The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Nexstar warns Comcast could drop local stations

Dozens of local broadcast stations owned by Nexstar Media Group are warning customers of Comcast’s Xfinity pay TV service of a looming carriage dispute.

The dispute could see around 200 local television stations and their associated digital broadcast networks removed from Xfinity cable, Xfinity Stream and Xfinity X1 systems across the country if the two sides are unable to reach a new agreement by the end of December.

On Saturday, Nexstar stations in the country’s top TV markets began warning customers of the impending carriage dispute. The dispute revolves around two issues: The money Comcast must pay to Nexstar in exchange for the right to carry its local stations and digital networks, and an ongoing lawsuit between Comcast and Nexstar over the latter’s management of WPIX-TV (Channel 11) in New York City.

Comcast lodged a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year, accusing Nexstar of violating federal ownership rules for its management of WPIX. Nexstar divested WPIX as a condition of its acquisition of Tribune Media several years ago; it now operates WPIX under a local marketing agreement with Mission Broadcasting, which owns the license to WPIX.

Related Story: Cable, satellite fees help increase Nexstar’s revenue

Local marketing agreements are not unusual — other companies, including Sinclair Broadcast Group, also use them to manage and share services like news teams with stations that they do not own. But Comcast says Nexstar’s management of WPIX makes it a de facto owner, because Mission allows Nexstar to negotiate carriage terms on pay TV systems.

As The Desk reported last week, the situation escalated to federal court shortly after Comcast’s complaint to the FCC. The issue has already prompted Nexstar to pull WPIX from Comcast’s systems serving the greater New York City metropolitan area. (New York City itself is not affected, because that area is covered by Charter’s Spectrum TV service.) The federal lawsuit is still pending in court, with Comcast and Nexstar scheduled to engage in depositions early next year.

The following are the stations that could be lost if Comcast and Nexstar are not able to come to terms on a new carriage agreement by the end of the month: (click or tap here to skip the list)

