WGN-TV is currently blacked out on DISH Network as Tribune Media Company’s contract with Dish expired. Another channel affected by this blackout is “WGN-America,” which is a nation-wide channel. Tribune Media has claimed that they’ve offered extensions to the previous contract to prevent the blackout during negotiations, but they say that DISH has turned those down. However, in an article by the Wall Street Journal, they say that both DISH and Tribune Media said yes to an extension, but couldn’t agree on the terms of that extension.
As a result of this blackout, Tribune Media has started a “Dump Dish” campaign in an attempt to encourage subscribers who get one of Tribune Media’s Channels to either get their antennas out or switch to an alternate pay-TV service. This has angered DISH and they have now filed a lawsuit against Tribune Media. In a statement published on Consumerist, DISH attorneys said in their initial complaint that “Tribune’s publication of the misleading and deceptive statements on its channels and these websites causes actual harm to DISH. Among other things, DISH’s subscribers flood DISH’s customer service lines with questions about the Tribune messages, some subscribers cancel their DISH subscriptions, and DISH’s goodwill as a reliable service provider is eroded.”
Tribune Media responded to that statement by stating that this is DISH Network’s fifth blackout with a channel or even a group of channels in three years. One of the more recent blackouts that was averted at the last minute was with Viacom as they almost got blacked out. A deal was reached to avoid a blackout. This occurred back in late April of 2016.
This isn’t the only battle that DISH Network is in right now. On June 16 at 6 PM Central Daylight Time, The NFL Network and NFL RedZone channels were also blacked out as result of a contract dispute. With it currently the off-season for NFL Football, it won’t stir up a lot of issues, but could stir up issues if the channels aren’t restored by the time pre-season starts in August.
It is currently unknown when both these disputes will end, but right now it appears both are still in negotiations.