Dish Network to Hearst “are less than favorable than our current agreement” and that Dish Network is “seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable.”
He added the station has not been “blacked out” and WYFF can still be viewed over local cable providers or with an antenna.
According to a separate release from Dish Network, the satellite provider said rates to carry local broadcast stations jumped from around $215 million in 2006 to an estimated $7.7 billion in 2016. Dish claims Hearst “refused Dish’s offer to match the rates paid by other pay-TV providers.”
“While we are listening to customers and working on their behalf to keep their TV bills manageable, Hearst is again turning its back on its public interest obligations and using innocent consumers as bargaining chips,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish Network executive vice president of programming, in the Dish statement. “With Dish willing to grant an extension and a retroactive true-up on rates, Hearst had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain by leaving the channels up.”
Hearst Television Inc. stations were dropped from DirecTV following a breakdown in negotiations between the two companies in December. However, the issue was resolved about a week after the stations were dropped.