WGAL blocked on DirecTV after parent companies reach impasse
DirecTV customers hoping to get local news and NFL coverage from NBC affiliate WGAL this weekend will be out of luck after the local station was pulled by its parent company.
A negotiations between the satellite television provider and WGAL-TV parent company Hearst Television reached an impasse Friday, Jan. 3, and now WGAL will no longer be broadcast on DirecTV or internet platform AT&T TV Now, according to a news release from the station.
Hearst was seeking a new carriage agreement — negotiating the right of DirecTV to carry its channel — before the new year. Its existing agreement was set to expire at midnight Tuesday, Dec. 31. It was extended by Hearst several times, but the extensions expired at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Unfortunately, the (DirecTV) negotiating team is seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable given the significant investments we have made to deliver top tier programming to our viewers,” said WGAL-TV President & General Manager Kyle Grimes in the release.
In a statement to Cord Cutters News, officials from DirecTV parent company AT&T said they tried to keep the Hearst networks on their television services while a deal was reached, but the company would not budge.
"Hearst has refused and instead continues to demand far higher fees than we have ever agreed to with any other station owner including very recent deals with far larger broadcasters," the statement from AT&T reads.
It's a move Hearst has pulled before, AT&T says. In early 2017, Hearst stations went dark for DirecTV customers before returning again about a week later.
AT&T noted that Hearst has blocked its stations on DISH Network, Charter Spectrum, Cox Communications and others in the past as well.
The company said it attempted to avoid an impasse by offering to pay Hearst retroactively for the coverage when a deal is reached, according to the statement.
“It should be noted that we have not ‘blacked out’ our station,” Grimes added.
The broadcast is available on the air through other local cable or satellite operators, and viewers can look up what kind of antenna they need at antennaweb.org to find it over the air, the release states.