Hearst Television announced Friday night that it has reached an impasse in its negotiations with DirecTV and has discontinued the WBAL-TV signal to those in Baltimore area who get the channel through the satellite system.
Hearst is the parent company of WBAL-TV. The channel is no longer being carried on DirecTV or AT&T TV NOW.
“We have made significant investments to deliver top tier programming to our viewers and DirecTV is seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable,” Hearst said in a statement.
“We regret the inconvenience DirecTV’s demands have imposed on its subscribers, and we will keep our communities fully informed of developments," the company said.
Hearst and DirecTV had been in protracted negotiations, and the agreement was set to expire at midnight Dec. 31, 2019. But it was extended to 3 p.m. Thursday, then to 3 p.m. Friday and then to 7 p.m. The company directs those who are inconvenienced to call DirecTV customer service at 1-800-531-5000 or 1-800-288-2020.
Viewers can still get the station with an antenna.
In a statement to Cord Cutters News, AT&T TV NOW said it sought to get Hearst to continue carrying its stations until an agreement is completed.
“Hearst has refused and instead continues to demand far higher fees than we have ever agreed to with any other station,” the statement said.
The company went on to blame Hearst for “intentionally withhold its stations and two of this weekend’s NFL playoff games to try to keep increasing its fees for free broadcast TV.” AT&T TV said it had agreed to pay Hearst stations retroactively if it carried the football games.
“Make no mistake, the decision to deny any fans their usual access to these games is Hearst’s alone,” the statement said.
Hearst operates 34 television and two radio stations in 39 states.