This evening, subscribers of Dish Network in 29 local TV stations in 29 markets may have been surprised to find that their local NBC affiliated station has been blacked out.
Cities affected by the Hearst channel blackout include: Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Louisville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Honolulu, Milwaukee and Sacramento. Hearst Television and Dish network have been in a heated retransmission battle, as the two parties have looked to reach a new agreement.
Subscribers in the affected markets were made aware of the blackout possibility through local news outlets and through an information channel Dish Network set up, channel 6. Subscribers were informed that the blackout would go into effect if the two parties could not reach an agreement by 10/9c on Tuesday, April 8.
Local NBC affiliates have began to inform their local viewers to turn to their websites, digital convertor boxes, or to consider switching cable providers.
Dish Network has chosen not to release any statements regarding the negotiation disputes. Disputes such as these often occur over how much the TV provider should be required to pay to carry their channel(s). If an agreement cannot be reached, a blackout tends to occur. In extreme cases, when the neither sides can reach an agreement, the subscribers lose their signals for an extended period of time.
The blackout comes at the return of NBC’s hit series Chicago Fire returns from a two week hiatus. If the blackout continues over a larger period of time, affected viewers will miss out on other hit NBC shows such as Chicago PD, The Voice, The Blacklist, & Community.