DirecTV could lose more than 40 Raycom stations in the coming days, according to viewer alerts posted today at the station’s websites. “The DirecTV satellite system is about to drop us and break that critical link to our viewers,” reads the Raycom viewer warning. “We are currently working hard to make sure DirecTV customers continue to have access to [the Raycom stations] without interruption. But there is a chance they will not agree to a fair deal, and decide to drop [Raycom] from their system.”
(Satellite Business News) — For the second time in a year, DBS customers face the prospect of losing access via satellite to the local TV stations owned by Raycom Media.
Late yesterday, many of the broadcaster’s stations started alerting those who are customers of AT&T’s DirecTv service that the two company’s retransmission consent agreement will expire at the end of the month, at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 31.
Many of the stations posted warnings on their websites, and a few of the stations had their general managers take to the air to read a statement from Raycom.
“There is a chance the DirecTv [service] will drop us soon, and break that critical link to you,” the stations’ general managers said and web statements read. “We are currently working hard to make sure DirecTv customers continue to have access to [the Raycom stations] without interruption. But they may not agree to a fair deal, and decide to drop this station from their [service].”
Each station noted their involvement in the local market, and in some instances, the charities they support. They also said they were “proud to be your neighbor and serve” the local areas. Raycom’s website states it operates 65 TV stations in 44 markets.
It mostly serves mid-size and smaller markets, but does have stations in Sarasota, Fla.; Cleveland; Charlotte; Cincinnati, West Palm Beach; Birmingham, Ala.; Louisville; and New Orleans.
Raycom is a habitual player in the retransmission consent wars. This past spring, AT&T’s other video service, the wireline “U-verse,” lost access to the Raycom stations. And last summer, at about the same time, Dish Network’s DBS service and Raycom went down to the wire before reaching a new retransmission consent agreement.
Three years ago this month, the Raycom stations went dark on DirecTV, which was not then owned by AT&T, for a week when the two sides hit a retrans agreement stalemate. As of last night, the website DirecTV operates regarding retransmission consent disputes had not been updated to cover the Raycom situation.
Meanwhile, the retransmission consent agreement extension Dish Network reached with Citadel Communications is set to expire at 7 p.m. tonight barring a new deal between the two companies.
Citadel owns the ABC affiliates in Providence, R.I., and in Lincoln, Neb. As reported, the two companies extended their agreement, which had been set to expire Friday night, until tonight. Dish Network did not respond to an inquiry about the status of the talks last night reported, Dish Network is installing off-air TV antennas for certain of its customers in the Providence market at no additional charge.
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