NBC might be next loss for DirecTV customers

By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writerJanuary 6, 2011 

NBC programming might be the next to go dark for Tri-City DirecTV customers unless the owners of KNDO and KNDU can reach an agreement with the satellite TV provider.

Station owners have posted a notice on the stations' websites saying they had agreed to a two-week extension for negotiations on a contract that expired Friday.

The notice said issues in the dispute include the amount of payment the owners will receive from DirecTV to resell the station's broadcast signal, and a desire for DirecTV to carry the stations' SWX digital sports and weather channel.

The notice said negotiations are mandated by a federal law passed in 1992 that requires TV stations to negotiate with cable and satellite companies for the ability to resell the station's broadcast signal.

According to Federal Communications Commission records, the NBC affiliates in Yakima and the Tri-Cities are owned by the Cowles Co. in Spokane, which also owns Spokane NBC affiliate KHQ.

DirecTV customers already have lost programming -- including broadcasts of NFL games -- since FOX affiliate KFFX 11 in Kennewick went dark for DirecTV viewers Saturday because of a similar dispute in the wake of the expiration of a 10-year-old contract.

Representatives for KFFX owner Northwest Broadcasting, based in Michigan, said they want a contract that's more reflective of current market conditions, but DirecTV representatives said the broadcaster has asked for an unreasonable increase, leaving the two companies at impasse.

KFFX and KNDO/ KNDU will remain available through other cable and satellite providers, or via airwaves. To get the signal, viewers either need a digital TV and antenna, or an analog TV and digital converter box.

Over the airwaves, KNDU is at channel 25-1 in the Tri-Cities. The SWX weather and sports channel is 25-3.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service