AT&T tacked on yet another battlefront amid a flurry of retrans renewal negotiating impasses, with seven network affiliates owned by American Spirit Media pulling their signals off the operator’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms.
As is common in these licensing battles, the station owner claims that AT&T actually pushed the button on the blackout.
“As of 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sept 21, 2017, DirecTV has dropped seven American Spirit Media stations from its lineup in seven local markets,” the broadcaster said on its station websites. “We regret this disruption to our viewers and continue to work to reach an agreement.”
Charlotte, South Carolina-based American Spirit owns Fox affiliates WXTX-TV (Columbus, Georgia), WSFX-TV (Wilmington, North Carolina), WDBD-TV (Jackson, Mississippi), KVHP-TV (Lake Charles, Louisiana), and WUPW-TV (Toledo Ohio). It also owns CBS affiliate KAUZ-TV in Wichita Falls, Texas, and CW affiliate WUPV-TV in Richmond, Virginia.
WXTX-TV, WDBD-TV, WUPW-TV and WSFX-TV are blacked out on AT&T’s U-verse platform, in addition to DirecTV.
News of the American Spirit blackout came after Meredith Corp. threatened to pull its channels off DirecTV and U-verse on Friday if a broadcast retransmission license renewal could not be agreed upon.
AT&T released some rhetoric, but Meredith channels are still on its program guides.
Separately, AT&T is dealing with the blackout of two network affiliates in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio owned by Dispatch Broadcast Group.