WSMV television, Nashville’s NBC affiliate, warned Thursday that its signal could be dropped as soon as tomorrow from AT&T and DIRECTV, claiming that the cable and satellite TV provider is not negotiating in good faith.
AT&T, however, claims that Channel 4’s owner, Meredith Corporation, ” is currently threatening to block WSMV from reaching our local customers’ homes unless Meredith receives a significant increase in fees.”
Cathy Lewandowski, AT&T’s Senior Public Relations Manager for Tennessee and Kentucky, released a statement in response to a press release from WSMV about the dispute:
“We want to keep WSMV in our Nashville customers’ local lineups. Doing so requires permission from its owner, Meredith Corp., since FCC rules grant WSMV exclusive control over whether that station remains available on either DIRECTV or U-verse. Meredith is currently threatening to block WSMV from reaching our local customers’ homes unless Meredith receives a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over-the-air on channel 4 and, typically, at NBC.com or using the NBC app. Meredith has blocked its stations from reaching different providers’ customers before and also threatened to disconnect others. We’d like to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably, and appreciate our Nashville customers’ patience while we attempt just that.”
WSMV warned that “if AT&T and DIRECTV fail to reach an agreement, WSMV’s programming, including local news, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, PGA Tour golf, and college football will not be available on AT&T and DIRECTV systems as of
September 22. WSMV will still be available over-the- air and from all other cable and satellite companies serving Nashville.”
The TV station released a statement from WSMV general manager Dale R. Woods:
“WSMV has been trying for months to get AT&T and DIRECTV to negotiate seriously. AT&T recently purchased DIRECTV and is in the midst of buying Time Warner for 85 billion dollars. WSMV may not be as important to AT&T and DIRECTV as it was when AT&T and DIRECTV were far smaller. But we believe WSMV is just as important to you, our viewers, no matter how large your cable or satellite company is. Reaching a deal and preventing a blackout is our top priority. We know the vital local news, emergency information, and top-rated sports and entertainment programming we provide are important to AT&T’s and DIRECTV’s customers, and we hope AT&T and DIRECTV will make it a priority to reach a deal too. If you are an AT&T or DIRECTV customer, you can help by calling AT&T AND DIRECTV and telling them you want WSMV. You can reach DirecTV by calling 1-800- 531-1000 and you can reach AT&T by calling 1-800- 288-2020 to speak with their customer service.
“If AT&T and DIRECTV drop WSMV, all of our great local news and NBC lineup will still be available from DISH, Comcast, and others, and of course, WSMV is always available for free over the air.”
“WSMV and its owner, Meredith, stand ready, willing and able to reach a fair deal with AT&T and DIRECTV. Meredith has successfully completed hundreds of carriage agreements without being dropped by cable or satellite operators, and there is still time for AT&T and DIRECTV to reach a deal too.”