Thursday, June 20, 2013
By Ray Routhier firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - Maine customers of Dish Network moved closer Wednesday night to losing Portland's CBS television affiliate.
The contract between Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group -- the owner of WGME (Channel 13) -- appeared likely to expire, with neither side reporting any progress in negotiations as the midnight deadline drew near.
WGME posted a message on Twitter at 11:14 p.m. Wednesday saying, "Dish viewers: Unfortunately, no agreement could be made with Dish." The station urged viewers to contact Dish Network.
John Hall, national spokesman for Dish Network, said negotiations could last into the early morning Thursday.
"Anything is possible," Hall said.
If no agreement is reached, Dish Network customers will lose WGME from their channel lineups.
The contract, among other things, dictates how much Dish Network pays Sinclair Broadcast Group for the right to air its stations.
Neither side will talk about specifics of the stalemate, but a press release put out by Dish this week said Sinclair was asking for a "massive" price increase.
A Sinclair press release said the requested increases are "substantially lower" than what Dish pays for "other far less popular channels."
Both sides declined to say how many Dish Network customers in Maine would be affected by a blackout of WGME.
Hall said he could not disclose the number of Dish Network customers in Maine, for "competitive reasons."
-- Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: