AT&T: Nexstar Pushes Retrans Meeting to Saturday

Talks still on as tropical storm closes in on the Gulf
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It looks like AT&T’s DirecTV and Uverse customers will have to wait at least another day for the possible resolution of the week-long retransmission consent battle between the pay TV giant and Nexstar Media Group.

AT&T said earlier this morning that it was scheduled to meet Friday at its El Segundo, California headquarters with Nexstar executives to begin talks to hammer out a deal. About 120 Nexstar stations in 97 markets have been dark to DirecTV, DirecTV Now and Uverse subscribers since 11:59 p.m (MT) on July 3. But by later in the day, that Friday meeting had been postponed.

“AT&T has been ready to negotiate since Nexstar removed its stations more than a week ago,” AT&T said in a statement. “As we enter the second week of their blackout of our customers, Nexstar has canceled our scheduled meeting for Friday and it now has been rescheduled for Saturday.”

Officials at the broadcaster did not immediately return requests for comment.  

Nexstar has said that it continues to negotiate in good faith with AT&T to hammer out a retrans deal, and has offered an unconditional extension to the distributor that would allow them to continue carrying the stations until Aug. 8 while they try to hammer out an agreement. AT&T has said the extension is rife with conditions it is not willing to adhere to.

AT&T also said earlier today that it is launching national and local emergency weather information services on Friday [July 12] to keep customers up to date on developing conditions surrounding Tropical Storm Barry in the Gulf region.

The storm is expected to become at least a Category 1 hurricane by the time it is expected to make landfall somewhere between the Florida panhandle and Louisiana by Saturday. The storm already had dumped about 9 inches of rain in New Orleans in just three hours Wednesday and is expected to be slow moving, dumping 15-to-20 inches of rain on the area over the next several days.

AT&T said a combination of national and local emergency weather information services will be available to DirecTV customers on channel 361 and to Uverse customers on channels 1226 (HD) and 226 (SD) and are similar to ones created for Hurricane Michael (2018), Hurricane Irma (2017), Superstorm Sandy (2012) and other prior weather emergencies.

Several major local station groups, including Sinclair Broadcast Group, Fox Television Stations, Meredith Broadcasting, Hearst Television and others have each agreed to provide local news footage to the cooperative effort. These emergency weather services will integrate local coverage spanning several markets along the Gulf including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Lake Charles, Louisiana; Houston and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama-Pensacola, Florida. One of the channels distributed nationwide will allow family, friends and others to keep apprised of developments in the Gulf region as Tropical Storm Barry heads toward landfall, currently expected Saturday.

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Another local service will feature a four-screen mosaic including multiplexed coverage from local stations, as well as national weather services, and will allow any AT&T customers to follow the weather as it moves from one city to another, potentially placing them in harm’s way. Currently in the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Barry is expected to achieve hurricane conditions as soon as Friday or Saturday. 

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