WICHITA FALLS, TX (Jan. 7, 2023)—On Friday night, January 6th, 26 Mission Broadcasting local television stations in 25 markets across the United States were forced off DISH Network’s distribution system when the contract between Mission and DISH expired. As a result of DISH’s action, more than 800,000 DISH subscribers are unable to watch the national and local community programming provided by these stations, including programming on Mission’s 7 ABC affiliates, as well as key NFL games on Mission’s 2 CBS, 11 FOX, and 3 NBC stations. This timing is particularly troubling for subscribers as these CBS, FOX, and NBC stations all carry NFL games through the end of the season, as well as the NFL playoffs, culminating with the Super Bowl on FOX on February 12th.
“We are extremely disappointed in the DISH Network’s unwillingness to forge an agreement,” said Dennis Thatcher, Mission Broadcasting Inc.’s President. “We are simply seeking the same fair agreement that we have come to with other cable, satellite, and telco providers for the high-quality programming we provide. We produce thousands of hours of local news and programming. We pay our network partners millions of dollars for entertainment programming and live sports. The cost to do these things has, understandably, gone up significantly—especially live sports rights—and these costs are passed along to us, the station owner. DISH has put more than 800,000 of their subscribers in the middle, denying them programming they’ve already paid for, rather than negotiating on the basis of current market conditions. Mission has a long track record of negotiating fairly and avoiding service interruptions in our markets, and we don’t want viewers in our local markets to miss any of the vitally important local news, sports, and weather coverage we deliver every day. Our record of positive negotiations stands in stark contrast to that of DISH. Many, many subscribers will have seen DISH behave this way in the past. Holding the subscriber hostage is their way off doing business. In addition, DISH is trying to deny Mission stations to subscribers in many B, C, and D counties, where so many rely on satellite service, as cable companies won’t deliver.”
Mission Broadcasting is the largest female majority-owned local broadcasting company in the United States.