(News Release) – St. Joseph, Missouri, Jan. 19, 2017 — AT&T* calls upon KNPN and its St. Joseph, Missouri-based owner, News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting, to end its local station blackout and allow local fans here to see Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers.
AT&T cannot offer KNPN and the NFC Championship Game to its DIRECTV customers in St. Joseph without News-Press & Gazette’s permission. FCC rules grant KNPN exclusive control over whether it remains in the local DIRECTV lineup. News-Press & Gazette began blacking out local DIRECTV customers on Jan. 12 in order to increase the fees AT&T pays to retransmit its over-the-air signal, costing local NFL fans their usual access to two of the four Divisional Round playoff games last weekend.
“We believe there is no public interest served in deliberately inconveniencing thousands of local homes and disrupting hard-working proprietors of local restaurants and Missouri sports bars who provide the NFL Playoffs and similar events to support their businesses and local employees,” said Robert Thun, AT&T senior vice president of content and programming.
“AT&T has always wanted to keep KNPN in our lineup – asking several times that News-Press & Gazette allow local residents to see the NFL playoffs and other shows as usual – but News-Press & Gazette has repeatedly refused.”
AT&T has agreed to compensate News-Press & Gazette for KNPN’s entire day’s schedule rather than the 3 hours for a typical game. AT&T will also pay any higher retransmission consent rate to which the parties eventually agree.
“As soon as we have News-Press & Gazette’s permission, we can follow any specific instructions on what time to begin Fox Sports’ NFC Championship Game coverage into our local DIRECTV customers’ homes and – if News-Press & Gazette demands it – when to remove KNPN once that game has ended. We ask nothing more than for News-Press & Gazette to set aside our private business differences for a few hours and allow fans to enjoy their game,” Thun said.