Montana Direct TV customers may soon be able to view local broadcasts

Published: Dec. 5, 2019 at 11:18 AM CST
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In a handful of areas across the country, including cities and towns covered by our signal, local TV stations aren’t available on DirecTV.

If you are a DirecTV viewer near Glendive, Mont., chances are you’ll only be able to watch our stories on our website. That’s because the satellite giant pipes in CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX "local channels" from LA.

A signal from somewhere else doesn’t do me any good at all. I need those local broadcasts," said Sen Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Tester argues Montana subscribers deserve to know what’s going on in their community. Kept up to date on news, weather, and even sports like everyone else in the country.

Tester says Congress should give DirecTV a choice: reach deals with local channels, or drop the big networks altogether and lose out on top-rated shows and sporting events.

"Just give ‘em the signal, go negotiate with Glendive, go negotiate with the stations in Helena, and give the folks the local signal they deserve," said Tester.

DirecTV is the only satellite provider that doesn't pipe local TV stations into every market. They declined our interview request.

But in a recent Senate hearing, spokespeople for its parent company argue it’s small tv stations letting viewers down with inadequate antennae coverage and costly demands for airing their content.

The broadcasters come to us with a gun to our head telling us you are going to take this price," said Robert Thun, AT&T.

Lawmakers who want to change the TV landscape don’t have much time. The country’s current satellite laws expire at the end of the year.

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