Fox Sports Arizona could be next.

A week after AZ Family announced Dish Network had dropped its CBS 5 and 3TV stations off its airways on July 16, FSAZ remains on air through a “temporary extension” while a new contract is negotiated. 

Dish representative Erica Dilk confirmed Monday afternoon that FSAZ was still available to its customers.

“DISH’s goal is to keep these channels available to our customers.” the satellite TV-provider said in a statement this past weekend. “We are unsure why Disney, the new owner of these channels, decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”

Brett Hansen, FSAZ’s senior director of communication and marketing, deferred comment to the corporate office in Los Angeles regarding the situation.

Fox Sports West Director of Communications Whitney Burak confirmed via email that FSAZ has reached a “temporary extension” with Dish, which owns Sling TV.

“We currently are in a temporary extension with Dish/Sling TV as we try to work towards an agreement,” Burak said.

Fox Sports has a website,, to update its viewers on the negotiations.

“The FOX Sports Regional Networks and DISH/Sling have reached a temporary extension while we work together towards an agreement for carriage of these networks.” a statement on the website reads. “Thank you for your continued support and check back for future updates.”

More than 21 of the Fox Sports Regional Network channels, including Arizona, will be impacted by these negotiations.

FSAZ is the broadcast station for the Diamondbacks, Suns and Coyotes.

Josh Greene, director of publications for the Diamondbacks, Casey Taggatz, vice president communications and content for the Suns, and Rich Nairn, executive vice president of communications and broadcasting for the Coyotes, all respectfully declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations with the network.  

As for CBS 5 and 3TV, Dish announced on July 16 in a statement that Meredith Corporation, which owns the stations, had “blacked out” Dish customers’ access to its local channels “in an effort to gain negotiating leverage as it demands higher monthly rates.”

Kevin James, vice president and general manager for the stations, responded to Dish’s statement: “Based on Dish’s point of view, they would want to put a statement out there that puts them in the best light.”

James said the individual stations aren’t involved in the negotiations, but he believes the stations will come off Dish’s signal if the two corporations can’t mutually agree on a deal.

However, he had no problem in calling Dish’s statement suggesting Meredith Corporation was completely at fault as “totally inaccurate.”     

Dish’s release also said Meredith Corporation was asking the carrier “to pay for subscribers who choose to receive their local channels for free over the air.”

Meredith Corporation channels are being affected in 12 markets, including Arizona.

“To be clear, Meredith Corporation chose to black out its own viewers,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior vice president of programming, in a statement. “We offered an extension to keep the channels up while we reach a deal, but they refused. Instead, Meredith chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use its viewers as bargaining chips.”

To which James said: “Anybody can get us over the air for free. If you have an antenna, you can get our signal anywhere in the Valley.

“Part of being a broadcaster in this country is to be able to provide your content and your signal free of charge to anyone who wants to access it with an antenna.”

LeCuyer also suggested Meredith Corporation would need to make the next move.

“The channels could come back today if Meredith would allow it, and we can restore the channels immediately if they give us the green light,” LeCuyer said in the statement. “On behalf of customers, we ask Meredith to stop punishing its own viewers so we can focus on reaching a fair deal.”

James said Meredith Corporation had been trying to negotiate in “good faith” for months with DISH. When asked what’s fair to both sides and the difference in dollars, James was not in a position to discuss that part of the situation.

“That’s above my pay grade,” he said.

AZ Family has asked subscribers on its website to call Dish at 1-800-333-3474 and request CBS 5 and 3TV return to the lineup or “Press 1” to leave a message for “Arizona Family regarding Dish.

After pressing 1, James, in a voicemail message, apologies for the inconvenience “caused by Dish’s refusal to fully negotiate” with Meredith.

“We are ready, willing and able to close a fair deal with Dish,” he says on the message. “Our company has reached fair deals hundreds of times without cable operators taking our signal from their customers.”

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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