DirecTV’s broadcast battles continued Jan. 12, after about 18 News-Press & Gazette TV stations in seven states went dark to its subscribers in yet another retransmission consent dispute.
The News-Press stations are affiliates of all four major broadcast networks and are located mainly in mid-sized markets like Bend, Oregon; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Palm Springs, Calif.; and Colorado Springs, Colo.
“We’re sorry you’re caught in the middle,” News-Press said on its website, adding that it did not know when the dispute would be resolved.
News of the dispute was first reported by TVpredictions.com.
This is the second sizeable retrans dispute for DirecTV in the New Year. On Jan.1, Tribune Media stations in 26 markets went dark to the satellite TV service’s customers. Those stations were returned after a deal was reached on Jan. 7.
In a statement, DirecTV parent AT&T said pricing was the main culprit in the most recent dispute –it claimed News-Press is demanding a “significant increase in fees” to continue carriage.
“News-Press & Gazette has suspended its stations from our customers and threatened others before so we appreciate our DirecTV customers' patience as we work to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably," AT&T said in the statement.
While DirecTV and News-Press battle it out, Cox Communications and Altice USA are bracing for a possible loss of some broadcast signals later tonight. Cox could lose access to seven Tegna stations at 11:59 p.m. if a retrans pact is not reached, including stations in Washington, D.C.; New Orleans; and Norfolk, Va. If those stations go dark, it would be the second retrans blackout for Cox in the past two months. On Dec. 16, Midwest TV’s San Diego CBS affiliate KFMB went dark to Cox subscribers for 4 ½ hours.
The seven stations that could go dark to Cox customers are: WUSA (CBS), Washington, D.C.; KPNX (NBC), Phoenix; WMAZ (CBS), Macon, Ga.; WWL (CBS), New Orleans; WURL (MyTV), New Orleans; WKYC (NBC), Cleveland; and WVEC (ABC), Norfolk, Va.
Altice USA has warned customers that the second CBS affiliate in Connecticut, WFSB, could also go dark if a deal is not reached before 5 p.m. Jan. 13.