WSB-TV off DirecTV, AT&T over fee dispute

March 26, 2020 Atlanta - For social distancing,  Channel 2 Action News Anchor Jovita Moore and Gov. Brian Kemp sit afar off during a town hall meeting to discuss the growing coronavirus pandemic that airs live on WSB-TV Channel 2, CBS46, Georgia Public Broadcasting, 11 Alive, FOX 5 Atlanta and Univision 34 Atlanta at WSB-TV Channel 2 on Thursday night, March 26, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
March 26, 2020 Atlanta - For social distancing, Channel 2 Action News Anchor Jovita Moore and Gov. Brian Kemp sit afar off during a town hall meeting to discuss the growing coronavirus pandemic that airs live on WSB-TV Channel 2, CBS46, Georgia Public Broadcasting, 11 Alive, FOX 5 Atlanta and Univision 34 Atlanta at WSB-TV Channel 2 on Thursday night, March 26, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

WSB-TV as of Tuesday morning is no longer on AT&T and DirecTV services Tuesday as the two sides failed to signto a new retransmission deal.

On its website, the station said “WSB-TV has been removed from AT&T/DirecTV after AT&T/DirecTV refused to agree to a fair agreement with our owner, Cox Media Group, to carry our station.”

“CMG viewers know our trusted local stations are there to deliver the news and information they need to make decisions for their families. Its disappointing that AT&T/DIRECTV has decided to deprive them of that access. We take pride in serving our communities and we will fight to continue to fulfill this responsibility,” said Paul Curran, CMG’s EVP of Television.

WSB-TV, which carries ABC programming and Channel 2 Action News, is majority owned by Apollo Global Management, which retained the Cox Media Group name. (Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, still retains a minority stake in WSB-TV.)

AT&T, which provides AT&T TV and DirecTV services, said in a statement that “we’re disappointed Cox Media Group and Wall Street financier Apollo Global Management have intentionally put our customers into the middle of a private business matter. We want to get WSB-ABC back into their local lineups, but Cox and Apollo alone have exclusive control over which homes are allowed to receive WSB-ABC and any ABC programs in Atlanta... We continue to work with Apollo and Cox to get to WSB-ABC back and appreciate our customers’ patience while we do.”

WSB-TV carries programs such as “The Bachelor,” “The Goldbergs,” “black-ish,” “Big Sky” and “A Million Little Things,” as well as “Good Morning America,” “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” “The View,” “Nightline,” “World News Tonight” and “Live With Kelly and Ryan.” It’s also the top-rated local news station in town.

The station noted that its programming will remain available for viewers to access through an over-the-air antenna for free, and this dispute will not affect viewers of other providers such as Comcast and Spectrum. WSB-TV said it has more than 100 similar agreements including recent ones with other major cable and satellite distributors.

The other 13 stations nationwide affected are also CMG-owned:

WFXT-TV, Channel 25 (FOX, Boston, MA)

WSOC-TV, Channel 9 (ABC, Charlotte, NC)

WAXN-TV, Channel 64 (IND, Charlotte, NC)

WHIO-TV, Channel 7 (CBS, Dayton, OH)

WFOX-TV, Channel 30 (FOX, Jacksonville, FL)

WFOX2-TV, Channel 32 (MNT, Jacksonville, FL)

WHBQ-TV, Channel 13 (FOX, Memphis, TN)

WFTV-TV, Channel 9 (ABC, Orlando, FL)

WRDQ-TV, Channel 27 (IND, Orlando, FL)

WPXI-TV, Channel 11 (NBC, Pittsburgh, PA)

KIRO-TV, Channel 7 (CBS, Seattle, WA)

KOKI-TV, Channel 23 (FOX, Tulsa, OK)

KMYT-TV, Channel 41 (MNT, Tulsa, OK)

A similar dispute led to WSB-TV being taken off for four months for Dish TV subscribers in Georgia last year.

AT&T also recently dealt with a dispute with TEGNA, which owns the local NBC affiliate WXIA-TV (11Alive) which led to an 18-day blackout in December.

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