Q. Do you know what’s going on with DIRECTV losing local channels tonight? My NBC station here is saying I could lose the signal tonight on DIRECTV? Is that going to happen for real? — Melinda, Eureka, California.
Melinda, AT&T is engaged in a fee fight with roughly 25 local TV channels managed by Cox Media and owned by the equity firm, Apollo Global Management. Cox Media says that if a new carriage agreement is not signed by 2:59 a.m. ET on Tuesday (February 2), DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse will lose their signals.
The blackout, if it occurs, will include a 14-station group purchased separately by Cox/Apollo in 2020, and approximately 10-15 other stations formerly owned by Northwest Broadcasting, and purchased by Cox and Apollo last year as well.
“Our existing agreement with AT&T/DIRECTV expires after 1:59 a.m. Central time on Tuesday 2/2. If no deal is reached before that date, you will lose live access to shows like, FOX23 News, 911, NASCAR, MLB and more, which you rely on and are paying for,” states KOKI-TV, the Fox affiliate in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the Cox Media-managed stations that could be removed.
AT&T last week told the TV Answer Man that “we’re disappointed to see Cox Media Group put our customers into the middle of a private business matter. We want to keep the Cox stations in their local lineups, but Cox alone has exclusive control over which homes are allowed to receive ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW in certain cities. Cox- owned stations have a long history of either threatening or pulling the Super Bowl and other important events from our customers and other providers. We continue to work with Cox to try to avoid any unnecessary disruption and appreciate our customers’ patience while we do.”
Since the negotiations are done behind closed doors, it’s impossible to say if progress is being made. However, with AT&T looking to sell DIRECTV (and possibly U-verse), there is arguably more pressure on the company to halt a blackout now, although that wouldn’t stop it from playing hardball if Cox Media does as well.
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation today and tomorrow and report back here if anything changes.
Cox Media stations that have posted warnings that AT&T’s TV services could lose their signals tomorrow morning include:
KFFX-TV (Fox, Yakima, Washington)
KYMA-TV (CBS, NBC, Yuma, Arizona)
KIEM-TV (NBC, Eureka, California)
WSYT-TV (Fox, Syracuse, New York)
KLAX-TV (ABC, Alexandria, Louisiana)
WABG-TV (ABC, Fox, Greenwood, Mississippi)
WICZ-TV (Fox, Binghamton, New York)
KMVU-TV (Fox, Medford, Oregon)
KAYU-TV (Fox, Spokane, Washington)
WSB-TV, Channel 2 (ABC, Atlanta, GA)
WFXT-TV, Channel 25 (FOX, Boston, MA)
WSOC-TV, Channel 9 (ABC, Charlotte, NC)
WAXN-TV, Channel 64 (IND, Charlotte, NC)
WHIO-TV, Channel 7 (CBS, Dayton, OH)
WFOX-TV, Channel 30 (FOX, Jacksonville, FL)
WFOX2-TV, Channel 32 (MNT, Jacksonville, FL)
WHBQ-TV, Channel 13 (FOX, Memphis, TN)
WFTV-TV, Channel 9 (ABC, Orlando, FL)
WRDQ-TV, Channel 27 (IND, Orlando, FL)
WPXI-TV, Channel 11 (NBC, Pittsburgh, PA)
KIRO-TV, Channel 7 (CBS, Seattle, WA)
KOKI-TV, Channel 23 (FOX, Tulsa, OK)
KMYT-TV, Channel 41 (MNT, Tulsa, OK)
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