Satellite service DIRECTV terminated carrying FOX 26 KNPN as of noon Wednesday, according to KNPN General Manager Eric Bradley.
Mr. Bradley expressed disappointment and said the decision only affects DIRECTV subscribers. The station still can be received free over the air; by Suddenlink cable in St. Joseph, Savannah and Maryville; Rainbow Communications in Hiawatha, Kan.; and the DISH satellite service.
The station and DIRECTV have been in negotiations for several weeks, he said, but the talks stalled earlier this week. The carriage agreement between KNPN and DIRECTV expired Sept. 30. Yet in an effort to accommodate DIRECTV and avoid a disruption of service to subscribers, Mr. Bradley said the station granted the extension.
Like cable companies, satellite companies mark up the price they pay for local broadcast signals and then re-sell those signals to subscribers.
“The core dispute between DIRECTV and the station involves the price DIRECTV is willing to pay the station for the right to re-sell the station’s signal and DIRECTV’s demand for the right to place the station’s signal on the Internet without paying the station a fair price,” he said.
He said DIRECTV pays other, considerably less popular program providers more than five times the rate the station is seeking in payment for its more highly rated signal. The station’s proposal — when compared to what DIRECTV pays for less popular programming — is modest and consistent with current market rates, he said.
It’s hoped the current impasse can be resolved and that the disruption for DIRECTV subscribers will end, Mr. Bradley said. But he said those subscribers may want to make plans for receiving KNPN off the air for free, or by switching to their local cable company or DISH.
In a statement issued later Wednesday, DIRECTV said the News-Press & Gazette Co. — which owns KNPN — had blacked out 13 local broadcast stations to DIRECTV local customers and “will not let us restore these channels unless DIRECTV commits to more than triple the price we currently pay to retransmit their ‘free’ TV signals.”
Mr. Bradley issued a response to DIRECTV’s statement.
“We are simply asking for a fair compensation for our valuable programming,” he said.