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EchoStar Fails to Sign Deals With 4 Stations

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Television: But its shares leap as it extends pacts with 121 of 125 channels on its Dish Network.

May 31, 2000|From Bloomberg News

LITTLETON, Colo. — EchoStar Communications Corp., the second-largest U.S. satellite-television broadcaster, failed to win new contracts from WWOR-TV in New York and stations in three other cities, leaving about 100,000 customers without those channels.

WWOR, a UPN affiliate owned by Chris-Craft Industries Inc.; WTVF, a CBS affiliate in Nashville, owned by Landmark Communications Inc.; WFTC, a Clear Channel Communications Inc.-owned Fox affiliate in Minneapolis; and KTVX, a Chris-Craft ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, did not re-sign with EchoStar. EchoStar did extend broadcast agreements with 121 of 125 channels on its Dish Network, the company said.

A federal law enacted in November lets satellite companies carry local TV broadcasts, and EchoStar and rival Hughes Electronics Corp.'s DirecTV had until Monday to negotiate terms with the stations.

EchoStar, which said it got more time to reach agreements covering another dozen stations, said Landmark and Chris-Craft insisted on adding programming along with the local signals, and Clear Channel refused to negotiate.

Shares of Littleton, Colo.--based EchoStar rose $4.75 to $43.44 on Nasdaq. The announcement helped bolster investor optimism after many were concerned about when EchoStar would announce its retransmission agreements, analysts said.

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