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WSFX Parent Company, DirecTV, U-Verse Reach Transmission Agreement

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Feb 5, 2018
DirecTV and U-Verse customers in the Wilmington area can now watch WSFX Fox Wilmington, after more than four months of transmission negotiations between the local TV station’s parent company and AT&T Entertainment Group.

AT&T Entertainment Group and Charlotte-based American Spirit Media LLC, the parent company to the local TV station, reached a new agreement Jan. 30, which “resulted in American Spirit’s WSFX Fox returning to Wilmington’s DirectTV and U-Verse customers’ homes,” officials with AT&T said Friday.

The two companies have come to a yearlong agreement, the details of which were not released, according to Fox Wilmington General Manager Charlotte Cohen.

Although the agreement is for a year, Cohen said that it could help with a smooth transition to the next.

 "A lot of these just get done seamlessly, and the public isn't really aware what is going on," Cohen said. "So hopefully, now that we have come to terms with them [AT&T], it will be easier going forward."

The WSFX lineup was dropped from DirecTV, a subsidiary of AT&T, and AT&T U-verse, on Sept. 21, which prompted the monthslong negotiations between American Spirit Media and AT&T, as the two companies battled out fees for content.

In early January, the two companies exchanged letters in those negotiations, without resolution. The two companies expressed different public opinions on who was responsible for the blackout.

Linda Burakoff, vice president of content and programming for AT&T Entertainment Group, said in her early January letter to Cohen, that WSFX "alone had the power to determine whether the station remains in the DirecTV or U-verse lineups" since it required permission from American Spirit Media.

American Spirit Media, however, claimed it was DirecTV and U-verse that dropped its stations.

Cohen said the outage overall impacted seven of the American Spirit markets, in Wilmington; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Richmond, Virginia; Columbus, Georgia; Wichita Falls, Texas; and Toledo, Ohio.

“I just want to thank people for their patience because we know this was trying for their subscribers," Cohen said in response to the agreement. "We are thrilled to be back on."
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