CBS, AT&T End Stalemate With A New Retrans Consent Deal

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Updated at 9:30am Eastern

After nearly three weeks and much press attention, one of two protracted retransmission consent battles involving AT&T‘s television services platforms has ended.


As such, full coverage for CBS has been restored in some of the nation’s top DMAs.

For those in markets where Nexstar Media Group owns the CBS affiliate, the “blackout” continues into its second month.

In an announcement released prior to the Opening Bell on Wall Street — and CBS Corporation’s post-Closing Bell distribution of its Q2 2019 results — the company widely expected to announce its long-rumored reunification with Viacom today confirmed that it has struck a new multi-year content carriage agreement with AT&T.

This means all impacted viewers of CBS O&Os that are DirecTV, U-Verse and “skinny bundle” vMVPD AT&T TV NOW customers will soon regain access to these stations, if not already.

The agreement also includes nationally distributed “expanded basic” cable channels CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel.

By law, AT&T’s services on July 20 were forced to drop all CBS-owned stations from their lineups. That’s because a new retrans consent agreement could not be reached by the expiry time of the previous deal.

A total of 17 DMAs were impacted by the stalemate:

  • NEW YORK: WCBS-2 and WLNY-55, found on cable channel 10 across much of the New York metropolitan area
  • LOS ANGELES: KCBS-2 and KCAL-9, a news-heavy station that has long been unaffiliated
  • CHICAGO: WBBM-2
  • PHILADELPHIA: KYW-3 and The CW affiliate WPSG-57
  • DALLAS-FORT WORTH: KTVT-11 and KTXA-21, an unaffiliated station
  • SAN FRANCISCO-OAKLAND-SAN JOSE: KPIX-5 and The CW network-affiliated KBCW-44
  • ATLANTA: The CW-affiliated WUPA-69 
  • BOSTON: WBZ-4 and former “Superstation” WSBK-38, today a MyNetworkTV-affiliated station
  • SEATTLE-TACOMA: KSTW-11, an affiliate of The CW Network
  • TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG: WTOG-44, an affiliate of The CW Network
  • DETROIT: WWJ-62 and WKBD-50, the CW affiliate
  • MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL: WCCO-4 and satellite station KCCW-12 in Walker, Minn.
  • MIAMI-FORT LAUDERDALE: WFOR-4 and WBFS-33, the MyNetworkTV affiliate for South Florida
  • DENVER:  KCNC-4
  • SACRAMENTOKOVR-13 and The CW affiliate KMAX-31
  • PITTSBURGH: KDKA-2 and WPCW-19, The CW affiliate serving Western Pennsylvania
  • BALTIMOREWJZ-13

“CBS and AT&T regret any inconvenience to their customers and viewers and thank them for their patience,” CBS said in a statement released Thursday morning.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

This now leaves Nexstar-owned CBS stations as the only ones being prevented from reaching viewers across the trio of AT&T-owned services.

It has been exactly five weeks since a July 4 “blackout” of all stations owned by Nexstar across DirecTV, DirecTV NOW and U-Verse.

Thus, CBS programming is still being blocked to DirecTV, AT&T TV NOW and U-Verse subscribers in these DMAs:

  • PORTLAND, ORE.: KOIN-6 
  • RALEIGH-DURHAMWNCN-17
  • GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG: WSPA-7
  • LAS VEGAS: KLAS-8
  • BIRMINGHAM: WIAT-42
  • ALBUQUERQUE-SANTA FE: KRQE-13 and satellite stations KREZ-6 in Durango, Colo., and KBIM-10 in Roswell, N. Mex.
  • BUFFALO-NIAGARA FALLS: WIVB-4
  • PROVIDENCE: WPRI-12
  • FRESNO: KGPE-47
  • MOBILE: WKRG-5
  • WILKES BARRE-SCRANTON: WYOU-22
  • GREEN BAY, WISC.: WFRV-5
  • CHARLESTON-HUNTINGTON, W. VA.: WOWK-13
  • SPRINGFIELD, MO.: KOLR-10
  • ROCHESTER, N.Y.: WROC-8
  • CHAMPAIGN-SPRINGFIELD, ILL.: WCIA-3
  • JACKSON, MISS.: WJTV-12
  • MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.: WBTW-13
  • QUAD CITIES, IA-IL: WHBF-4
  • TRI-CITIES, TN-VA: WJHL-11
  • FORT WAYNE, IN: WANE-15
  • ALTOONA, PA: WTAJ-10
  • GREENVILLE, NC: WNCT-9
  • LANSING, MICH: WLNS-6
  • PEORIA-BLOOMINGTON, IL: WMBD-31
  • SIOUX FALLS, S.D.: KELO-11
  • LAFAYETTE, LA: KLFY-10
  • YOUNGSTOWN, OH: WKBN-27
  • COLUMBUS, GA: WRBL-3
  • LUBBOCK, TX: KLBK-13
  • MINOT-BISMARCK-DICKINSON-WILLISTON, N.D.: KXMA-2.2, KXMB-12, KXMC-13 & KXMD-11
  • WHEELING, W. VA.: WTRF-7
  • BLUEFIELD, W. VA: WVNS-59
  • ABILENE, TEX.: KTAB-32
  • HATTIESBURG, MS: WHLT-22
  • RAPID CITY, S.D.: KCLO-15
  • MARQUETTE, MI: WJMN-3
  • GRAND JUNCTION, CO: KREX-5
  • SAN ANGELO, TEX.: KLST-8

Meanwhile, DISH Network subscribers in markets such as Phoenix and Fort Myers, Fla., can’t get CBS programming.

