While most journalists seem to have forgotten about them, there are still three major carriage disputes that have left scores of thousands of viewers unable to watch their local channels for more than month.
Since September 22, DIRECTV viewers have been without seven local channels owned by American Spirit Media due to a fee fight between the companies.
The seven stations are:
KAUZ (CBS affiliate) in Wichita Falls, Texas
WDBD (Fox affiliate) in Jackson, Mississippi
KVHP (Fox) in Lake Charles, Louisiana
WSFX (Fox) in Wilmington, North Carolina
WUPW (Fox) in Toledo, Ohio
WXTX (Fox) in Columbus, Georgia
WUPV (CW affiliate) in Richmond, Virginia
In addition, AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, and negotiates its carriage agreements, is missing four American Spirit Media locals due to the same dispute. The stations are in Columbus, Jackson, Toledo and Wilmington.
Both AT&T and American Spirit Media have been relatively quiet since the blackout began on September 22, but the latter has posted a notice at station web sites urging DIRECTV and U-verse viewers to seek a rebate for the lost channels.
In addition to the American Spirit Media fight, U-verse subscribers in North Carolina have been without three stations since September 14 due to a fee fight between AT&T and Capitol Broadcasting.
The stations are: WRAL, the NBC affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina, WILM, an independent station in Wilmington, North Carolina, and WRAZ-TV, the Fox affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Again, AT&T has said next to nothing publicly since the blackout began while Capitol has maintained a notice on station web sites which urges U-verse viewers to contact AT&T with their complaints.
Finally, Dish and Lilly Broadcasting have been in a carriage battle since September 30 which has left the satcaster’s viewers unable to watch seven Lilly-owned local channels. They are
WENY-TV (ABC, Elmira)
WENYD-TV (CBS, Elmira)
WBEP-TV (CW, Erie)
WICU-TV (NBC, Erie)
WSEE-TV (CBS, Erie)
KITV-TV (ABC, Honolulu
KITV2-TV (MeTV, Honolulu)
Lilly also owns three stations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands but Dish has paused service for viewers there since September 30 due to the aftermatch of Hurricane Maria.
Lilly has posted a message on its stations web sites saying it’s attempting to resolve the dispute with Dish. The satcaster has not issued a public statement on the disagreement since the blackout.
In all three disputes cited above, the pay TV providers are refusing to pay the broadcasters what they want to carry their local stations.
— Phillip Swann