Local NBC affiliate WRAL-TV and Fox affiliate WRAZ are off the air for customers of AT&T U-verse because of a contract dispute between AT&T and Capitol Broadcasting, parent company of the stations.
The outage also affects WILM, Capitol’s independent station in Wilmington.
WRAL tweeted about 6 p.m. Wednesday asking customers to call AT&T and tell them the station is important to them.
“Our channels are currently not airing on AT&T U-verse. Capitol Broadcasting Company stations WRAL and FOX 50 are affected and we apologize for the inconvenience to you. While we work to get this resolved, it’s always helpful, for you, the customer, to call AT&T U-verse and tell them you expect to get the channels you’re paying them for. That number is 1-800-288-2020.
In the meantime, you can always watch WRAL/NBC and FOX 50/Fox Network for free in crystal clear HD with an over-the-air antenna, available at local big box stores or get one here.
Other ways to watch WRAL: All WRAL newscasts are available live right here on WRAL.com or you can download the free WRAL channel app and stream the newscasts live on Roku, AppleTV and Fire TV.”
WRAL also has an extensive FAQ on their site: wral.com/missing-wral-fox-50-on-at-t-u-verse-/16921951.
During the outage, the TV screens of AT&T U-verse customers carry this message: “The owner of this channel has removed it from the U-verse lineup despite our request to keep it available to you. Visit att.com/fightingforyou for more information on this station’s return.”
A statement from Josh Gelinas, an AT&T Uverse spokesman, lays the blame on WRAL’s parent company, saying, “Capitol is deliberately stopping WRAL and WRAZ from reaching their homes until Capitol receives a significant increase in fees.”
The full statement:
“We want to get WRAL and WRAZ back into our Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville customers’ lineups as soon as possible. Doing so requires permission from their owner, Capitol Broadcasting, since FCC rules grant WRAL and WRAZ exclusive control over whether those stations remain available on U-verse. We share our customers’ frustration because Capitol is deliberately stopping WRAL and WRAZ from reaching their homes until Capitol receives a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over the air on channels 50 and 5 and, often, at nbc.com and fox.com or using the NBC and Fox Now apps. Capitol has blocked its stations from reaching our own and other providers’ customers before, while also threatening to disconnect others. All Capitol needs to do is grant its permission, and we can have WRAL and WRAZ back into our customers’ homes within moments. Our goal is to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably, and we appreciate our Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville customers’ patience while we attempt just that.”
The FAQ on the WRAL website says, “Since they charge you to watch our channels, we are allowed to share in that revenue because they are using our programming.”
WRAL declined additional comment.
What will you miss?
Over the next few days the most important misses are college football games, airing Saturday on WRAL and Fox, and NFL football on both WRAL and Fox on Sunday.
WRAL also airs “Days of Our Lives” each weekday at 1 p.m.