After several extensions and continued discussions that have stretched for longer than one month, DISH Network and Citadel Communications have reached a new multi-year retransmisson fee agreement that formally brings the ABC affiliate in Providence back to DISH lineups in the Southern New England market.
Citadel’s previous deal with DISH expired Aug. 18, and a first extension was to expire Aug. 23. Several other extensions were granted, a positive for local residents who were told by Dish that they may need digital antennas — which it was distributing — in case it was forced to yank WLNE-6 from local channel lineups in the Providence DMA.
The impasse impacted DISH subscribers in all of Rhode Island; in Bristol County, Mass.; and in Windham County, Conn.
To little surprise, words had been flung by DISH Network blaming Citadel for the situation. In a statement, DISH EVP/Marketing, Programming and Media Sales Warren Schlichting cited Citadel’s “unbending attitude and outrageous demands” as key barriers to reaching a new deal.
Citadel Communications is led by founder and CEO Phil Lombardo, 82, and President/COO Ray Cole.
According to DISH, the new accord with Citadel also extends to ABC affiliate KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb.