Are CBS and NBC Randomly Blacking Out on Your DirecTV? Here’s Why:

NOTE: This topic has been updated.

I flipped NBC (KARE – 11) on my DirecTV service this afternoon so I could watch the postponed Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens game. But all I found was a message about frustration, regret and inconvenience.

About what you ask? Another licensing agreement…

We’re working to return the TEGNA stations to our lineups as soon as possible, but by law, TEGNA has exclusive control over which homes are allowed to receive either ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, or CW in certain cities, regardless of what provider they choose.

As many station owners like TEGNA keep losing viewers and sponsors, they’ve resorted to blacking out popular local teams or any remaining hit shows at the worst possible time in order to extract unwarranted increases over their already high fees despite their fading popularity, leaving consumers to foot the bill.

We regret any inconvenience and appreciate our customers’ patience while we work this matter out with TEGNA.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Falls Victim

TV companies fighting and the consumer suffering. That’s pretty standard in that business. That’s why everyone continues to cut their cord. But, that’s what the free market is for. Improve your product or it will eventually die.

This time, it’s between TEGNA and DirecTV and it’s gotten ugly. According to, TEGNA blacked out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on CBS Tuesday night, before doing the same thing for the football game on NBC today. AT&T + DirecTV aren’t worthy of financial compassion or moral high ground. AT&T is getting savage in their memo’s though.

When you go to, they will give you your options (zip code specific) on how to work around these blackouts, if you really need to watch the Steelers vs Ravens. Here’s what my message was. I posted it on Twitter.

DirecTV made sure to remind me that none of our local teams will be affected since none of the Vikings or Gophers play on NBC (KARE) in the near future.

Clip from AT&T Memo

U.S. law grants TEGNA, Inc. exclusive control over which homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul can receive NBC, regardless of what provider they choose. As stations like KARE-NBC lose viewers and sponsors, many will resort to blacking out popular local sports teams or key NBC shows at the worst possible time to try to get more money regardless of their popularity or commitment to the local community. It’s shameless profiteering at the public expense and worse during a global pandemic when medical news is at a premium and regular folks are struggling to make ends meet.

Can I still watch shows on KARE-NBC while you work this out?

Yes. You can watch KARE-NBC through the Locast interactive TV app on your DIRECTV Genie and/or U-verse internet-connected receivers or mobile app. If you’re a DIRECTV customer and your receiver is connected to the internet, select the right arrow on your remote and choose Locast from your interactive TV menu. Just follow the onscreen prompts to start streaming KARE-NBC. You can also watch for free over the air on channel 11 using a digital TV or external antenna. You can typically stream KVUE-NBC shows and events at the station’s website or or using the NBC mobile app. NBC Sports often streams live events at and to fans using the NBC Sports mobile app. Please check online for availability in Minneapolis and St. Paul. These are good, short-term alternatives, but rest assured that we’re working to get KARE-NBC back soon. Thank you for your patience.

Very interesting business model. If you think you’re upset, you should’ve seen John Clayton (ESPN Insider) on Twitter.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan