State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

WTAJ Among Stations Dropped from DirecTV

by on July 05, 2019 5:07 PM

Some satellite television subscribers in the area will find one local broadcast station is no longer in their channel lineup.

WTAJ-TV is among more than 120 stations nationwide that were blacked out on DirecTV as of Thursday amidst a contract dispute between station-owner Nexstar Broadcasting Group and the satellite service's parent company, AT&T.

WTAJ, channel 10, serves as the CBS affiliate for the State College, Altoona and Johnstown markets. 

Nexstar is one of the country's largest station owners and the channels no longer available on DirecTV or AT&T U-verse cover 97 markets.

Unsurprisingly, each company blames the other.

Nexstar said in a press release that DirecTV/AT&T refused "to accept an offer of an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement" through Aug. 2 to allow the two sides time to reach a new agreement. Instead, according to Nexstar, DirecTV/AT&T "unilaterally dropped" the stations.

"The only conclusion that can be drawn from DIRECTV/AT&T’s refusal to accept Nexstar’s offer of an extension is that rather than working on behalf of their subscribers, AT&T-DIRECTV continues to raise prices while reducing channels and content offerings," the press release said.

The station owner says it has offered DirecTV/AT&T the same rates it offered other large distributors in successful negotiations this year.

In a message to subscribers, meanwhile, DirecTV/AT&T said that it offered Nexstar more money to keep the stations.

"However, Nexstar simply said no and chose to remove them instead," the message said. "By doing so, Nexstar has put you in the center of its negotiations.

DirecTV/AT&T claims the move is part of the Nexstar playbook "to increase fees for stations far beyond their value. They’ve done it to Cox Cable, DISH, and Charter Spectrum, and now they’re doing it to us."

Nexstar says it has never had a disruption related to distribution agreements on the scale of DirecTV/AT&T's but that DirecTV/AT&T is "routinely involved in disputes" that lead to stations being blacked out.

Both sides said they are hopeful for a quick resolution and for the stations to return to DirecTV and AT&T U-verse platforms.

WTAJ is the only local station impacted by the dispute.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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