Manship's two ABC affiliates -- WBRZ Baton Rouge, La., and KRGV Weslaco, Texas,-- went dark on DirecTV last Friday night. “After months of attempting to come to an agreement, DirecTV has failed to realize the importance of local news and entertainment and pulled programming from its lineup," said Manship in a statement.
DirecTV Loses 2 ABC Affils In Retrans Dispute
(Satellite Business News) — Two ABC affiliates in smaller markets went dark Friday night on AT&T’s DirecTV DBS service after the DBS service and the stations’ owner could not reach a new retransmission consent agreement. The stations — WBRZ in Baton Rouge, La. (DMA 93), and KRGV in Weslaco, Texas (DMA 84) — are owned by Louisiana Television Broadcasting [Manship family].
In a statement on the Baton Rouge’s station’s website, the broadcaster said: “After months of attempting to come to an agreement, DirecTV has failed to realize the importance of local news and entertainment and pulled programming from its lineup.” The station said “DirecTV customers are not being allowed to watch the station’s local news or ABC television shows” and DirecTV’s “decision to remove the local broadcast station only impacts its customers — people who have paid for services from other companies such as Cox or Charter are not impacted nor are people who use an antenna to receive WBRZ free of charge, over-the-air.”
The station also said it is “not the only television station experiencing an issue. This week, a dozen other stations across the country were dealing with similar issues involving DirecTV.”
On the other station’s website, it said the broadcaster “continues to negotiate in good faith with DirecTV and we hope to reach a resolution in a timely manner.”
On the website it operates regarding retransmission consent impasses, DirecTV posted the same boilerplate language it uses for all such episodes, and which has become all too familiar. The DBS services said it shares its subscribers’ “frustration because Louisiana Television is deliberately preventing [its stations] from reaching [the subscriber] home until Louisiana Television receives a significant increase in fees even though [viewers] can still watch its shows for free over-the-air” on on-line.” DirecTV said it has “asked Louisiana Television repeatedly to allow you to watch while we work this business matter out privately, but Louisiana Television continues to refuse.”
The DirecTV-Louisiana Television is but one of several retransmission disputes that have left subscribers to DirecTV and Dish Network without access via satellite to local broadcast stations around the nation—in a unusual situation even given the recent rash of such incidents.
Dish Network subscribers across the country continue to unable to watch Hearst Television’s stations in 30 markets in one of the longest retrans conflicts to go on for so long that impacts so many consumers. The Hearst stations went dark on Dish March 2 and neither company will even say whether they are talking to each other.
The week before last, stations owned or operated by Lilly Broadcasting and SJL Broadcasting left DirecTV’s service after those two companies failed to cut a new retrans deal. And DirecTV subscribers in Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska, have now gone more than two months without access to several stations owned by Denali Media Holdings.
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