DISH television customers in the Sacramento area lost access to KCRA and other Hearst Television stations Thursday night after the firms failed to reach a contract agreement.
Hearst Television Inc. blacked out DISH customers’ access to its local channels in 26 markets across 30 states Thursday night, according to a DISH Network news release.
DISH said it had offered to extend contract negotiations and accused Hearst of using the blackout to gain leverage in negotiating for higher transmission fees.
A notice on KCRA’s website Thursday night said DISH and Hearst Televisions had reached an impasse in negotiating a renewal transmission consent agreement for DISH to carry Hearst broadcast stations. “As a result, KCRA/KQCA is now no longer being carried by DISH Network,” the statement said.
Hearst also stated that it had not “blacked out” the stations, noting that viewers could receive the stations free over the air with an antenna.
In January, DirectTV subscribers lost access to Hearst stations during a similar dispute between Hearst Television and DirectTV’s parent AT&T. An agreement that restored service to DirectTV customers was reached after nearly a week of negotiations.