That’s because DISH and Meredith Corp. on July 16 failed to reach a new retransmission fee agreement.

Of the 12 markets impacted by this “blackout,” seven are home to CBS affiliates:

  • Atlanta: CBS affiliate WGCL-46
  • Phoenix: CBS affiliate KPHO-5 and “AZ Family” news-intensive KTVK-3
  • St. Louis: CBS affiliate KMOV-4
  • Kansas City: CBS affiliate KCTV-TV and non-affiliated KSMO-TV
  • Hartford-New Haven: CBS affiliate WFSB-3
  • Flint-Saginaw, Mich.: CBS affiliate WNEM-TV
  • Springfield-Holyoke, Mass.: CBS affiliate WSHM-TV, FOX affiliate WGGB-DT and ABC affiliate WGGB-TV

For KCTV viewers that subscribe to DISH, the station on Wednesday posted on its website detailed instructions on how to watch Kansas City Chiefs pre-season coverage in the absence of the station on the DBS provider.

MeredithThe full National Football League pre-season schedule kicks off tonight — likely the No. 1 reason CBS Corp. and AT&T reached a new deal Thursday morning.

“Unfortunately, DISH Network has not reached an agreement to carry KCTV 5 and KSMO-TV on DISH systems and by law, DISH cannot carry our programming, including Chiefs games, unless it comes to an agreement with the station,” Meredith-owned KCTV said. “However, you do have options. KCTV 5 and KSMO-TV’s vital local news, emergency information and top-rated entertainment and sports programming, such as Chiefs games, are available on every other satellite and cable provider in your area.”

Perhaps worst off are DISH subscribers in Southwest Florida. As exclusively reported by RBR+TVBR, one of the nation’s most prolonged — and quietest — retransmission fee disputes continues more than six months after it began.

Thanks to the January 8, 2019 loss of a retransmission consent agreement, DISH can’t bring CBS affiliate WINK-11 to the Fort Myers-Naples DMA.

While it is ultimately up to Meredith Corp., WINK owner Fort Myers Broadcasting Company, and Nexstar to reach new deals that impact all of their stations, it is CBS viewers that are losing out across the country.

10 COMMENTS

  1. There’s always #CBSAllAccess! That’s “#LocalChoice” over the Internet, by the way, even though #NAB, the networks and broadcasters oppose it as a replacement to old and outdated #retransmissionconsent rules that raise prices for consumers and limit competition. Why is one thing good enough for the broadcasters over the Internet, but not good enough for over-the-air TV? Hmmm. A financial interest tied to leverage of old #retrans and #networknondupe rules? Let’s go back to using antennas! Also, if anyone thinks broadcasters aren’t addicted to retrans and will do anything to save it, then why are they suing #Locast, a non-profit service operating within the retrans and copyright rules? The only way this incredible greed and avarice stops is through the #STELAR reauthorization, the #ModernTelevisionAct of 2019, and through #RetransReformNow!

  2. I have received communication from Nexstar & they state is not their company that hasn’t put CBS back in the lineup but it’s AT&T & Directv that haven’t. I cannot believe that other states & cities have had CBS restored but some haven’t. What’ the hold up?

  3. This is wonderful to have some news…. Especially when it’s good. Is there any info regarding the NBC Nexstar affiliates and when we can expect our local channels to return? Thank you

  4. They shut us down in Las Vegas. Haven’t missed it on my Directv. Keep it shut down. If I had any interest in watching CBS I could use a $20 antenna. Screw them. Not worth a penny increase.

  5. So when will the dispute between nextsar and direct tv get the ducks in a row. Well aware it is direct tv but cbs is a free channel and direct tv should of left it on now we are staring our second month this is garbage. Dish is looking real good at this point in time and we have had direct tv for 11 years!

  6. im getting tired of all the free over air charging to be able to watch their channels they are getting paid double that should be outlawed by the government. The public channels shouldn’t get paid to watch their channels plus their commercials keep getting longer so it takes hour to watch about 30 minute show

  7. This is the biggest piece of crap I have ever seen. I’m so sick of this crap. I just want CBS back on 42 in Birmingham. We have had direct tv since 2001

  8. Yes it is bad. I have had youtube tv for while now . I just decided to go back to U-verse after a ten year absence. Now I hear I can’t get all the local stations because of greedy people. Very sad. Youtube tv had all locals, and it was reliable with unlimited dvr space. Anyway, I hope they have it back in my area by August 17th. That’s my installation date. I believe I have 14 days to cancel without penalty. At least I hope I read that right. Praying about it. 😎✌🏻

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