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Office Hours

Why it took nine weeks for KAYU to get back on DirecTV’s satellite feed

So what really kept the Spokane Fox Affiliate off DirecTV for about nine weeks?
One story running today in the SR said it came down to a contractual dispute over money.

Jon Rand, an executive with Northwest Broadcasting, parent firm of KAYU-Fox 28, said that the real reason wasn't the payment plan  — AKA the carriage fee, which is paid to the station based on some specific amount per subscriber in the market.

The real issue was the aggressive effort, he said, by DirecTV to establish a “most favored nation” clause in their contract. We'll get to that in a minute. Here's the official statement by KAYU:

It is with great excitement that FOX 28 announces they have reached an agreement with DIRECTV!

As of 5 p.m. Oct. 26,  FOX 28 returned to the DIRECTV line-up.  DIRECTV viewers are now able to watch their favorite FOX 28 programming including Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, the X Factor and the World Series.

“We are thrilled to be able to return FOX 28 programming to the DIRECTV schedule and are very grateful to our viewers for their patience and loyalty,” said General Manager of FOX 28, Doug Holroyd.  “We also want to remind all of our viewers that FOX 28 is a broadcast television station and a beautiful HD signal can be seen over-the-air for free.”

Back when this battle started, Northwest Broadcasting's Rand summarized the key issue this way:

“DirecTV’s allegation of gigantic price increases does not hold water in this case, since price was not the core issue that shot the agreement with Northwest down.”

Here's the short version of what held things up, at least as reported by Northwest Broadcasting:

DirecTV wanted a “most favored nation” clause that guaranteed it would get a rate as good or better as any KAYU signed with other providers.

Then DirecTV also wanted this to be retroactive, back to January 2011. 

Northwest Broadcasting balked at that request.  And even now no one will say if they backed down, to help get the World Series broadcasts back on DirecTV.

Asked to comment on the settlement or explain how the sides resolved the issues, a DirecTV spokesman declined to give a reason.

Meanwhile, Rand suggested, in an email, that it was DirecTV who finally changed its stance:  “The World Series seemed to motivate DirecTV this week.”


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