Sinclair Broadcast Group warns DirecTV viewers of possible loss of channels
Sinclair Broadcast Group and DirecTV are in the midst of retransmission rights negotiations and appear headed for a showdown that could shut out Sinclair's stations in 47 markets around the country on the satellite provider starting March 1st.
In Michigan, Sinclair owns/operates CBS affiliate WWMT-TV Ch. 3 Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, FOX affiliate WSMH-TV Ch. 66 Flint/Saginaw/Bay City and ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV Ch. 53 Lansing/Jackson. In addition, Sinclair operates CW affiliates in Kalamazoo and Lansing that broadcast of subchannels of WWMT and WLAJ.
Sinclair's statement to viewers reads, in part: "Sinclair Broadcast Group recently began informing its viewers that it does not expect DirecTV to continue to carry any of Sinclair's stations after the existing carriage agreement terminates on February 28, 2013. Although DirecTV and Sinclair have been negotiating for quite some time in an effort to reach a new agreement, at this time it does not appear that these efforts will be successful. Although Sinclair does not believe that it is constructive to negotiate its private business relationships in public, Sinclair is informing the public in advance of the end of carriage because it is aware of the impact on a segment of the public from the end of the relationship between the Sinclair stations and DirecTV.
"We are very sorry that we have not been able to reach agreement with DirecTV and regret the inconvenience this will cause to DirecTV subscribers who want to continue to watch the extremely popular programming that airs on our stations."
DirecTV has issued a statement in response to Sinclair, "We're engaged in productive discussions with Sinclair Broadcast Group to retain their local stations in the DirecTV lineup. Our customers can be assured that neither DirecTV nor Sinclair has any intention of allowing the disruption of their local stations. These are the same unnecessary threats, posing as warnings, that Sinclair has made to frighten customers of other pay TV providers."
These types of disagreements seemingly have become commonplace in recent years - thankfully most service interruptions, if they happen at all, wind up being relatively short-lived. Most viewers in the affected markets should be able to use antennas and receive WWMT/WLAJ/WSMH over the air should the public squabbling escalate to the dropping of Sinclair's channels from DirecTV.
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