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Champaign’s WCIA-TV continues to air CBS and local programming. Not that DirecTV subscribers can see it.

A contract dispute between the satellite TV service owned by AT&T and WCIA’s parent company, Nexstar, caused the station (and WCIX) to go dark on DirecTV on July 3.

So, what’s going on? And when will the stations return to DirecTV?

“Basically, we are in negotiations as we speak,” WCIA General Manager Gary Hackler said Thursday. “That’s really the only update that I have. We are making progress, but we haven’t ironed out an agreement yet.

“We could have avoided it all if they would have agreed to extend our current agreement, but they opted not to.”

Hackler’s phone has been buzzing with calls from customers. They want to see the CBS shows and sports.

“I’m returning phone calls and talking to everybody who wants to have an opportunity to talk to me,” Hackler said.

There are other options for those seeking to watch the programming, like using an over-the-air antenna, or switching providers.

“We’re still available,” Hackler said.

Earlier in August, DirecTV ended its dispute with CBS-owned affiliates in major markets, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas and others.

WCIA isn’t the only area stations squabbling with DirecTV. Fox affiliates WRSP and WCCU have been off DirecTV since late May.

Soon, both CBS and Fox will be airing live NFL games. Unless a deal is reached, those games won’t be seen on DirecTV locally. Neither will the new season of scripted shows.

“I’m hopeful we’ll have it all cleared up prior to that launching,” Hackler said.

On to my weekend recommendations:


Bears at Giants, 6:30 p.m., NFL Network

It’s preseason football, which is not the same as real football, when teams play their starters the entire game. Chicago is the pick to win the NFC North, and the Giants have Saquon Barkley.


“CNN Special Report: Woodstock at 50,” 8 p.m., CNN

On the golden anniversary of the music festival, Bill Weir takes a look back. The show includes interviews with legendary musicians and never-seen footage.


“The Righteous Gemstones,” 9 p.m., HBO

John Goodman, Danny McBride and Adam Devine star in the nine-episode series about a family of televangelists.

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).