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.
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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; firstname.lastname@example.org