SOURCE: Fisher Communications, Inc.

December 18, 2008 15:40 ET

DISH Network Carriage Agreement With Fisher Communications, Inc. Expires

DISH Customers in the Seattle and Yakima, WA; Portland and Eugene, OR; Boise and Idaho Falls, ID; and Bakersfield, CA Markets Lose Ability to Receive Fisher's Signal and Programming; Fisher Also Files Breach of Contract Lawsuit Against DISH in Federal Court

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - December 18, 2008) - DISH Network's satellite carriage agreement with Fisher Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSCI) expired on December 17, 2008, immediately leaving DISH customers in 7 media markets without the ability to receive Fisher's programming. Stations no longer available to DISH customers are: KOMO and KUNS in Seattle, KIMA and KUNW in Yakima, KATU in Portland, KVAL in Eugene, KBCI in Boise, KIDK in Idaho Falls, and KBAK and KBFX in Bakersfield.

"Despite Fisher's good-faith efforts to negotiate a new agreement, we were unable to reach acceptable terms to ensure that DISH provides us fair compensation for the value they receive from broadcasting our stations, which have leading positions in their markets and consistently deliver highly viewed news and programming," said Rob Dunlop, Fisher's Senior Vice President of Operations. "Our signal remains available over the public airwaves and through other service providers such as cable or DIRECTV. We regret any inconvenience DISH Network viewers may experience as they look for other options in order to watch our stations."

In light of the inclement weather impacting much of the Pacific Northwest and concerns about public safety, Fisher attempted to extend the expiration of the current agreement until Monday, December 22 to ensure that DISH customers in the region could continue to receive news and weather updates. However, DISH rejected the Company's proposal.

Separately, Fisher announced that it has filed a $1 million breach of contract lawsuit over DISH's failure to comply with the terms of the prior carriage agreement. The lawsuit was filed earlier today in federal district court in Oregon.

Fisher claims that DISH violated the terms of the carriage agreement when it failed to retransmit KUNP-TV's signal from July 2006, when Fisher acquired the station, until April 30, 2008. In addition, DISH has not paid Fisher any carriage fees for KUNP, as specified in the prior agreement.

In its complaint, Fisher also said that DISH breached the prior carriage agreement when it failed to pay Fisher in full for broadcasting KBAK and KBFX on its system. On January 1, 2008, Fisher acquired the two stations from Westwind Communications. While DISH has acknowledged that it has underpaid Fisher during that time period, it has not submitted proper payments to the Company.

About Fisher Communications

Fisher Communications, Inc. is a Seattle-based communications company that owns and operates 13 full power television stations (including a 50%-owned television station), 7 low power television stations and 8 radio stations in the Western United States. The Company owns and operates Fisher Pathways, a satellite and fiber transmission provider; Fisher Plaza, a media, telecommunications, and data center facility located near downtown Seattle; and Pegasus News, an online start-up and hyper-local media pioneer based in Dallas. For more information about Fisher Communications, Inc., go to

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