AT&T and WSOC-TV agreed that it is a shame that DirecTV and U-Verse users lost access to the Charlotte ABC affiliate on New Year’s Eve, and the drama was over by the end of the day. Cox Media Group announced on Sunday that they have reached deals with both U-Verse and DirecTV services for WSOC and the signals would be returning to the services soon.
Interestingly, both AT&T and Cox Media Group blamed the other for the failure to have a contract. This led to WAXN (Channel 64) and WSOC (Channel 9) blacking out on DirecTV and U-Verse packages. Joe Pomilla, vice president and general manager of WSOC-TV, blamed DirecTV and U-Verse for refusing to pay reasonable rates to support local programming.
“Producing and broadcasting high-rated, top-quality programming is very expensive,” the station said in an online Q&A. “WSOC-TV invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in our local news, weather and emergency programming. Without the fees from cable and satellite operators, this would not be possible.”
However, Josh Gelinas, the communications director for AT&T, replied that Cox Broadcasting, which owns the WSOC-TV stations, is asking for “a significant increase in fees just to allow the same families to keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air on channels 9 and 64, and that ABC typically streams for free at abc.com and to fans using the WatchABC app.”
The Q&A shared in the WSOC website notes that they have reached agreements with all the other major satellite and cable TV companies like Comcast and Dish Network. “Naturally, we cannot give away our product for less than it is worth,” the statement says.
AT&T said that Cox Media Group has been involved brief shutdowns during the various contract negotiations that has taken place in the past, “so we appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably.”
If a deal was not made between WSOC-TV and AT&T, the ABC affiliate would have been dropped from all DirecTV packages and U-Verse channel list forever. Return of the WSOC-TV channels to DirecTV and U-Verse is happy news for the WSOC-TV fans.