PIX 11 and PHL 17 off-air for Verizon FiOS TV customers in NJ
Nexstar Media Group said its contract with Verizon has expired, and the local television stations it owns in the New York and Philadelphia markets have been removed from the provider's FiOS channel lineup.
That means New Jersey customers who receive either WPIX (PIX 11) from New York or WPHL (PHL 17) out of Philly have been without those channels since 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Digital cable channels offered as part of Nexstar's package in those markets include Antenna TV, Comet, and Court TV, as illustrated by a coverage map on Nexstar's website.
The company also owns and distributes NewsNation, Rewind TV, and earlier this month acquired The CW Network, whose affiliates not only include WPIX, but also WPSG (CW 57) in Philadelphia.
But in separate posts hosted by the domain keepmystation.com, Nexstar focused on the loss of WPIX and WPHL for Verizon customers, saying no programming or local news from those stations would be offered as long as the contract dispute continued.
"Verizon FiOS has refused our fair offer and is making negotiations very difficult," the web pages said. "We hate the idea of not being available to you, especially since you still pay for our programming, even if Verizon FiOS denies it to you."
Verizon responded Wednesday afternoon in a statement provided to New Jersey 101.5, saying Nexstar had proposed an "unacceptable" rate increase of 64%.
Nexstar declined an extension that we offered to continue negotiations and released a statement spreading false narratives and wrongfully placing blame on FiOS. Our offer to extend stands; if Nexstar wishes to accept an extension, we can restore signals while the parties continue to negotiate so that customers can access content from Nexstar channels," Verizon said. "We are disappointed that Nexstar was unwilling to enter into a fair agreement, leaving Verizon customers without access to programming that they value. It’s time for our leaders at the FCC and in Congress to protect consumers by holding them — and other broadcasters who frequently use this tactic — accountable.
Both sides accused the other of a long history of mistreatment of customers.
For WPIX, Nexstar urged consumers to call 1-855-LUV-WPIX, and for WPHL, 1-800-922-0204, to demand the channels be returned to the Verizon lineup.
Alternately, the company encouraged residents to consider the offers of other television providers.
Verizon, meanwhile, offered more information and a list of channels affected at verizon.com/Nexstar.