Local television channels WRAL and WRAZ have been blacked out on DirecTV after Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting, which owns the two stations, failed to negotiate a new contract with the satellite television provider.
In a message posted on WRAL.com, Capitol said it has been negotiating with DirecTV since November, extending its contract several times, including this past weekend so that DirecTV viewers could watch the NFL playoff games.
The Super Bowl, as well as this Sunday’s AFC Championship game, are scheduled to be broadcast on WRAL on Jan. 24 and Feb. 7.
Capitol engaged in similar drama with DirecTV in early 2013. A compromise in that situation was announced half an hour before the station had promised to shut down its signal to DirecTV.
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Capitol is currently offering a $50 discount on the purchase of an antenna, which enables viewers to watch WRAL and WRAZ over-the-air.
The dispute is over how much in carriage fees DirecTV will pay Capitol to broadcast its stations. In a statement, Capitol complained that DirectTV “is raising your bill regardless of the outcome of our negotiation” and said it was working to reach a “fair agreement.”
DirecTV said in a statement that it intends to get the two stations back on the air.
“We intend to get WRAL and WRAZ back into our Raleigh customers’ line-ups and apologize for this disruption,” the company said. “The stations’ owner Capitol Broadcasting is prohibiting WRAL’s and WRAZ’s signals from reaching our customers’ homes unless they receive a significant increase in their current fees that we believe is unreasonable just to let the same customers keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air on channels 48 and 49 and often online at CBS.com and fox.com.”