Blackout Season! Mission Broadcasting Stations Go Dark on DirecTV and U-verse

University of Texas football
University of Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers believes that if the Longhorns can move the chains and hold onto the football, they should be fine in their game against Oklahoma City Saturday nationally televised on ABC. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Mission Broadcasting, which operates 25 network affiliates spanning Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Indiana, New York and a dozen other states, has been pulled from the DirecTV and U-verse TV pay TV platforms. 

The skirmish marks another pay TV blackout that involves Nexstar Media Group, which manages the Mission affiliates. 

This outage will undoubtedly hit hard in regions like Lubbock, Texas, where ABC affiliate KAMC is scheduled on Saturday to air the anticipated college football matchup between Texas and Oklahoma State. 

And of course, DirecTV satellite TV, DirecTV Stream and U-verse customers across Mission’s footprint of CBS, Fox and NBC stations will feel the pain on this coming NFL Sunday. 

Amid this exhausting dance emerges the usual impassioned rhetoric. 

“Unfortunately, Mission Broadcasting and its 25 stations operated by Nexstar Media Group decided to exercise their right to block access to our customers in 23 cities,” DirecTV said in a statement. “By law, Mission can refuse any compromise we offer and has the right to suspend any station from our customers’ local channel lineup — which we had wanted to avoid. We continue to work toward an agreement to deliver the entertainment our customers want at the best possible value. More information is available on TVPromise.com.”

Meanwhile, Mission stations are taking the ol’ “It's not our fault — we’re doing everything we can,” approach. Here's what WNAC Providence, Rhode Island, told its DirecTV/U-verse constituents:

“WNAC and DirecTV have a contract that allows them to carry our programming to you.  That contract has expired and DirecTV removed WNAC from your schedule. WNAC has presented a proposal for fair value, based on the importance and value our programming brings to our viewers. Despite our tireless efforts, DirecTV has refused our fair offer and is making negotiations very difficult.  You might have seen them do this before. They will tell you it’s for your benefit, but don’t believe it. Our offer is fair. And now they hold you the subscriber hostage. It’s not right.”

The American Television Alliance sent out a press release Friday afternoon targeting Nexstar. 

“This is now the third ongoing TV blackout in as many weeks from Nexstar,” said ATVA spokesperson Jessica Kendust. “Nexstar’s behind-the-scenes manipulation of three simultaneous negotiations has resulted in a significant loss of stations across the country, including major college and NFL football and postseason baseball games.”

Within the past two weeks, Nexstar has seen all its local stations and NewsNation taken off Verizon Fios, while White Knight Broadcasting, also controlled by Nexstar, pulled its NBC affiliate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fox affiliate in Tyler, Texas , from DirecTV and U-verse.

“When massive conglomerate broadcasters like Nexstar use their power and influence to corner the market through sham management agreements with smaller broadcasters, consumers experience more frequent TV blackouts and see their monthly bills increase,” Kendust added. “It’s time for Congress to reform outdated TV laws and put an end to this predatory practice.”

Meanwhile, via TVPromise.com (opens in new tab), its online resource for blackout-affected customers, DirecTV reminded its subscribers of a similar kerfuffle Mission had with Dish two years ago. 

DirecTV also suggested, of course, that all of the affected stations are available free over the air via an antenna. ■

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!