CBS affiliate WUSA-TV Channel 9 owner Tegna and Verizon are at an impasse in negotiations to renew a retransmission agreement, and the Tegna stations were no longer being carried on Verizon FIOS service effective Jan. 4, including Channel 9 and three other Tegna-owned stations.
D.C. is Verizon’s largest market based on subscribers, according to Cablefax.
There is no indication when Tegna stations may return to FIOS service. It also affects an NBC affiliate station in Buffalo, New York, a Fox station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and an ABC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.
In statements released by both Verizon and Tegna, each blamed each other for the standoff.
“This is not the first time that Tegna has removed their content from a TV provider. Tegna has a track record of removing their content when a TV provider refuses to accept their demands for unreasonable rate increases,” Verizon said in a statement. “We are trying our best to reach a reasonable deal with Tegna and hope Tegna will restore its channels to our lineup soon.”
In its own statement, Tegna said it had been working with Verizon for months to reach a fair, market-based agreement on competitive terms.
“We are especially disappointed that Verizon has pulled access at a time when local broadcast stations are a lifeline, connecting people to the news, information and entertainment they need and want most. We hope Verizon realizes how important our stations are to their subscribers and works with us to reach a fair agreement,” Tegna’s statement said.
The original agreement for FIOS to carry Tegna stations was set to expire Dec. 31, but the two reached an extension that kept Tegna’s stations on FIOS through Tuesday.
Tegna stations have been off DISH Network since October after failing to reach an agreement on continuing to carry its channels.
For D.C. viewers and those in other affected markets, Verizon suggests using an over-the-air antenna, and says some of the programming may also be available on third-party applications or online.