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No resolution in sight for DirecTV blackout of local stations

Thursday, October 17, 2013 | 5:30 p.m. CDT; updated 6:34 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 18, 2013

COLUMBIA — The federal government has reopened, but another dispute continues to disrupt the lives of mid-Missouri residents.

On Sept. 30, the contract between satellite broadcast provider DirecTV and the company that owns the local ABC and Fox affiliates expired.

After a 10-day extension ended on Oct. 9, DirecTV dropped three channels in Columbia: ABC 17/KMIZ, FOX 22/KQFX and MyZouTV, as well as stations in 10 other markets around the nation.

Gene Steinberg, general manager at the umbrella company News-Press & Gazette Co. of Missouri, said on Thursday the dispute centered on digital rebroadcasting rights.

DirecTV is "asking for the right in the future to take our signal and offer it in a digital world," Steinberg said. "We don't have the rights from our program distributors to give them the right to do that. The dollar amount is not the big piece of the puzzle."

Steinberg said it was unlikely an agreement would be reached in time for the Missouri v. Florida game on Saturday that will be broadcast on KMIZ, the ABC affiliate.

"I have all limbs crossed, but I honestly don't know," he said.

Jay Rader, general manager at Bengals Bar & Grill and Dave Faron, owner of 44 Stone Public House, both said their establishments use DirecTV services. And if the Cardinals go to the World Series, which will be broadcast on Fox, both businesses could be affected.

Rader said they intended to show the Missouri game regardless of whether the dispute is resolved. "We can set up an antenna if we need to.  I haven't watched TV with bunny ears in a long time."

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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