Lilly Stations Return To DISH Network


HAIKU, HAWAII — After nearly two months of darkness for DISH Network subscribers and a slatemate in its negotiations with this independent broadcast TV company based in Erie, Pa., for a new retransmission fee agreement, Lilly Broadcasting‘s stations will soon be returning to the DBS provider’s lineups in five impacted regions.

In a statement released late Thursday (11/30) by DISH, it said a multi-year agreement with Lilly had been reached.

A statement appearing on the website for Lilly’s ABC-affiliated KITV-4 in Honolulu mirrored the language of DISH’s statement and offered no comment.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, and DISH did not state when the stations would make their return to its lineups in Erie, Pa.; Elmira-Corning, N.Y., the state of Hawai’i, and the Caribbean (namely Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

DISH Network on Oct. 2, by law, took Lilly Broadcasting stations off of its lineups in the five areas, as a new retrans deal had not been reached in time for a smooth transition from Lilly’s old agreement with the DBS company.

The yanking of Lilly stations on DISH had the American Cable Association peeved, as the unique ABC and CBS satellite stations serving the U.S. Caribbean territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands — originating from Elmira and Erie, respectively — were pulled as the region was starting to recover from Hurricane Maria; whether viewers had electricity and a working DISH Network receiver was never put to question.

However, Lilly Broadcasting COO John Christianson gave the go-ahead to DISH 24 hours after news broke of the signals being pulled that DISH could continue to carry its channels in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands “to help those that can still see the networks keep informed as to what is happening in their region.”

That left the entire state of Hawai’i, the Erie area, and the Twin Tiers of New York and Pennsylvania still unresolved.

DISH said it was “unable to establish viable economic terms for a renewed retransmission agreement.” DISH further assailed Lilly for demanding from DISH and, “by extension, its customers, unreasonable rate increases.” It also slammed Lilly for allegedly refusing DISH’s offer to match the rates paid by other pay-TV providers.

Now back on DISH in addition to KITV-4 and KITV-4.2, which serve the entire state of Hawaii, are WENY-36 in Elmira-Corning and its DT-2 signal, which offers CBS programming to the Twin Tiers; Erie-market CW affiliate WBEP and NBC affiliate WICU-TV, in addition to WSEE-TV.