WRBL-TV programming has been removed from the DIRECTV satellite television system and AT&T U-verse cable television systems serving areas of East Alabama and the Chattahoochee Valley.
The blackout began at 11:59 p.m. local time on July 3, 2019 after talks broke down between negotiators for AT&T and Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc., the company which owns WRBL-TV.
Satellite and cable television systems, including DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse, are allowed to re-broadcast local television station signals, like that of WRBL-TV, under retransmission agreements.
According to a written statement released by Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc., WRBL-TV’s parent company offered to AT&T “an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement to August 2” so that negotiations could continue without an interruption of WRBL-TV’s programming on the television systems owned by AT&T.
“However,” the Nexstar statement continued, “with minutes to go before the previous agreement was set to expire, DIRECTV/AT&T did not accept Nexstar’s offer for an extension.”
AT&T posted a statement on its website https://tvpromise.att.com/ about the removal of Nexstar television stations’ programming from AT&T-owned systems.
“Nexstar pulls or threatens to pull their stations from the customers of TV providers to increase fees for stations far beyond their value,” read a portion of the AT&T statement.
In comparison, the Nexstar statement said the company “has offered DIRECTV the same rates it offered to other large distribution partners with whom it completed successful negotiations with in 2019.”
“DIRECTV is willing to hold its paying subscribers hostage because it won’t agree to fair and reasonable terms for viewers’ favorite programming,” the Nexstar statement added.
The blackout by the nation’s largest direct broadcast satellite service provider affects all Nexstar televisions stations, more than 120 in 97 markets across the United States.
Viewers affected by the loss of service from DIRECTV have several alternatives to continue watching their favorite WRBL-TV shows including watching different local cable providers, DISH, over-the-air, certain subscription streaming services, and services such as Verizon’s FIOS.
To read the complete text of the news release from Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. click here.
“We regret any inconvenience caused to our loyal viewers by AT&T’s reckless actions,” said WRBL-TV General Manager David Hart.
“Rest assured we will continue to serve our community and keep bringing quality news, sports, and entertainment shows to viewers in East Alabama and the Chattahoochee Valley,” added Hart.
Consumers and viewers affected by DIRECTV/AT&T’s blackout can contact DIRECTV/AT&T directly at 208 South Akard Street, Dallas, TX 75202 and by phone at 855-567-1569 or 210-821-4105.
For the full release of information on the negotiations with AT&T/DIRECTV, click below: