DirecTV blacked out by 12 SJL Broadcasting network affiliates

DirecTV rooftop satellite dish
Image: DirecTV

Amid the latest retransmission consent battle between one of the two major satellite TV companies and a broadcast station group, family-owned SJL Broadcasting has blacked out six stations representing 12 channels on DirecTV.

Affected stations include Hawaiian ABC affiliates KITV-TV, KHVO-TV and KMAU-TV, as well as ABC affilliate WENY-TV in Elmira, New York, and NBC station WICU-TV and CBS outlet WSEE-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania.

News of the blackout was first reported by satellite TV business tracker Phillip Swann. 

SJL began posting messages on its station websites early last month, warning DirecTV subscribers of a possible service interruption.

“The SJL Broadcasting negotiating team has been ready and available around-the-clock to engage in substantive negotiations with DirecTV—in hopes of concluding a fair agreement that reflects the current marketplace,” the company said. 

A DirecTV statement, meanwhile, implied that the satellite carrier was the party that initiated the blackout in this instance.

“We want to get [the SJL stations] back into your lineup as soon as possible,” the operator said. “Doing so requires permission from its owner…since FCC rules grant (the channel) exclusive control over whether that station remains available on DirectTV. We share your frustration because (Lilly) is deliberately preventing (the station) from reaching your home.”

DirecTV’s satellite TV rival, Dish Network, is the leader in retrans blackouts among major TV services, but AT&T-owned DirecTV has its share. The company, for example, experienced a significant blackout by Hearst Television in January.