The fate of 54 television stations owned by Raycom Media that were in jeopardy of being yanked from AT&T’s DirecTV have been sealed: They’ll continue to air on the DBS-based pay-TV service, thanks to a new retransmission fee agreement reached between the two companies.
The new deal came without the “blackout” of any Raycom stations on DirecTV, as several extensions to the original deal, which expired in August, were agreed upon by the companies. Had that not happened, DirecTV by law would have been required to discontinue offering any Raycom station to its subscribers.
“Our local commitment is to always put the needs of the communities we serve first,” Raycom President Pat LaPlatney said in prepared comments. “We’re pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement without any disruption to our viewers on the DirecTV system.”
Natural disasters including Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma likely played a role in the extension of the previous retransmission deal between Raycom and DirecTV, which LaPlatney allued to in his comments.
“Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are reminders of the critical role local broadcasters hold in the daily lives of our audiences. With this deal in place, we’re able to continue uninterrupted delivery [on DirecTV].”
Raycom and DirecTV have had a bumpy ride in recent years regarding retransmission fee accords.
On Sept. 6, Raycom Media successfully won a second reprieve with DirecTV as the two parties continued to hammer out a new retrans deal. In a news release published on the website of NBC affiliate WECT-6 in Montgomery, Ala., Raycom said keeping its stations on DirecTV outlets is of great importance, especially given the presence of Hurricane Irma as it moved toward South Florida.
Raycom owns FOX WFLX-29 in West Palm Beach, and ABC WWSB-7 in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.
Trouble began brewing between Raycom and DirecTV in late August. AT&T-owned DirecTV had not commented on the matter.
The last feud between Raycom and DirecTV was seen exactly three years ago.
Other major Raycom stations impacted by a potential “blackout” include 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.