Friday, March 31, 2023


April 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Stations owned by Tribune Corp. disappeared from the satellite service DirecTV on Sunday in a dispute over retransmission consent fees. Tribune owns 23 TV stations in the U.S., including several in top markets. Tribune President Nils Larsen said in a statement, “We don’t want anyone to lose the valuable programming we provide, but we simply cannot get fair compensation from DirecTV and we cannot allow DirecTV to continue taking advantage of us.” But Tribune issued a statement urging its customers to remain calm. “There is no need for you to do anything at this time, it said, “as these matters are typically resolved in a short amount of time.”

In a complaint filed late today (Monday) with the FCC, DirecTV claimed that it had negotiated a deal with Tribune to keep its stations on the satellite service while talks continued but that Tribune’s creditors had rejected it. Tribune is currently trying to emerge from bankruptcy protection. In a statement, DirecTV charged that Tribune’s decision to yank its stations represents “a brazen attempt to extract yet another bailout on the backs of innocent viewers.” Tribune quickly issued a denial, but the Tribune-owned Los Angeles Times reported that DirecTV has found a smoking gun in the case –email and phone conversations between Derek Chang, DirecTV’s executive vice president, and Nils Larsen, currently head of Tribune’s TV station group. In the transcript, Chang asks Larsen why their initial deal is now worthless. Larsen replies that “his constituents” had nixed it. In its complaint, DirecTV said, “DirecTV negotiated with Tribune for months, only learning on the very eve of expiration that it had never been dealing with anyone who had the authority required under the rules.”