  • KAMC (Channel 28, ABC) Lubbock
  • KAMR (Channel 4, NBC) Amarillo
  • KARD (Channel 14, Fox) El Dorado, AR
  • KARK (Channel 4, NBC) Little Rock
  • KARZ (Channel 42) Little Rock
  • KASN (Channel 38) Little Rock
  • KASY (Channel 50) Albuquerque
  • KAUT (Channel 43) Oklahoma City
  • KBVO (Channel 14) Austin
  • KCAU (Channel 9, ABC) Sioux City
  • KCIT (Channel 14, Fox) Amarillo
  • KCLO (Channel 15, CBS) Rapid City
  • KCPN (Channel 33) Amarillo
  • KDAF (Channel 33) Dallas
  • KDVR (Channel 31, Fox) Denver
  • KELO (Channel 11, CBS) Sioux Falls
  • KETK (Channel 56, NBC) Tyler, TX
  • KFDX (Channel 3, NBC) Wichita Falls
  • KFOR (Channel 4, NBC) Oklahoma City
  • KFQX (Channel 4, Fox) Grand Junction
  • KFTA (Channel 24, Fox) Fayetteville
  • KFXK (Channel 51, Fox) Tyler, TX
  • KGCW (Channel 26) Davenport
  • KGET (Channel 17, NBC) Bakersfield
  • KGPE (Channel 47, CBS) Fresno
  • KHII (Channel 9) Honolulu
  • KHMT (Channel 4, Fox) Billings
  • KHON (Channel 2, Fox) Honolulu
  • KIAH (Channel 39) Houston
  • KJTL (Channel 18, Fox) Wichita Falls
  • KKEY (Channel 13) Bakersfield
  • KLAS (Channel 8, CBS) Las Vegas
  • KLBK (Channel 13, CBS) Lubbock
  • KLFY (Channel 10, CBS) Lafayette
  • KLJB (Channel 18, Fox) Davenport
  • KLRT (Channel 16, Fox) Little Rock
  • KLST (Channel 8, CBS) San Angelo
  • KMID (Channel 2, ABC) Midland
  • KMSS (Channel 33, Fox) Shreveport
  • KNVA (Channel 54) Austin
  • KNWA (Channel 51, NBC) Fayetteville
  • KOIN (Channel 6, CBS) Portland, OR
  • KOLR (Channel 10, CBS) Springfield, MO
  • KOZL (Channel 27) Springfield, MO
  • KPEJ (Channel 24, Fox) Midland
  • KPLR (Channel 11) St. Louis
  • KRBC (Channel 9, NBC) Abilene
  • KRBK (Channel 49, Fox) Springfield, MO
  • KRCW (Channel 32) Portland, OR
  • KREX (Channel 5, CBS) Grand Junction
  • KRON (Channel 4) San Francisco
  • KRQE (Channel 13, CBS) Albuquerque
  • KRWB (Channel 21) Albuquerque
  • KSAN (Channel 3, NBC) San Angelo
  • KSEE (Channel 24, NBC) Fresno
  • KSHV (Channel 45) Shreveport
  • KSNT (Channel 27, NBC) Topeka
  • KSNW (Channel 3, NBC) Wichita
  • KSVI (Channel 6, ABC) Billings
  • KSWB (Channel 69, Fox) San Diego
  • KTAB (Channel 32, CBS) Abilene
  • KTAL (Channel 6, NBC) Shreveport
  • KTKA (Channel 49, ABC) Topeka
  • KTLA (Channel 5) Los Angeles
  • KTMJ (Channel 43, Fox) Topeka
  • KTSM (Channel 9, NBC) El Paso
  • KTVE (Channel 10, NBC / Fox) Monroe, LA
  • KTVI (Channel 2, Fox) St. Louis
  • KTXL (Channel 40, Fox) Sacramento
  • KVEO (Channel 23, NBC / CBS) Brownsville
  • KWGN (Channel 2) Denver
  • KWKT (Channel 44, Fox) Waco
  • KXAN (Channel 36, NBC) Austin
  • KXMA (Channel 2, CBS) Bismarck
  • KXNW (Channel 34) Fayetteville
  • KXRM (Channel 21, Fox) Colorado Springs
  • KXTU (Channel 57) Colorado Springs
  • KYLE (Channel 28) Waco
  • WANE (Channel 15, CBS) Fort Wayne
  • WATE (Channel 6, ABC) Knoxville
  • WAVY (Channel 10, NBC) Norfolk
  • WAWV (Channel 38, ABC) Terre Haute
  • WBDT (Channel 26) Dayton
  • WBGH (Channel 34, NBC) Binghamton
  • WBOY (Channel 12, NBC / ABC) Weston
  • WBRE (Channel 28, NBC) Wilkes-Barre
  • WBTW (Channel 13, CBS) Myrtle Beach
  • WCBD (Channel 2, NBC) Charleston, SC
  • WCIA (Channel 3, CBS) Springfield, IL
  • WCIX (Channel 49) Springfield, IL
  • WCTX (Channel 59) Hartford
  • WDAF (Channel 4, Fox) Kansas City
  • WDCW (Channel 50) Washington, D.C.
  • WDHN (Channel 18, ABC) Dothan
  • WDKY (Channel 56, Fox) Lexington
  • WDTN (Channel 2, NBC) Dayton
  • WDVM (Channel 25) Washington, D.C.
  • WEHT (Channel 25, ABC) Evansville
  • WETM (Channel 18, NBC) Elmira, NY
  • WFFF (Channel 44, Fox) Burlington
  • WFLA (Channel 8, NBC) Tampa
  • WFNA (Channel 55) Mobile
  • WFRV (Channel 5, CBS) Green Bay
  • WFXP (Channel 66, Fox) Erie
  • WFXR (Channel 27, Fox) Roanoke
  • WFXV (Channel 33, Fox) Utica
  • WGHP (Channel 8, Fox) Greensboro
  • WGMB (Channel 44, Fox) Baton Rouge
  • WGN-TV (Channel 9) Chicago
  • WGNO (Channel 26, ABC) New Orleans
  • WHBF (Channel 4, CBS) Davenport
  • WHDF (Channel 15) Huntsville
  • WHLT (Channel 22, CBS) Hattiesburg
  • WHNT (Channel 19, CBS) Huntsville
  • WHO (Channel 13, NBC) Des Moines
  • WHTM (Channel 27, ABC) Harrisburg
  • WIAT (Channel 42, CBS) Birmingham
  • WIVB (Channel 4, CBS) Buffalo
  • WIVT (Channel 34, ABC) Binghamton
  • WJBF (Channel 6, ABC) Augusta
  • WJET (Channel 24, ABC) Erie
  • WJHL (Channel 11, CBS) Tri-Cities, VA
  • WJKT (Channel 16, Fox) Jackson, TN
  • WJMN (Channel 3) Marquette
  • WJTV (Channel 12, CBS) Jackson, MS
  • WJW (Channel 8, Fox) Cleveland
  • WJZY (Channel 46, Fox) Charlotte
  • WKRG (Channel 5, CBS) Mobile
  • WKRN (Channel 2) Nashville
  • WLAJ (Channel 53, ABC) Lansing
  • WLAX (Channel 25, Fox) Eau Claire
  • WLNS (Channel 6, CBS) Lansing
  • WMBB (Channel 13, ABC) Panama City
  • WMBD (Channel 31, CBS) Bloomington
  • WNAC (Channel 64, Fox) Providence
  • WNCN (Channel 17, CBS) Raleigh
  • WNCT (Channel 9, CBS) Greenville
  • WNLO (Channel 23) Buffalo
  • WNOL (Channel 38, CW) New Orleans
  • WNTZ (Channel 48, Fox) Alexandria, LA
  • WOOD (Channel 8, NBC) Grand Rapids
  • WOTV (Channel 41, ABC) Grand Rapids
  • WOWK (Channel 13, CBS) Charleston, WV
  • WPHL (Channel 17) Philadelphia
  • WPIX (Channel 11) New York City
  • WPRI (Channel 12, CBS) Providence
  • WQRF (Channel 39, Fox) Rockford, IL
  • WRBL (Channel 3, CBS) Columbus, GA
  • WREG (Channel 3, CBS) Memphis
  • WRIC (Channel 8, ABC) Richmond
  • WROC (Channel 8, CBS) Rochester
  • WSPA (Channel 7, CBS) Spartanburg
  • WSYR (Channel 9, ABC) Syracuse
  • WTAJ (Channel 10, CBS) Altoona
  • WTEN (Channel 10, ABC) Albany
  • WTNH (Channel 8, ABC) Hartford
  • WTRF (Channel 7, CBS) Steubenville
  • WTTA (Channel 38) Tampa
  • WTTV (Channel 25, CBS) Indianapolis
  • WTVO (Channel 17, ABC) Rockford, IL
  • WTVW (Channel 7) Evansville
  • WTWO (Channel 2, NBC) Terre Haute
  • WUTR (Channel 20, ABC) Utica
  • WVBT (Channel 43, Fox) Norfolk
  • WVLA (Channel 33, NBC) Baton Rouge
  • WVNS (Channel 59, CBS / Fox) Beckley
  • WVNY (Channel 22, ABC) Burlington
  • WWCW (Channel 21) Roanoke
  • WWLP (Channel 22, NBC) Springfield, MA
  • WWTI (Channel 50, ABC) Watertown
  • WXIN (Channel 59, Fox) Indianapolis
  • WXSP (Channel 15) Grand Rapids
  • WXXA (Channel 23, Fox) Albany
  • WYCW (Channel 62) Spartanburg
  • WYOU (Channel 22, CBS) Wilkes-Barre
  • WYZZ (Channel 43, Fox) Bloomington

