Sinclair Broadcast Group is warning DirecTV customers in Baltimore and other markets they could lose access to Sinclair-owned stations starting March 1 because of an inability to reach agreement over the amount the satellite company pays to carry the stations and their programs.
In the Baltimore market, Sinclair owns WBFF Fox 45 and has a local marketing agreement with WNUV The CW Baltimore. Sinclair's "carriage" agreement with DirecTV, which includes both stations, ends Feb. 28.
"Although DirecTV and Sinclair have been negotiating for quite some time in an effort to reach a new agreement, at this time it does not appear that these efforts will be successful," Baltimore-based Sinclair said in a statement.
In a response on its website, DirecTV called the negotiations productive and said neither DirectTV nor Sinclair intends to blackout the local stations.
"These are the same unnecessary threats, posing as warnings, that Sinclair has made to frighten customers of other pay TV providers," DirecTV's statement said. "We will compensate Sinclair fairly, but our customers should not be forced to pay more than twice as much for the same programs that remain available completely free of charge on the air and online."