From Mar-a-Lago to the shores of Maui, DirecTV subscribers could soon be missing a local broadcast station from their lineup.
That’s because Raycom Media‘s 65 television stations in some 44 markets across the U.S. are locked in the latest dispute over a new retransmission fee agreement, which is needed by midnight Sept. 1 in order to avoid the DBS provider from engaging in a “blackout.”
Raycom is addressing its battle with messages directed toward DirecTV subscribers on each of its station websites. With a click, visitors are transported to a microsite —OurLocalCommitment.com— that features a 90-second vignette touting how “this local broadcaster is part of the community,” and that “we’re your neighbors … Our employees are proud to live here and committed to serving you.”
Using this approach, Raycom delivers the argument that its national cable and satellite partners “get a lot of value from carrying your local broadcast stations,” and allows them to provide “highly watched channels” to their customers — and, in turn, charge customers each month to receive these local channels as part of their service.
Raycom briefly touches on the negotiation process to make this relationship with DBS providers happen. “In the vast majority of cases, these negotiations are settled in a business-like fashion and you are never bothered with the details,” Raycom says. “Unfortunately, a very small number of national cable and satellite companies have recently decided that for some reason they don’t have to participate in the marketplace like everyone else. This small handful of operators together account for over 90% of the disruptions that have occurred across the country over the past few years.”
Among the stations potentially impacted are FOX-affiliated WFLX-29 in West Palm Beach, CBS KGMB-8 and NBC KHNL-13 in Honolulu, CBS WOIO-19 and MyNetwork TV WUAB-43 in Cleveland, FOX WXIX-19 in Cincinnati, and NBC WMC-5 in Memphis.
AT&T-owned DirecTV has not commented on the matter.
The last feud between Raycom and DirecTV was seen exactly three years ago.