Bonten stations go dark on Dish over fee impasse


Bonten Media GroupSixteen stations (which include stations it provides services for) from NYC-based Bonten Media went dark for DISH Network subscribers over a retransmission contract impasse over the weekend. DISH decided to go ahead with the blackouts “despite significant efforts” to negotiate a new contract, spokeswoman Danielle Johnson told The Missoulian: “We are available around the clock to negotiate a deal to restore the channels,” Johnson said, adding that Bonten rejected DISH’s offer of another short-term contract extension that would keep the channels on the bird. The sides had agreed to a one-week extension that ended 12/8.

Johnson told the paper the sticking point is Bonten’s “refusal to budge from its demand for a 300 percent rate increase. Bonten rejected an offer to match rates it receives from DISH’s primary competition, she said, and also declined to accept the same rates DISH pays to other broadcasters in the area.”

“Our response is when you’re dealing with small numbers, percentages can sound bigger, look bigger than the money involved and the numbers involved,” Richard Reingold, VP/GM, NBC Montana responded to the paper by saying. “What we’re asking DISH for is literally a few pennies a day per subscriber…We think we’re very much in the zone of being reasonable. This is in line with agreements we’ve reached with many other distributors. We’ve never run into this roadblock before. Often (negotiations) go down to the wire, but we’ve always reached an agreement before.”

Some of the dark stations include:

WCYB: Tri-Cities, Tennessee & Virginia (NBC)

WEMT: Tri-Cities, Tennessee & Virginia (Fox)

WCTI 12: Greenville & New Bern, North Carolina (ABC)

WFXI/WYDO: Greenville-New Bern-Washington, North Carolina (Fox)

KTXS 12: Abilene, Texas (ABC)

KTXE: San Angelo, Texas (ABC)

KRCR: Redding, Chico & Red Bluff, California  (ABC)

KAEF: Eureka, California

KECI: Missoula, Montana

KTVM: Butte-Bozeman, Montana

KCFW: Kalispell, Montana (NBC)

See the Missoulian story here



  1. Talk about getting OLD … FIRST our CBS and ABC stations then our NBC channels. I think someone in New York better figure out how to GET IT TOGETHER before we all say to heck with it and go back to rabbit ears or Comcast!!!! The consumer DOES NOT need 100s of channels to enjoy local/national TV!

  2. I don’t think Randall Bongarten and Bonten Media Group has the ability and energy to keep their broadcasting going well into the future. If Randall Bongarten and Bonten Media Group choose to fail to allow Dish to have all of their stations back on including the FOX stations before Super Bowl 48 than Randall Bongarten and Bonten Media Group will did what Cordillera Communications did to the Time Warner Cable system in Corpus Christi, Texas by choosing to fail to allow the cable system in Corpus Christi, Texas to have KRIS back on in time for Super Bowl 46 in February 2012 by self destructing themselves and the broadcasting group as a whole and wound up decided to sell all of their stations at fire sale prices. I feel that Randall Bongarten and Bonten Media Group should think about selling all of their stations right now if Randall Bongarten and Bonten Media Group isn’t willing to allow Dish to have the FOX stations back on Dish before Super Bowl 48 with my idea of me wanting News Press Gazette acquiring KECI/KCFW, KTVM, KRCR, KAEF, KCVU, KBVU, KRVU/KZVU, and Raycom acquiring KTXS/KTES LP, KTXE LP, WCYB/WEMT, WCTI/WFXI/WYDO as the only last resort for Dish to put those stations back on sooner in time for the FOX stations broadcasting FOX broadcast of Super Bowl 48 then never under Randall Bongarten and Bonten Media Group control.
    The dispute is mainly wanting Dish to pay the increase in retransmission consent fees and how much it wants to pay for the Bonten stations to help pay for the improvements over at the Bonten stations, pay for the rights for ABC, NBC, and FOX, local and syndicated programming, pay it’s debts from their failed attempt to acquire WTVF in Nashville from Landmark in 2008 due to the bankruptcy and collapse of Lehman Brothers, and pay it’s debts from refinancing for it’s overhead operations.

  3. I just hooked up my roof antenna and get my local stations for FREE. And still get Dish channels. Bah humbug to Bonten for blacking out our local programming especially during football season…

    • I live in a very rural area and cannot get local channels even with an antenna. I am one of the unfortunate who must rely on satellite tv(no cable available either). Very disappointed in the total unnecessary game-playing.

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