IRVING, Texas – United States Senators John Thune of South Dakota and John Kennedy of Louisiana join Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal as well as legislators from West Virginia, Ohio, South Dakota, Massachusetts, New York and Alabama in issuing letters urging direct broadcast satellite service provider DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse to immediately restore carriage of Nexstar-owned stations.
In his July 8, 2019 letter Senator Thune stated, “I strongly encourage AT&T/DIRECTV to provide carriage of KELO-TV and KCLO-TV through August 2, 2019, as requested by Nexstar, so that the parties can continue negotiations without impacting consumers’ ability to view their local news coverage in the affected broadcast markets.”
Similarly, in a letter directed to AT&T’s CEO, Senator Kennedy cites the probable impact to consumers in Louisiana at the height of hurricane season, stating “I am concerned that your failure to reach an agreement is negatively impacting Louisiana families. I am especially concerned about customers losing access to up-to-date weather information in the event that the tropical depression currently forming in the Gulf of Mexico turns into a hurricane.”
In closing, Senator Kennedy requests of AT&T, “I encourage you to accept Nexstar’s offer of a short-term extension while you resolve your differences.”
In New York, U.S. Congressman Anthony Brindisi issued a public statement calling on “…cable giant AT&T to negotiate in good faith with local broadcasters to continue to deliver local programming to their viewers. As thousands of Upstate New Yorkers lost access to their local television station this weekend, Brindisi went to bat for the local viewers. Local television provides critical programming for folks all across our district,” Brindisi said. “These blackouts are a public safety issue. Many New Yorkers use local television to find out about breaking news, traffic accidents, and important weather events. These blackouts need to end.”
Despite AT&T/DIRECTV having dropped the network and local community programming for Nexstar-owned stations 11:59 p.m. CT on July 3, Nexstar continues to negotiate in good faith with a goal of establishing a mutually agreeable contract with the cable company.
Consumers and viewers affected by AT&T/DIRECTV’s blackout can contact AT&T/DIRECTV directly at 208 South Akard Street, Dallas, TX 75202 and by phone at 855-567-1569 or 210-821-4105. Viewers affected by the loss of service from DIRECTV have several alternatives to continue watching their favorite shows including local cable providers, DISH, over-the-air, certain subscription streaming television services, and services such as Verizon’s FIOS.
A full copy of Senator Thune’s letter is available here: Senator Thune Letter July 2019.
A full copy of Senator Kennedy’s letter to AT&T’s CEO is available here: Senator Kennedy Letter July 2019.
Congressman Brindisi’s statement regarding the matter is available at: https://brindisi.house.gov/media/press-releases/brindisi-calls-cable-company-end-blackouts-behalf-local-consumers.