DIRECTV forced to black out stations in 33 markets

If you’re in one of the cities with a Hearst-owned local station, you probably don’t need me to tell you that you’ve lost that station. DIRECTV’s contract negotiations with Hearst Television didn’t get wrapped up by the end of the year, and as is customary. Hearst required DIRECTV to pull those stations until an agreement can be reached.

Yeah, let me say that again more clearly. DIRECTV didn’t want to do it, DIRECTV didn’t just do it, DIRECTV was forced to do it. That’s how these things go. If the lawyers at Hearst wanted to, they could have let you enjoy your local channels while negotiations were ongoing. That happens all the time, but it didn’t happen this time.

What’s the holdup? It’s money of course. Hearst wants more of it even though the ratings on their stations are down overall. I’m sure there’s more to it than that — these negotiations are extremely complex now, considering streaming and on demand rights — but in the end it comes down to money.

When you look at it that way, DIRECTV seems like the good guy here. They’re the ones fighting to keep your bill low. Depending on how you do your accounting, up to half of your bill passes from DIRECTV straight to the companies that provide programming to them, and the other half has to pay for all that satellite stuff that makes it possible for you to watch. AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, is a for-profit company so obviously some money is going to go to the stockholders, but there isn’t a whole lot left otherwise and so any increases in programming costs translate out to higher bills for you. That’s what DIRECTV’s lawyers are fighting to avoid.

It’s pretty likely the blackout won’t last long, since it includes network affiliates in highly populated areas. Still, if you don’t want to roll the dice, you should definitely get an antenna from Solid Signal so that you’ll never lose local TV again. A TV antenna is a one-time purchase that will let you get your local channels for free forever. With an antenna, you never have to worry about station blackouts because you’re always covered. Plus, you’ll discover dozens of channels you never knew about, from classic TV to local news to shopping and movies… ALL FREE!

If you’re curious, here’s the list of Hearst-owned stations, courtesy of Wikipedia.

City of license / Market Station Channel
Owned Since Network Affiliation
Birmingham – Tuscaloosa – Anniston, AL WVTM-TV 13 (13) 2014 NBC
Fort Smith – Fayetteville – Rogers, AR KHBS 40 (21) 1996 ABC
The CW (DT2)
Sacramento – Stockton – Modesto KCRA-TV 3 (35) 1999 NBC
KQCA 58 (46) 2000 MyNetworkTV
Salinas – Monterey – Santa Cruz, CA KSBW 8 (8) 1998 NBC
Daytona Beach – Orlando – Clermont, FL WESH 2 (11) 1999 NBC
WKCF 18 (17) 2006 The CW
Lakeland – Tampa – St. Petersburg, FL WMOR-TV 32 (19) 1996 Independent
Tequesta – West Palm Beach, FL WPBF 25 (16) 1997 ABC
Savannah, Georgia WJCL 22 (22) 2014 ABC
Des Moines KCCI 8 (8) 1999 CBS
Louisville WLKY 32 (26) 1999 CBS
New Orleans WDSU 6 (43) 1999 NBC
Poland Spring – Portland, ME WMTW 8 (8) 2004 ABC
Baltimore WBAL-TV ** 11 (11) 1948 NBC
Boston WCVB-TV 5 (20) 1986 ABC
Jackson, Mississippi WAPT 16 (21) 1995 ABC
Kansas City, Missouri KMBC-TV 9 (29) 1982 ABC
KCWE 29 (31) 2006 1 The CW
Omaha KETV 7 (20) 1999 ABC
Manchester, New Hampshire WMUR-TV 9 (9) 2001 ABC
Albuquerque – Santa Fe KOAT-TV 7 (7) 1999 ABC
Plattsburgh, N.Y. – Burlington, VT WPTZ 5 (14) 1998 NBC
The CW (DT2)
Winston-Salem – Greensboro –
High Point
WXII-TV 12 (31) 1999 NBC
Cincinnati WLWT 5 (35) 1997 NBC
Oklahoma City KOCO-TV 5 (7) 1997 ABC
Lancaster – Harrisburg –
York – Lebanon
WGAL 8 (8) 1999 NBC
Pittsburgh WTAE-TV 4 (51) 1958 ABC
Greenville – Spartanburg – Asheville – Anderson WYFF 4 (36) 1999 NBC
Hartford, VT – Hanover, N.H. WNNE
(semi-satellite of WPTZ)
31 (25) 1998 NBC
Milwaukee WISN-TV 12 (34) 1955 ABC

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.