Approval negotiations to get two Texas news stations on Panola County and Harrison County satellite channel line-ups are still ongoing, officials said.
At least one of those stations, KLTV, could be coming to Panola County as early as June.
The FCC approved a petition to add KLTV (Channel 7) and KFXK (Fox 51) to Panola County satellite line-ups in March and Harrison County line-ups in June 2018.
The approvals triggered negotiations between DirecTV and Dish Network and the two local stations that were approved as part of separate market modification petitions. Both Panola County and Harrison County are classified as “orphan counties” — meaning TV viewers live in one state and get a TV market from out of state. Currently satellite customers receive Shreveport news stations.
Pat Stacey, vice president and general manager of KLTV, said earlier negotiations for Harrison County were not successful, but the station has since changed ownership, and it looks like an agreement might be forged after all. In the meantime, Panola County has received similar FCC approval.
“As far as KLTV, we are waiting on a final written agreement for both Dish and DirecTV in Panola County,” Stacey said. “It is our hope that KLTV will be added to Harrison. It will be up to those individual providers at that time. My understanding is that it could be as early as June in Panola. In the original opportunity in Harrison, we were not able to come to a carriage agreement with DirecTV and Dish, so it stalled the process. The recent Panola ruling and the fact that we have changed ownership is allowing the prospect of carriage in Harrison to go back on the table. I am cautiously confident that we will be able to get an agreement for carriage in both Harrison and Panola county very soon.”
He noted that this is an all-new process, with a handful of these kinds of requests having received FCC approval.
“So it is new ground for broadcasters and satellite providers. It is incumbent on those two groups striking an agreement — so lawyers are involved, which slows things,” he said in an email. ”But, I do believe we are close to getting this done which will be a huge win for those viewers that want Texas news. Another point to keep in mind is that it will not remove any of the Shreveport stations that are currently on, only add us (and KFXK if they get a deal done).”