Tribune Broadcasting Pulls the Plug on Millions of Consumers in the Largest TV Blackout this Year

Consumer Blackout Affects TV Viewers in 34 States and D.C.
ATVA Urges FCC to Act to Protect Consumers from Further Harm   

Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance (ATVA) today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action to protect consumers from a massive consumer blackout affecting millions of DISH customers from coast-to-coast.  On Sunday evening, Tribune Broadcasting Company rejected a proposal that would have kept local channels up for consumers.  Instead Tribune chose to pull the plug on 42 local channels for pay-TV consumers in 34 states and the District of Columbia.  

ATVA national spokesman Trent Duffy commented on the largest consumer TV blackout this year:     

“Tribune Broadcasting is holding the NBA Finals, the Tony Awards, the Stanley Cup Final and scores of other popular programs for ransom in a brazen attempt to get consumers to pay more money for channels that are available for free over the air.  

“Tribune Broadcasting Company is depriving hundreds of thousands of families of some of the biggest and most anticipated events of the year.  Musical fans will miss Broadway’s biggest night; hockey fans will be in the dark; and kids and NBA fans across America won’t be able to watch LeBron James play Steph Curry.    

“There is only one party responsible for this blackout and that is the Tribune Broadcasting Company.  Tribune alone has the power to restore its signal and stop hurting consumers.  This massive consumer blackout – the largest blackout this year – is more compelling evidence of why the FCC must act on retrans reform to protect innocent consumers.       

“Outdated laws allow broadcasters to fleece loyal TV viewers in a blackout shakedown: pay more or they yank your station off the air.  The FCC is currently examining these abusive broadcaster tactics and the Commission is poised to take strong action to protect consumers.

“We urge the Commission to act swiftly on ATVA’s retrans reform proposals – to prevent forced bundling and blackouts immediately before marquee events – and protect fans and loyal TV viewers from further harm.”

Nationwide, broadcasters pulled the plug on American consumers 193 times in 2015, a new single-calendar year record.  Network takedowns have surged over the past five years; in 2010 there were only eight black outs across the country.   TV Blackouts affected 12 million American homes – one of every eight pay TV subscribers – in 2015.    

  • 62 Blackouts to date in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010


The American Television Alliance (ATVA) brings together an unprecedented coalition of consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies, and independent programmers to raise awareness about the risk TV viewers face as broadcasters increasingly threaten service disruptions that would deny viewers access to the programs they and their families enjoy.

For more information about ATVA, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter @ATVAlliance.




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