June 18, 2018
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WABI, DirecTV restore signals with new agreement

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Three weeks after pulling its CBS and CW network signals from DirecTV over failure to agree on compensation from the international satellite TV provider, officials with Bangor TV station WABI say a new deal has been reached.

Both WABI (Channel 5) and Bangor CW affiliate WABI-DT2 — along with Gainesville, Fla., ABC affiliate WCJB — returned to their local DirecTV subscribers’ channel lineups as of 8 p.m. Thursday.

“The irony of the whole thing is had they accepted our last offer on the table on May 30, which is ultimately the agreement we ended up with, our viewers would not have had to endure the loss of our TV stations,” said Mike Young, WABI/WABI-DT2 general manager. “Unfortunately, it took us being removed from their [DirecTV] systems for them to decide what we were asking for was fair.”

Young declined to comment on specifics of the deal other than to say it was for more than one year.

Portland-based Diversified Communications, which owns all three stations, pulled their signals from DirecTV at midnight June 5 after contract renewal talks stalled.

An official statement released by DirecTV late Thursday was much less conciliatory:

“We regret our customers in Bangor, Maine and Gainesville, Florida had to endure more than two weeks of needless frustration when Diversified Communications could have simply left its channels on while we worked out a resolution.

“All local stations should take responsibility for putting an end to these unnecessary disruptions, and so we commend Diversified on arriving at this new agreement. Now our customers can go back to being informed and entertained by these local stations and not antagonized by them.”

Young said he heard from many viewers of his station and that those who station officials were able to directly communicate with understood and supported WABI’s position.

“I’ll just say this,” Young said in response to DirecTV’s release. “DirecTV is a huge company and they’re accustomed to getting their own way. When they don’t get their own way, well, bullying isn’t just something you see on the playground.”

This story was amended to correct the time the stations were off DirecTV to three weeks.

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