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EchoStar Fighting For Lost Channels

LITTLETON, COLO. -Forced to drop local television channels operated by Young Broadcasting in two markets, EchoStar has taken a new retransmission consent complaint to the Federal Communications Commission.

EchoStar said its Dish Network was recently forced to stop transmissions of KRON-NBC in San Francisco and WKRN-ABC in Nashville to subscribers in those areas, after it failed to obtain retransmission consent with Young Broadcasting, the stations’ owner.

EchoStar told the FCC that Young was demanding EchoStar in effect pay four times for the rights to carry its stations and to pay higher-than-normal rates for independent channel carriage.

EchoStar said that included in its demands for the rights to the two stations was that Dish Network also carry at “exorbitant fees” KCAL-TV, an independent Los Angeles TV station, that was not carried by Dish Network. EchoStar added that if KCAL were added, it would be available only to Dish subscribers in Los Angeles.

EchoStar also charged that KRON is to lose its NBC affiliation at the end of the year, and Young demands that the satellite provider continues to pay the same price for the station even after the NBC network programming is gone. Dish Network said it will negotiate retransmission consent with Granite Broadcasting for NBC programming on a new channel that will begin in San Francisco in January 2002.

Meanwhile, EchoStar currently carries KGO-ABC (Ch. 7), KPIX-CBS (Ch. 5) and KTVU-FOX (Ch. 2) for San Francisco subscribers, and WTVF-CBS (Ch. 5), WSMV-NBC (Ch. 4) and WZTV-FOX (Ch. 17) for Nashville subscribers.