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Tribune Warns DirecTV Subscribers Stations May Go Dark

CHICAGO: Tribune TV stations in 16 markets started telling DirecTV subscribers they may drop signals at midnight, March 31. That’s when Trib’s contract with the satellite service provider expires. Trib also said DirecTV subs would lose access to WGN America as well.

“Despite our best efforts, DirecTV is refusing to offer a fair deal and we remain far apart in negotiations,” said Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting president. “As a result of DirecTV’s inflexibility, there’s a strong likelihood that service interruptions will occur.... We want to make sure that subscribers remember that if DirecTV drops the programming provided by our stations, subscribers will still have options.... Our broadcast stations are available for free in HD with a TV antenna or through an alternative pay-TV provider.”

DirecTV replied in a statement that it had always “compensated Tribune fairly and have no problem continuing to do so. We have absolutely no intention of denying anyone access to these stations, unless Tribune specifically demands it.”

Potentially affected stations include CW affiliates WGN in Chicago, WKAF in Dalls-Forth Worth, KWGN in Denver, WCCT in Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; KIAH in Houston, WTTV in Indianapolis, KTLA in Los Angeles, WSFL in Miami, WNOL in New Orleans, WPIX in New York, KRCW in Portland, Ore.; WDCW in Washington and WPLR in St. Louis, Mo. Fox affiliates WXMI in Grand Rapids, Mich.; WPMT in Harrisburg-Lancaster, Pa.; WTIC in Hartford-New Haven, WXII in Indianapolis, KTXL in Sacramento, Calif.; KSWB in San Diego and KCPQ in Seattle are also under the same contract, as well as WGNO, the ABC affiliate in New Orleans, WPHL, a MyNetworkTV affil in Philadelphia, and WDCW, a MyNet in Washington.