DirecTV, Sunbeam end Miami blackout but Boston retrans impasse goes on

DirecTV has signed a deal to end a retrans dispute with Sunbeam TV over Fort Lauderdale Fox affiliate WSVN-TV, but Sunbeam's Boston NBC and CW affiliates remain blacked out on the satellite service.

DirecTV and Sunbeam Television have ended a stalemate in Miami/Fort Lauderdale that has kept the local Fox affiliate blacked out on the satellite service since mid-July, but the two companies remain at odds on retrans renewals deals for NBC and CW stations in Boston.

DirecTV and Sunbeam didn’t disclose terms of the deal for Fox affiliate WSVN-TV.

The Florida deal came as U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) called on the satellite operator and the station owner to end the impasse over Boston station WHDH-TV, which is keeping Boston-area DirecTV subscribers from seeing the Summer Olympic Games. CW station WLVI-TV is also blacked out on DirecTV.

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“We need these companies to work at Olympic record-breaking speed to resolve this dispute and get WHDH back on the air for Boston viewers,” Markey said in letters to Sunbeam, DirecTV parent company AT&T and the FCC.

Markey called on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to “bring the parties together so these negotiations can be concluded in an equitable and expeditious manner.”

Speaking to the Boston Herald, DirecTV spokeswoman Ellen Webner said that Sunbeam “keeps demanding a significant increase in their current fees just to allow the same families to keep watching shows that remain available for free over the air on Channels 7 and 56 and often online at NBC.com and CWTV.com. We want to get WHDH and WLVI back into our Boston customers’ lineups, and share their frustration.”

Sunbeam has also threatened Dish Network with a blackout amid a similar broadcast retransmission licensing impasse. 

With Dish currently blacked out on 42 Tribune Media stations, both the satellite operator and the station group, however, have good reasons not to open yet another battlefront. 

For more:
- read this TV Predictions story
- read this Boston Herald story

Related articles:
DirecTV signs retransmission deal with Sunbeam
Dish threatened with blackout by two Sunbeam affiliates
DirecTV blacked out by Sunbeam stations in Boston and Miami

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