13WHAM’s parent company and DirecTV are debating what's fair when it comes to carrying our programming.
Sinclair Broadcast Group which owns this station and DirectTV are negotiating a new contract to give DirecTV the right to broadcast our signal.
Sinclair Attorney Barry Faber said, "It's American Idol, March Madness on CBS, CSI. It's the most popular shows on TV that will not be carried on DirecTV."
That means at 12:01 a.m. March 1 the 13WHAM-TV signal on DirecTV could go black.
There are several factors involved. But like most business deals, money is one of the points being debated.
DirecTV pays Sinclair Broadcast Group to run its programs and DirecTV, in turn, charges its customers. The cost of producing those programs continues to get more expensive.
"What has happened is programming is costing more,” Faber said. “Programming costs are going up in huge, huge amounts. And for us and our stations to provide this programming is costing more."
Negotiations like this are becoming more common. DirecTV temporarily took Viacom Networks like Comedy Central and Nickelodeon off the air during negotiations.
Sinclair will continue to negotiate with DirecTV to reach an agreement before the deadline. Sinclair has reached hundreds of deals with DirecTV's competitors including Dish Network during the last 18 months. But Sinclair is not optimistic with these negotiations. DirectTV says these are the same unnecessary threats, posing as warnings that Sinclair has made to frighten customers of other pay TV providers.
In the meantime, remember you can watch our signal free over the air and it's also available from Dish Network and your local cable company. You can also go one step further.
"The best thing to do is call DirecTV,” Faber said. “You are the customer. The customer is always right. You can say that you will switch, let them know you will switch. That will make a difference; that is the ONE thing that will make a difference."
DirecTV says that they are engaged in productive discussions with Sinclair Broadcast Group to retain their local stations.