By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, we miss our local news team on KOIN TV here in Portland. Do you know how we can still watch them although our station is blacked out on DIRECTV because of the fight with the Nexstar company? – Ronnie, Portland, Oregon.
Ronnie, DIRECTV has been without 159 Nexstar-owned local stations, including your CBS affiliate, KOIN TV in Portland, Oregon, since July 2 because of a fee fight between the satcaster and the broadcaster. When will this dispute end? We don’t know for sure, but the last time the two companies engaged in a carriage battle, it started July 3 and ended August 29, right before the NFL season started. Yes, that might be a clue for when this one will be settled.

As for your question, you can still watch KOIN’s newscasts for free via a TV antenna, assuming you can pick up the station’s signal from your home. The TV antenna can be a great way to watch local channels without paying subscription fees but it’s not perfect. Depending upon factors such as whether you live near high-rise buildings or mountains, there could be an obstacle blocking the signal’s path to your home. But there is another way to watch the station’s newscast even if the channel is blacked out on your TV provider. Nexstar allows its local stations to post their daily newscasts at their web sites two hours after they begin. For example, the KOIN 11 p.m. newscast will be available on the site at 1 a.m. The 6 p.m. newscast would be posted at 8 p.m. and so on.

That’s obviously not as convenient as watching it live, which Nexstar used to permit. But the broadcaster, which arguably is involved in more carriage disputes than any other broadcaster, changed the live policy to a two-hour delay last January. That gives them more leverage in negotiations because a pay TV provider’s subscribers cannot watch the news live.

A note from KOIN’s digital director: In order to fulfill our obligations to our cable, satellite, and telco partners, on January 12, KOIN will begin making its newscasts and locally-produced lifestyle programming available on two hours after their live broadcast over-the-air. We will also continue to make highlights of our newscasts available to you through video clips and other coverage after the live broadcast,” KOIN says at its web site.

I have noticed that it can be difficult to find the delayed newscasts at the sites of the Nexstar-owned local stations so you might want to download their apps as well. (On the web site, look for a ‘Watch’ button at the top.)

Ronnie, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann