Rep. Anthony J. Brindisi, D-22, Utica, is among members of Congress weighing in on the dispute between AT&T and Nexstar Broadcasting over fees for programming that has taken a handful of local Mohawk Valley channels off the AT&T service DirectTV.
DirecTV stopped carrying the signals of Nexstar-owned stations July 4. These include WUTR, the ABC affiliate in Utica and WFXV, the Fox broadcast network affiliate, and WPNY, which airs a mix of syndicated programming, including New York Yankees games.
The companies had been negotiating over fees DirectTV pays for programming from broadcast channels.
The companies blamed each other, Nexstar saying it offered the same rates charged other large distribution partners, and AT&T saying Nexstar over-valued its stations.
Brindisi wrote a joint letter to both companies urging them to continue negotiations while not taking a side.
“Families in Upstate New York rely on their local broadcast channels for news and weather, including public safety information,” Brindisi wrote in his letter, dated Tuesday. “These stations provide crucial information on severe thunderstorms, flooding, and dangerous winter weather. When they go off the air, local residents are left in the dark about important issues and events that impact their families’ safety.”
The affected stations can be viewed in Rome using a small, multi-directional digital antenna, according to antennaweb.org. WUTR is at channel 20.1 and WFXV at channel 33.