TV squabble forces NFL fans to scramble

If you're a DirecTV customer planning to catch this afternoon's Packers-Bears NFC Championship game, you're most likely out of luck.

As the impasse between Northwest Broadcasting Co. — whose four local television stations include KMVU in Medford — and the satellite programmer enters its fourth week, both sides appear to be digging in deeper.

Unless subscribers have arranged to get distant signal service, picking up the Los Angeles FOX affiliate feed from DirecTV, their options are the same as for the past two rounds of playoff games: Friends with alternative cable or satellite feeds or rabbit ears.

Both sides have issued lengthy broadsides since Northwest Broadcasting pulled the plug on four FOX-affiliate signals after the agreement to carry the local stations on the satellite service expired Dec. 31. The latest exchange was shorter on both accounts.

On Friday, Northwest Broadcasting said its latest offer was dismissed by the Segundo, Calif.-based satellite operator.

Northwest Broadcasting said its effort to reach a fair and equitable resolution in order to have today's game available was "summarily rejected by DirecTV without the promise of a proposal from them."

"Negotiating through the media and issuing press releases every day will not get a deal done," said Dan Hartman, senior vice president of programming acquisitions for DirecTV. "It just confuses and angers the customer who really only cares about getting their channels back.

"Since both sides seem to be spinning our wheels at the moment, we ask Northwest to restore their channels and let an independent arbitrator resolve this matter. This solution will end consumer disruption and allow for an independent, unbiased, third-party to decide the value of their channels."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

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