Commentary: Today, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, and Representatives Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) called on Nexstar and AT&T/DIRECTTV to restore access to critical news programs in New Mexico as the two companies continue negotiations.
In the letter to Nexstar Chief Executive Officer Perry Sook and AT&T/DIRECTTV Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, Luján, Haaland, and Torres Small criticized that ongoing negotiations have put their constituents at risk because of a loss of access to KRQE and Fox New Mexico – news programs that report on weather conditions, local safety issues, and alerts. This blackout has impacted an estimated 150,000 New Mexico households over the two weeks it has occurred.
Below is the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Sook:
I write to you regarding the ongoing contract dispute between Nexstar and AT&T/DIRECTTV that has left thousands of people in my state without access to KRQE and Fox New Mexico.
Though I understand that negotiations between your two companies are ongoing, this unnecessary blackout is hurting my constituents. They are being denied access to local news, weather, sporting events, and network shows. This blackout is also a serious public safety concern and it especially impacts rural communities.
I urge both companies to reach a fair agreement as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is imperative that carriage of these stations be immediately restored.