Retransmission impasse pits small broadcaster against DirecTV


Northwest Broadcasting, a small privately owned television group with Fox affiliates serving five DMAs has not been able to come to terms with satcaster DirecTV. Northwest CEO Brian Brady says DirecTV is trying to move the goalposts in the middle of the negotiation.

Northwest owns and operates KAYU-TV in Spokane WA, KFFX-TV and KCYU-LP serving Tri-Cities/Yakima WA, KMVU-TV in Medford OR and WICZ-TV in Binghamton NY.

The group’s contract with DirecTV expired at the end of 2010. Northwest has been making offers, all of which have been rejected.

DirecTV earlier told the Couer d’Alene (ID) Press, “Northwest is making yet another desperate attempt to mask the fact that they are asking for a 600 percent increase and a rate that is astronomically higher than any other local station group,” he said. “But whomever customers choose to believe, it just seems like a no-brainer to keep the channels on while we negotiate, which is what we have asked Northwest to do from the beginning. It’s ultimately the right thing to do for the customer.”

Brady said, “DirecTV is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game. They had previously represented that they were not paying any broadcaster more than they offered Northwest; now they are limiting their statement to other stations in Northwest’s viewing area. They have made a proposal based on their new limited representation in order to represent to their subscribers that they have agreed to Northwest’s offer, when in reality it is just another distortion of the facts. Incredibly, a condition of their offer is that they will not disclose the number they are asking Northwest to agree to before Northwest agrees to their proposal.” 

Brady said of DirecTV’s statement, “Their response seems to be nothing more than publicity stunt; we stand by our offer to accept DirecTV’s number based on their original assertion that they are not paying any broadcaster more than they have offered Northwest subject to independent verification. It is disingenuous to be playing these kinds of games with their subscribers and our viewers.”