White Knight, Mission Spurn DirecTV Request to Return TV Stations to Lineup

(Image credit: DirecTV)

The standoff between DirecTV and White Knight Broadcasting and Mission Broadcasting continued Friday as the satellite provider accused the broadcast groups of “betraying the public trust,” by refusing to return their 25 local stations to the DirecTV lineup.

At issue is a retransmission dispute that prompted the two station groups—both managed by Nexstar Media— to  pull their stations from DirecTV a week ago after the two sides failed to come to an agreement.

Earlier this week, DirecTV asked White Knight and Mission to return their stations to its lineup during the mid-term election campaign and in exchange the satellite provider said it would pay the increase in retrans fees based on what the two sides would eventually agree on.

“This is a critical time in American political life,” DirecTV said. “We are less than two weeks from one of the most important  Congressional midterm elections in American History, and gubernatorial elections in 36 states. The results of  this midterm will have a profound impact on some of the most important political, public health and economic  issues of our time."  

White Knight and Mission denied DirecTV’s request. 

"White Knight Broadcasting and Mission Broadcasting, both actively managed by Nexstar Media Group, have flat-out refused our requests to return their 25 local stations to our customers in 23 media markets through the results of the Nov. 8 mid-term elections,” DirecTV said in a statement. “At the same time, our offer to return the stations and be compensated at a new future higher rate remains completely open, both station groups continue to use their Nexstar-managed news services to propagate the outright lie and misinformation that DIRECTV has ‘forced off’ or otherwise ‘removed’ the same stations.

“Each broadcaster involved has made clear that abandoning journalistic integrity and betraying the public trust are not only acceptable, but readily available, in their shameless pursuit of financial fortunes,” DirecTV added.

Mission Broadcasting President Dennis Thatcher told Broadcasting & Cable that they “definitely considered” DirecTV’s offer for the next 10 days, “but at this point we don’t feel like that's going to advance the ball.”

“All it will do is delay the inevitable and there's always the potential for another takedown,” he added.

Thatcher said that, instead, he would rather see the two sides reach an agreement that reflects the reality of today's media marketplace. 

“There’s a new normal in America and our costs have increased,” Thatcher said. “While our cost of programming continues to rise, we’re all adding more and more local programming and we think we’re adding more value. All we want is to be compensated for that value.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.