Could DirecTV Dump Hearst’s Stations On Sunday?

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Happy New Year! Now, grab the rabbit ears.


That could be the first thing DirecTV subscribers in some 26 DMAs may need to do on Sunday, should they wish to continue watching local broadcast television stations owned by Hearst Television.

DirecTV and Hearst are still negotiating a renewal of retransmission consent agreements for the carriage of all Hearst stations on the DBS provider.

If there’s no deal by the time the clock strikes Midnight on New Year’s Eve, 31 full-power TV stations — and their digital multicast partners — could go dark on DirecTV.

Among the stations that could lose DirecTV coverage are ABC affiliate WTAE-4 in Pittsburgh; NBC affiliate KCRA-3 in Sacramento; NBC WESH-2 and The CW WKCF-18 in Orlando; WPBF-25 in West Palm Beach; and ABC WCVB-5 in Boston — arguably its biggest TV station.

Loss of coverage of WCVB couldn’t come at a worse time, as the Boston market braces for the shift of NBC programming from WHDH-7 to the new WBTS-LD.

In a statement appearing on the websites of its TV stations, Hearst explains that satellite distributors are prohibited by law from carrying broadcasters’ signals without their consent.

The removal of a TV station’s signal from the DirecTV system “will only result if negotiations between representatives of Hearst Television and DirecTV are unsuccessful in reaching a conclusion before January 1, 2017.”

Hearst is confident a deal can be reached by the Ball Drop from Times Square on Saturday night. It noted that the company “has a long history of successfully concluding carriage agreements with cable companies and other satellite distributors with no disruption of service to subscribers.”

Hearst added, “While we believe that we and DirecTV can conclude our negotiations before Jan. 1, so as not to deprive any of our respective viewers and customers of our programming, we want to advise our viewers and customers that the possibility of non-renewal of our current agreement exists.”

Neither AT&T nor DirecTV have publicly commented on the ongoing negotiation with Hearst.


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Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This would have us lose all of our local stations if they do not agree on a contract. I am praying that they reach a contract before midnight. Need to have local news in NH. Dish Network did this years ago, but no one let us know. Woke up one morning and no local news. Cancelled Dish immediately. I love Direct TV and don’t want to have to look for someone else for our TV, but I guess I will have too if we don’t have our local news.

  2. Again another example of Corporate greed. Two mammoth communication corporations fight over profits while the people who pay their bills suffer. Get your act together and get this settled.
    I am so disgusted with both sides!

  3. I (and many others I know) will not be watching KCRA-3 news once the channel is restored after this. I blame Hearst not Direct TV. I mean really, you pull the plug on New Years Eve. Way to care about your customers.

  4. It sucks for me to miss out on the season premiere of Match Game on Hearst ABC affiliate KMBC-9! I just switched from Dish to DirecTV last July, and now DirecTV has to be greedy and black out the Hearst stations…what a fool DirecTV has been!

  5. You greedy bastards! I’m another victim who dropped Dish when they lost AMC. Went to Direct TV after that and until now have been quite happy. I have spoken with them on the phone and it does not sound like much progress is being made. With AT&T involved I know they have plenty of money and could have these channels turned back on immediately if they would just give the “hostage takers” what they want. So why not do that and work out the details later–leaving the customer out of it? We are always the ones to suffer and get NOTHING for it. I’m unplugging my receiver box and can get KCRA (Sacramento) without a provider! I may cancel completely. This crap happens too often. These large corporations should be able to settle their differences without putting the customer in the middle. It’s just a ploy to gain leverage!

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