Officials from Morris Communications -- the parent company of Macon NBC affiliate WMGT -- and DirecTV are still working to try to reach an agreement that will keep the network station on the satellite provider’s lineup come Jan. 1.
Morris’ contract with DirecTV expires Dec. 31, and negotiations between the two companies have been at an impasse, leading to the possibility that WMGT might not be carried by DirecTV after that date until a new contract is settled.
But Derek Brown, the station’s general manager, said he remains optimistic the situation will be resolved soon and that there will be no interruption of service.
“We’re still in negotiations with DirecTV to come to an agreement,” he said. “As it stands right now, we haven’t come to terms, but I hope we will be able to this week.”
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Brown said each side has different points it’s negotiating for in the new contract, and that money is part of the issue.
In addition to WMGT, Morris also owns a Fox affiliate in Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss.; CBS affiliates in western Mississippi and Chattanooga, Tenn.; and ABC affiliates in Wilmington, N.C. and Lexington, Ky. All of those stations are at the end of their contracts with DirecTV and, like WMGT, are working to resolve contract issues.
Attempts to reach representatives with DirecTV for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Even if a contract isn’t worked out by Jan. 1, Brown said Middle Georgia viewers have plenty of other options to view the channel, which is offered free over the airwaves with an antenna and is also available on other cable and satellite systems.
Brown said he has received just one phone call about the situation, mainly because the station’s website has been kept updated with the latest in the negotiations.
“We’ve done a real good job explaining what’s happening and keeping the information on our website up-to-date,” Brown said.
Brown said both sides have been negotiating in good faith.
“I feel confident that both sides are doing their best to come to a mutual agreement that will be signed, and we can move forward at the first of the year,” he said.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.