No White Knight: Broadcaster Rejects DirecTV's Election Ploy

DirecTV installer truck
(Image credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

White Knight Broadcasting rejected DirecTV's request that they set aside until after the elections the retransmission-fee dispute that has blacked out the broadcaster's stations to DirecTV subscribers.

DirecTV argued its subscribers need the stations' news programming to be fully informed citizens before casting their critical votes. The satellite-TV company also offered to pay retroactively whatever rate is agreed upon while the stations' signals are returned.

White Knight refused to don the black hat in their standoff.

"DirecTV should not cast blame upon the White Knight stations for DirecTV's own failure to make a meaningful offer for continued carriage of White Knight stations, especially during this critical time preceding the country’s midterm elections," said White Knight president Toby Malara.

White Knight has stations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Tyler-Longview, Texas.

"Nevertheless, our stations will continue to offer local political coverage on their websites," Malara said, pointing to where DirecTV subscribers will be able to get news about the election — and about the carriage dispute. 

The White Knight stations went dark on DirecTV on October 7.

DirecTV is also in a fee dispute with Mission Broadcasting's stations, which have been blacked out since October 21 when its retransmission agreement with the satellite company expired.

The stations owned by both White Knight and Mission are operated by Nexstar Media Group under management agreements.

Nexstar has its own blackout situation, with its stations not appearing in homes served by Verizon Communications' Fios TV. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.