Happiness is a Warm TV

3 weeks into its fight with AT&T, WRAL counters with free antennas for U-verse users

Local AT&T U-verse customers are being offered free antennas to help them view WRAL and WRAZ programming while a weeks-old contract dispute between AT&T and Capital Broadcasting Co. remains unresolved.

WRAL, partnering with local antenna company Mohu, plans to hand out free antennas from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 2-3) at PNC Arena in Raleigh. People must provide proof of their U-verse subscription and a matching ID, and will be allowed one antenna per household while supplies last.

WRAL, the local NBC affiliate, and local Fox affiliate WRAZ have been off the air for AT&T U-verse customers since Sept. 13. WILM in Wilmington is also affected.

AT&T claims the dispute revolves around Capitol Broadcasting, the stations’ parent company, wanting a “significant increase” in retransmission fees paid by AT&T.

WRAL posted its response in the contact section of its website, asking customers to call AT&T and voice objection to the channels being dropped. The station also told customers that WRAL and WRAZ can be viewed for free with an over-the-air antenna, and provided a link to purchase the devices.

The dispute has not sat well with local U-verse customers.

This isn’t the first time Capital Broadcasting has been involved in this type of dispute.

In 2012, the company gave away antennas ahead of an expected split with DirecTV, but coverage was never disrupted as the two groups settled differences at the last second. Another dispute, in 2016, took WRAL and WRAZ off of DirecTV for a couple of days.