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Utahns with Dish Network will lose 2 more local TV stations because of a contract dispute

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2011, file photo, Dish Network satellite dishes are shown at an apartment complex in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Dish Network subscribers in Utah lost access to two local TV stations and two national networks on Wednesday — both KTVX-Channel 4 (an ABC affiliate) and KUCW-Channel 30 (a CW affiliate) were removed from its lineup.

It is not, however, a local issue. Dish has been unable to come to terms with Nexstar, which owns both KTVX and KUCW — and 162 more stations across the country, as well as cable channel WGN America, all of which have been dropped by Dish.

As is almost always the case in these situations, Dish claims Nexstar is demanding too much money. Dish issued a statement insisting it “made a fair offer to keep Nexstar stations available to our customers, but Nexstar rejected it.” The satellite provider says Nexstar is “demanding” more than $1 billion.

Nexstar, not surprisingly, insists that Dish is offering “less than fair market value” and is refusing to carry WGN America at all. “Since Dish proposals are not at all in line with the reality of current market rates, Nexstar is left with no choice but to reject any extension of the current agreement.”

Dish Network subscribers should be accustomed to this. Just four months ago, the satellite TV provider cut KSTU — aka FOX 13 – from its lineup because of a contract dispute with that station’s owner, Ohio-based E.W. Scripps Company. They reached an agreement about six weeks later.

And Dish has a long history of disputes like this, including some that have never been resolved. Among the blackouts over the years: ViacomCBS, Fox, MSG Networks, SNY, AMC Networks, Big Ten Network, Turner Networks, NBC’s regional sports channels, and local station groups including Sinclair, Belo, Hearst, Heritage, Tegna and more, affecting hundreds of stations.

HBO has been off Dish since November 2018, and there’s no indication the two will ever reach an agreement.

So far in 2020, Dish has had the same sort of disputes with station owners Apollo and Mission Broadcasting, in addition to E.W. Scripps, as well as the NFL Network and 21 regional sports networks.

Dish is infamous for these disputes, but it isn’t alone. KSL-Channel 5 was off DirecTV from August 2018 until April 2019, when the two sides finally reached an agreement.

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