Nexstar-owned local network affiliates have posted viewer alerts at their web sites that Comcast could lose their signals if the two companies do not reach a new carriage agreement. The broadcaster owns roughly 90 stations in Comcast markets including Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago and New Orleans, among many others.
The warning does not say when the current agreement expires. But Comcast and Nexstar last signed a carriage pact around December 31, 2019 and these agreements usually end on the same calendar day or close to the same day. If that’s the case here, Comcast would not lose the Nexstar stations for three weeks.
However, the Nexstar stations have issued alerts that sound like the two companies are not close to a settlement.
“COMCAST Subscribers: WFLA (The Nexstar-owned NBC station in Tampa Bay, Florida) could be forced off your line-up, and important programming you pay for could disappear,” the alert states. “WFLA has a contract with COMCAST that allows them to deliver our programming to you. If a new agreement is not reached, COMCAST might remove WFLA from your schedule. WFLA has presented a proposal for fair value based on the importance and value our programming brings our viewers. Despite our tireless efforts, COMCAST has refused our fair offer and is making negotiations very difficult. Our offer is fair. And now they may hold you, the subscriber, hostage. It’s not right.”
The TV Answer Man has asked Comcast for a comment but has not received a response as of 3 p.m. ET today. The cable operator does not have a warning posted at its web site regarding any possible loss of Nexstar stations.
However, Comcast does note that its viewers could lose WPIX, and in fact the cable operator lost WPIX on December 3. WPIX is owned by Mission but operated by Nexstar and the fight over the New York station has led to bad blood between Nexstar and Comcast and fights over fees.
Update: Comcast has updated its web site to note that it could lose the Nexstar stations as well as the Nexstar-owned basic cable channel, NewsNation. You can see a list of the affected stations here. However, as of 5:30 a.m. ET on December 13, the cable operator has still not issued a comment on the dispute.
Update #2: Comcast has filed a ‘bad faith’ complaint with the FCC against Nexstar in regards to the WPIX dispute and the new fight over local stations.
The TV Answer Man will monitor this new carriage fight and report back here if anything significant changes. Click here to see a list of Nexstar stations.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann