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DISH customers lose access to Apollo stations

DISH Network Corp. customers lost access to stations owned by Apollo Global Management Inc. in 10 markets across nine states after the companies failed to reach a new retransmission consent agreement.

The previous agreement between the parties expired Jan. 18.

DISH said Apollo also rejected DISH's offer to extend the current contract, with payment, to keep the channels available to customers through NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. DISH claimed Apollo was asking for nearly double the rate it previously received for continued carriage of Northwest Broadcasting Inc. channels, which the private equity firm acquired in 2019.

The affected stations are: ABC affiliate KLAX-TV in Alexandria, La.; FOX affiliate WICZ-TV in Binghamton, N.Y.; MyNetworkTV affiliate WBPN in Binghamton, N.Y.; NBC affiliate KIEM-TV in Eureka, Calif.; CBS affiliate KVIQ-TV in Eureka, Calif.; ABC affiliate WABG-TV in Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.; FOX affiliate WABGD-TV in Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.; NBC affiliate WNBD-TV in Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.; CBS affiliate WXVT-TV in Greenwood-Greenville, Miss.; NBC affiliate KPVI-TV in Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Idaho; FOX affiliate KMVU-TV in Medford-Klamath Falls, Ore.; MyNetworkTV affiliate KFBI-TV in Medford-Klamath Falls, Ore.; FOX affiliate KAYU-TV in Spokane, Wash.; FOX affiliate WSYT-TV in Syracuse, N.Y.; MyNetworkTV affiliate WNYS-TV in Syracuse, N.Y.; FOX affiliate KCYU-TV in Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash.; CBS affiliate KSWT-TV in Yuma, Ariz.-El Centro, Calif.; and NBC affiliate KYMA-TV in Yuma, Ariz-El Centro, Calif.

Additionally, DISH said it avoided a larger blackout of Apollo stations after an Illinois court issued a temporary restraining order against Apollo, blocking it from blacking out 14 stations it purchased from Cox Enterprises Inc. about a month ago.

"Apollo intentionally delayed negotiations and purposely chose NFL Championship weekend to remove its channels, to inflict maximum pain for consumers," Andy LeCuyer, senior vice president of programming at DISH, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, COX Media Group President Kim Guthrie said the company is "seeking a fair agreement with DISH to carry these channels. DISH already pays much more for national networks like ESPN, even though far fewer people watch ESPN than any of our local stations."