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Mission Broadcasting Affiliates Dropped From DirecTV, DIRECTV STREAM, & AT&T U-Verse in Carriage Dispute

Jason Gurwin

Last night, some DIRECTV STREAM, DirecTV, and AT&T U-Verse customers lost local affiliates from their service. This is the result of a dispute between DIRECTV and Mission Broadcasting, which is controlled by Nexstar Media Group. As a result, 25 stations across 23 media markets will be blacked out. At the center of the feud is retransmission fees — which is the amount DIRECTV pays to carry the locals.

Some of the larger confirmed channels affected were KLRT-TV in Little Rock, KFQX in Grand Junction, WTVW in Evansville, and WXXA-TV in Albany. While DIRECTV had carried all Mission Broadcasting locals, a subset were available on DIRECTV STREAM.

In a statement to customers in Little Rock, DIRECTV said:

We’ve been working with Mission Broadcasting, the owner of KLRT-FOX and KASN-CW, to reach an agreement so you can get their programs the same way as you always do. Unfortunately, Mission has decided to exercise its right to block access to our Little Rock and Pine Bluff customers.

By law, Mission can refuse any compromise we offer and has the right to suspend KLRT-FOX and KASN-CW from your channel lineup—which we had wanted to avoid. Broadcasters like Mission will often suspend cable, satellite, or streaming customers’ access for a brief period in an attempt to negotiate higher rates for themselves for the next three or more years. That happened to DISH Network customers during a recent Mission renewal. We’re committed to offering you and other Little Rock and Pine Bluff customers the freedom to watch KLRT-FOX and KASN-CW programs anytime, anywhere on your phone, tablet, and TV – at the very least possible expense to you.

Over the past few weeks, Nexstar has seen local stations and NewsNation dropped by Verizon FIOS, while White Knight Broadcasting, also controlled by Nexstar, blacked out its NBC affiliate in Baton Rouge, LA, and FOX affiliate in Tyler, TX on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-verse.

In 2019, DIRECTV and Nexstar, which controls Mission Broadcasting had a prolonged eight-week blackout. In 2020, DIRECTV had a two-week blackout of TEGNA local stations.

Nexstar has had plenty of carriage disputes of their own. In December 2020, they had a three-week long blackout on Dish Network, as well as a 2-3 month disputes with fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV.

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