Q. I don’t understand why my CBS local station hasn’t come back on DIRECTV. I read that DIRECTV and CBS signed a new agreement. So why isn’t my CBS back on? — Robert, Fresno, California.
Robert, DIRECTV and CBS last week did sign a new carriage agreement, but it only covers local stations owned by CBS. These are in 17 markets, which does not include Fresno.
Your local CBS station in Fresno, KGPE-TV, is owned by Nexstar, which is still fighting with DIRECTV (and its owner, AT&T) over how much money it should get for its signals. The two sides have been unable to reach a new agreement since the old one expired on July 3.
Since then, DIRECTV has been without more than 120 Nexstar-owned local stations, including ones affiliated with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
If you’re not familiar with how network affiliation works, this is probably a bit confusing to you. So let me explain.
The overwhelming majority of local network stations are not actually owned by the network. Independent companies, such as Nexstar, purchase local stations and then sign affiliation deals with the networks, which allows them to air their primetime, news and sports programming. The local stations fill the rest of the day’s lineup with their own programming, most of it locally produced.
The network affiliation arrangement is a good deal for the local stations, and the networks, but it requires pay TV providers to secure carriage agreements with several different owners of local programming. This is why a cable or satellite service may be without local stations in certain markets; they’ve been unable to come to terms with every local station owner.
Robert, I hope that helps. We will continue to monitor the DIRECTV-Nexstar fee fight and will report back here if the blackout ends.
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— Phillip Swann