MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama Senator Doug Jones wrote a letter to Nexstar Media Group President Perry Sook and AT&T CEO Randall Stevenson hoping to encourage a deal between the company and AT&T/DirecTV.
A week after AT&T and DirecTV removed stations owned by Nexstar in their line up, the senator wrote the following letter:
“Dear Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Sook:
I am writing about the dispute between your companies that has resulted in the blackout of a number of stations in my state including WIAT in Birmingham, WDHN in Dothan, WHDR and WZDX in Huntsville, and WKRG and WFNA in Mobile.
While I understand that this is a contractual dispute between two private companies, and as such I do not take a position on either side of this matter, I am nevertheless concerned about how this dispute is negatively impacting thousands of my constituents in Alabama. My constituents rely on their local channels for news, weather and entertainment. In addition, local news plays an important role in public safety and when local stations go off air, residents can be left in the dark about issues that impact them. This is especially true with regard to severe weather that often impacts Alabama.
Therefore, I encourage your companies to negotiate deal that treats both sides fairly in as timely a manner as possible. In the interim, I implore you to return these local channels to airwaves. Do not use the people of Alabama as a bargaining chip.
Doug Jones United States Senator
In a statement issued by Nexstar shortly following the removal of their stations from AT&T/DIRECTV, Nexstar says AT&T and DirecTV did not accept Nexstar’s offer for an extension which would have allowed viewers in the affected markets to view their favorite network shows, special events, sports, local news and other programming on the Fourth of July and until such time as a new agreement can be reached. Contrary to AT&T’s public statements, Nexstar in no way pulled its stations or asked for their removal from AT&T/DIRECTV’s DIRECTV, U-verse or DIRECTV NOW platforms. Nexstar is also reiterating its offer of an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement for 30 days to restore the blacked-out programming to viewers and allow the parties to reach a new agreement.
Consumers and viewers affected by AT&T/DIRECTV’s blackout can contact AT&T/DIRECTV directly at 208 South Akard Street, Dallas, TX 75202 and by phone at 855-567-1569 or 210-821-4105.