AT&T’s U-verse TV service lost two more local stations last night due to a fee fight with their owner, Sarkes Tarzian, Inc.
The stations — WRCB-TV, the NBC affiliate in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and KTVN, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nevada, posted notices at their web sites that U-verse is no longer carrying them.
AT&T and Sarkes Tarzian are fighting over how much the telco should pay to carry the broadcaster’s stations.
“U-verse has made the decision to stop carrying WRCB Channel 3 on its system effective 5:00pm (EST) on Tuesday 12/19/17,” the station notice reads. “We want you to know that in the hope that we would avoid any unnecessary service disruptions, WRCB has granted U-verse a series of extensions allowing them to keep carrying WRCB on U-verse long after our carriage agreement with them was set to expire earlier this year. We granted these extensions in order to provide ample time to allow U-verse and WRCB to successfully negotiate the terms of a new retransmission agreement. We have similarly offered U-verse a further extension; but, U-verse refused.”
By law, a pay TV provider can not carry a channel or local station without the owner’s permission. So AT&T actually did not decide to stop carrying the stations; instead, the broadcaster decided it couldn’t because it wouldn’t meet its demands.
AT&T has not issued a comment on the fee dispute.
In related matters, AT&T and DIRECTV are still involved in a carriage dispute with American Spirit Media which has now lasted for three months.
DIRECTV subscribers are missing seven local stations due to the battle, which began on September 21.
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 fee fight. The stations are in Columbus, Jackson, Toledo and Wilmington.
And DIRECTV subscribers are still without KFVE-TV, an independent station in Honolulu, due to a separate carriage dispute which began in late October.
— Phillip Swann