The Maine Senate delegation is calling out DirecTV and parent AT&T for importing TV station distant signals into Presque Isle, Maine, rather than delivering the local stations. Unlike cable operators, satellite operators don’t have to carry local TV stations, though if they carry one they must carry all. Presque Isle is one of a dozen of the smallest markets where DirecTV has chosen not to carry the stations.
The lawmakers from Colorado and Wyoming say the satellite operator’s offering of distant signals from New York and Los Angeles in place of local affiliates in 12 small markets is “unacceptable” and “must end.”
TV station groups should thank Time Warner Cable for the wake-up call. It’s unlikely that station owners will ever again craft a contract without explicit, inarguable language saying their stations cannot be imported into a faraway market.