Mission Broadcasting pulls local stations from DirecTV, U-Verse

(Logo courtesy DirecTV, Graphic designed by The Desk)

Mission Broadcasting has pulled more than two dozen local stations from satellite service DirecTV and AT&T’s IP-based TV service U-Verse.

The channels disappeared over the weekend after Mission Broadcasting was unable to reach a new agreement with DirecTV for carriage of the stations.

The issue also impacts customers of AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV Stream, which are subsidiaries of the satellite television company. DirecTV was owned by AT&T until earlier this year, when it was spun off into a separate company that is majority-owned by AT&T’s shareholders.

The full list of stations affected by the DirecTV and U-Verse carriage dispute is below:

  • WPIX-TV (Channel 11, CW) in New York City
  • KWBY (Channel 19, CW) in Albuquerque
  • KASY (Channel 50, My Network) in Albuquerque
  • WNAC (Channel 64, Fox) in Providence, RI
  • WYOU (Channel 22, CBS) in Wilkes-Barre
  • KLRT (Channel 16, Fox) in Little Rock
  • KASN (Channel 38, CW) in Little Rock
  • WXXA (Channel 23, Fox) in Albany
  • KOLR (Channel 10, CBS) in Springfield, MO
  • KMSS (Channel 33, Fox) in Shreveport
  • WVNY (Channel 22, ABC) in Burlington, VT
  • KLJB (Channel 18, Fox) in Davenport
  • WTVW (Channel 7, CW) in Evansville
  • WLAJ (Channel 53, ABC) in Lansing
  • WLAJ-DT2 (Channel 53.2, CW) in Lansing
  • KCIT (Channel 14, Fox) in Amarillo
  • KPEJ (Channel 24, Fox) in Midland, TX
  • WTVO (Channel 17, ABC) in Rockford, IL
  • KTVE (Channel 10, NBC) in Monroe
  • KTVE-DT2 (Channel 10.2, Fox) in Monroe
  • KAMC (Channel 28, ABC) in Lubbock
  • KJTL (Channel 18, Fox) in Wichita Falls
  • WFXP (Channel 66, Fox) in Erie, PA
  • KODE (Channel 12, ABC) in Joplin
  • WAWV (Channel 38, ABC) in Terre Haute
  • KRBC (Channel 9, NBC) in Abilene
  • KHMT (Channel 4, Fox) in Billings
  • WUTR (Channel 20, ABC) in Utica
  • KFQX (Channel 4, Fox) in Grand Junction, CO
  • KFQX-DT2 (Channel 4.2, CBS) in Grand Junction, CO
  • KSAN (Channel 3, NBC) in San Angelo, TX

Several of the affected Mission Broadcasting stations are operated by Nexstar Media Group under a shared services or local marketing agreement, which allows the owner of one company to offload operation onto another. For some stations, like WPIX-TV (Channel 11, CW), the dispute with DirecTV compounds problems for Nexstar, which is engaged in a separate carriage dispute with Verizon Fios in northeastern states.

The dispute is centered around the fees DirecTV must pay to carry the Mission Broadcasting stations on its satellite service, streaming service DirecTV Stream and AT&T U-Verse. A Mission Broadcasting spokesperson says it is seeking a fair rate in exchange for carriage of the channels, but nearly all disputes start when a programmer like Mission Broadcasting asks for more money in exchange for the right to carry stations on pay TV systems.

The disputes are usually quickly resolved, but some can take weeks — even months — before the end. Typically, a dispute ends with the channels restored and distributors agreeing to more in fees; those fees are then passed on to customers in the form of higher bills.

It wasn’t clear how long the dispute between Mission Broadcasting and DirecTV is expected to last, but customers have a number of options to access most channels that are missing from their line-up.

One option allows customers to watch most major broadcast channels for free by purchasing and installing a basic, over-the-air antenna. Most customers can get by with a simple $25 non-amplified antenna, but TV viewers who live in suburban or rural areas far away from a major city may need to purchase an amplified antenna for just a few dollars more.

Viewers who can’t receive their major local stations with an antenna have a number of streaming options to consider, too, including Vidgo ($60 a month), YouTube TV ($65 a month) and Hulu with Live TV ($70 a month). These streaming services include access to major sports channels — among them, ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Longhorn Network, SEC Network and Big 10 Network.