In areas where the local Nexstar station also carries several digital networks (including Antenna TV, Rewind TV, Court TV, Laff, Grit, Bounce, TBD TV and Ion Television), those stations will also disappear from Comcast’s systems if the two companies are unable to reach a new contract for carriage of Nexstar-owned and distributed channels. NewsNation, the cable channel Nexstar launched early last year, will also be removed from Comcast.

If Comcast and Nexstar are unable to reach an agreement, TV viewers can always buy an over-the-air antenna and receive Nexstar’s local TV station signals for free. Those who live in an area where TV signals are hard to get have a few streaming options to get their local ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox station, including:

  • Paramount Plus, which has a live feed of local CBS stations in their $10 a month (or $100 a year) package, currently discounted by about 50 percent when customers opt for annual pricing.
  • Vidgo, offers access to local ABC and Fox stations along with more than 100 cable channels (including ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Fox News Channel, the Disney Channel, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and more), starting at $60 a month. For those who want to watch NFL games on Fox, Vidgo is the cheapest streaming TV solution.
  • Fubo TV, which carries ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CW stations in most markets, starting at $70 a month — but Fubo TV also offers a 7-day free trial, which might be best if the Comcast-Nexstar dispute only lasts a few days. For those who want to watch college football games on Fox, CBS and ABC, Fubo TV is the cheapest way to get nearly everything.
  • Peacock, Comcast’s own streaming television service, offers on-demand access to popular NBC shows as well as live streams for NBC News, Sky News and Sunday Night Football, starting at $5 a month. Live NBC feeds are also available in most areas as part of Peacock’s $10 a month plan. Some Comcast TV and Internet customers get Peacock’s $5 a month plan for free.
  • Hulu, which costs $8 a month ($15 a month without ads), offers next-day access to popular ABC prime-time and daytime shows. Some Fox shows are also available on Hulu, but no NFL games broadcast on Fox (unless you upgrade to Hulu with Live TV, which starts at $75 a month).
  • NFL Plus: Live, in-market games from CBS and Fox are available on the NFL’s streaming service, but customers have complained that the service can be hit-or-miss in terms of reliability.

Stay on top of this carriage dispute and others by visiting www.carriagedispute.com.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Television » Nexstar warns Comcast could drop local stations