DirecTV rejects Northwest Broadcasting's offer

    Northwest Broadcasting, parent company for Medford FOX affiliate KMVU-TV, said Wednesday that satellite company DirecTV has rejected its proposal to end a 19-day stalemate.

    Four Northwest Broadcasting stations cut off their signal to DirecTV on Jan. 1 when the sides couldn't agree on how much the satellite company would pay the broadcast stations for their feed.

    "DirecTV is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game," Northwest Broadcasting Chief Executive Officer Brian Brady said. "They had previously represented that they were not paying any broadcaster more than they offered Northwest; now they are limiting their statement to other stations in Northwest's viewing area."

    Meanwhile, DirecTV has offered some subscribers in Southern Oregon and other markets affected by the impasse access to the Los Angeles FOX affiliate feed on Channel 399.

    An e-mail from the satellite company to a Spokane-area customer, obtained by the Mail Tribune, noted eligibility rules covering access to distant network signals.

    "(Eligibility) is determined by a so-called predictive model that was established by the FCC. It more or less represents a measurement of signal strength from the station's transmitter. We are required by law to use this method to authorize customers for the distant feeds.

    "Unfortunately this method of predicting who can or can't get an over-the-air signal is not always accurate and may indicate that a customer can get an off-air-signal (or lives within the service area of the local station) when in fact, for a variety of reasons (buildings, geography) they can't."

    Customers denied the distant feeds can request a waiver through DirecTV, which can take up to 45 days. Waivers also have to be cleared by affiliate stations.

    "Apparently what DirecTV is doing is offering the distant 398 or 399 FOX feed from Los Angeles to a number of isolated viewers that they believe cannot receive our signal over the air," said KMVU General Manager Cary Jones. "We are pretty certain that they may be violating FCC rules in their determination of some of the households they are allowing to receive the channel."

    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail

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