Q. I’ve been without my CBS station in Albuquerque since July and I can’t understand why it’s still off. I know there’s some fight with DIRECTV and the owner, but are they close to ending it? Please help. — Alfred, Albuquerque.
Alfred, DIRECTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now have been without more than 120 Nexstar-owned local stations (including your CBS affiliate in Albuquerque) since July 3 due to a fee dispute between the broadcaster and AT&T, which owns the three TV services. The stations include network affiliates for CBS, ABC, Fox and ABC.
AT&T and Nexstar have been relatively quiet in the last few weeks, choosing to avoid the usual name-calling in a protracted programming dispute. That’s a good sign. But other than that, there is no indication from the two companies that they are close to ending the blackout.
However, the calendar may be telling us something.
The National Football League season is scheduled to begin September 8 (a week from this Sunday) so that means that next week would be a logical time for negotiations to intensify. (The games air on NBC, CBS and Fox.) Both AT&T and Nexstar stand to lose if the games begin and a large number of viewers can’t watch from home.
That doesn’t mean a deal will be reached next week, but there’s a much better chance than this week which leads up to Labor Day weekend when fewer people watch TV.
So, Alfred, sit tight. We might get some good news next week.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann