WOAY-ABC, Bluefield, Beckley and Oak Hill, WV

We want to get WOAY back into your lineup as soon as possible, but by law its owner, Thomas Broadcasting, has exclusive control over that.

We share your frustration, as Thomas Broadcasting is blocking WOAY until it receives a substantial fee increase. The fact is you can now watch all of the same shows on WOAY for free over the air on channel 50 and, often, at abc.com or using the WatchABC app.

We continue to ask Thomas Broadcasting to allow you to watch while we work this matter out privately. We need Thomas Broadcasting’s permission to bring WOAY back. We will even agree to pay Thomas Broadcasting any new rates we eventually agree upon if they keep WOAY available during whatever time it takes for us to work out our new agreement. We strive to deliver the content you want at a value that makes sense to you.

Why am I missing WOAY from my channel line-up?

We share your frustration, as Thomas Broadcasting is blocking WOAY until it receives a substantial fee increase. The fact is you can now watch all of the same shows on WOAY for free over the air on channel 50 and, often, at abc.com or using the WatchABC app. Broadcasters like Thomas Broadcasting were involved in approximately 165 blackouts in 2018, after setting an all-time high of more than 210 blackouts in over 120 cities the prior year, causing more than 21 million American homes at least some temporary disruption. There have already been 25 blackouts in the first few weeks of 2019 and more than 1,000 local blackouts this decade as stations continue to remove their signals from people’s homes in order to inflate their own fees for “free” TV. During that same time, these fees have increased more than 30 times over, even though primetime audiences for the major broadcast networks have fallen by more than half, say Thomas Broadcasting analysts Nielsen and SNL Kagan. These fees will cost U.S. consumers $12.8 billion by 2023, up from $7.7 billion in 2016, according to SNL Kagan, representing a major 66% increase.

Am I going to miss Sunday’s NFC or AFC Championship Games or Super Bowl LIII?

No. WOAY won’t be televising any NFL playoff games. Sunday’s NFC Championship between the LA Rams and New Orleans Saints remains available on FOX and the AFC Championship between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs remains available on CBS. CBS is also televising Super Bowl LIII on Feb 3.

How soon will WOAY return? 

We believe business-to-business matters are best conducted in a conference room and not in the public domain. We continue to ask Thomas Broadcasting to allow our customers to watch while we work this matter out privately. We need their permission to bring WOAY back. We will even agree to pay Thomas Broadcasting any new rates we eventually agree upon if they keep WOAY available during whatever time it takes for us to work out our new agreement. We provide more than 1,800 local TV stations across the country, and strive to deliver the content our customers want at a value that makes sense to them.

 Can’t DIRECTV just offer me another ABC station while Thomas Broadcasting black out WOAY?

It’s unfortunate, but no. Thomas Broadcasting has exclusive control over which customers in Bluefield, Beckley and Oak Hill are allowed to receive ABC regardless of which provider you choose.

Why shouldn’t I just switch to another provider that offers WOAY?

All service providers must typically work out agreements with local TV station owners like Thomas Broadcasting to deliver the news, sports and entertainment you often care to watch. Stations will often create intentional blackouts – temporarily cutting off supply – to boost the fees providers must pay just to get that content back. Different providers competing to offer you local service face the same kinds of demands from Thomas Broadcasting and other local station owners in your community. Temporary dust-ups occur more frequently, and are not exclusive to DIRECTV. Broadcasters like Thomas Broadcasting were involved in approximately 165 blackouts in 2018, after setting an all-time high of more than 210 blackouts in over 120 cities the prior year, causing more than 21 million American homes at least some temporary disruption. There have already been 25 blackouts in the first few weeks of 2019 and more than 1,000 local blackouts this decade as stations continue to remove their signals from people’s homes in order to inflate their own fees for “free” TV. During that same time, these fees have increased more than 30 times over, even though primetime audiences for the major broadcast networks have fallen by more than half, say Thomas Broadcasting analysts Nielsen and SNL Kagan. These fees will cost U.S. consumers $12.8 billion by 2023, up from $7.7 billion in 2016, according to SNL Kagan, representing a major 66% increase.

How can I still see my favorite ABC series or events?

Many homes in Bluefield, Beckley and Oak Hill can receive WOAY by turning off their DIRECTV receiver and tuning their digital TV to channel 50. Station owners like Thomas Broadcasting will often give away digital antennas to boost viewers’ reception, so you may want to contact WOAY about that. ABC streams primetime series online at abc.com or to fans using the WatchABC app. ABC Sports often streams games live at espn3.com or to fans using the WatchABC or WatchESPN apps. These are only a few short-term alternatives, but we’re working with Thomas Broadcasting to get WOAY back as soon as we can.

Will I be able to receive WOAY’s over the air digital signals inside my home?

Thomas Broadcasting must deliver strong digital signals across the whole community, so many homes in Bluefield, Beckley and Oak Hill should be able to turn off their DIRECTV receiver and tune their digital TV sets to channel 50. You can also boost your reception with an inexpensive tabletop antenna available at most local electronics stores or also online. Mountains and other natural obstructions can sometimes come between your home and wherever Thomas Broadcasting chose to locate its transmitters, making reception more difficult.