No retrans agreement for Citadel and DirecTV


UPDATE: The Citadel Communications stations were NOT pulled from DirecTV at midnight and negotiations are continuing. WOI-TV Des Moines posted this notice:

“We are pleased to report that our continuing discussions with DirecTV on the terms and conditions of a new carriage have been productive. So much so, that we have agreed to extend the current agreement through 1pm central time on Thursday, April 1, 2010. We are hopeful that the few remaining, but important, business issues which stand in the way of a new, final agreement can be resolved before this extension period lapses.”

The original story:

As previously reported, KLKN-TV (ABC) Lincoln, NE was due to be pulled from DirecTV’s local-to-local service at midnight Wednesday unless there was a new agreement on retransmission consent payments – and as the minutes were ticking down there was no word of a settlement. Also, it turns out that that two other stations owned by Citadel Communications were facing the same deadline: WOI-TV (ABC) Des Moines, IA and WHBF-TV (CBS) Quad Cities, IA-IL.

“Our existing carriage agreement with DirecTV expires at 12 midnight, March 31, 2010, and in the absence of renewal of that agreement, DirecTV will terminate carriage of ABC5.  Should that occur, DirectTV subscribers will wish to pursue other alternatives to receive the station,” said a notice to viewers posted on the WOI website.

“DirecTV is the nation’s second largest multichannel media distributor with substantial market power and financial and political resources. Our company, Citadel Communications Company, on the other hand, is a small, privately held company with four TV stations in the Midwest.  We fully expect DirecTV to engage in a massive public and government relations campaign to apply pressure on our small company to enter into an agreement that is favorable to DirecTV, but which would disadvantage our company and the local viewers we serve,” WOI said. It invited local viewers to contact Citadel President/GM Ray Cole and Director of Broadcast Operations Randy Shelton with any questions.

While DirecTV had noted that it carries a second ABC affiliate on its local-to-local satellite service in Nebraska, it does not appear to have any similar options to the Citadel outlets in the Des Moines and Quad Cities DMAs.