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D* providing me with incorrect locals


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#1 OFFLINE   byrd

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

After spending over an hour and a half on the phone yesterday only to be told to call back later, I thought I'd post here to see if anyone has ever experienced this issue, and if there is any possible recourse that might lead to a solution.

The zip code in which I live is actually split between 3 different counties. 2 of the counties are in the Richmond-Petersburg, VA FCC Designated Marketing Area, and the third count (where I am located) is in the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA DMA. I've confirmed with the maps here: http://transition.fcc.gov/dtv/markets/ I've also tried to call the FCC directly to get the info specifically for my street address, but they are currently closed for the holiday.

Recently D* has switch my locals from Norfolk to Richmond. When calling DTV, they agree that the county where I live SHOULD receive the local channels for Norfolk. However, because of my zip code, they INSIST that I live in one of the neighboring counties, and NOT the actual county where I DO live.

They just keep saying that based on their records and FCC rules, they are required to provide me with Richmond locals. When I try to tell them that their records are incorrect, with regard to my county or residence, they just recite the came thing. I have offered to provide county tax records, voter registration cards, county property assessments, or any other documentation they require, ALL of which PROVE that I live in the county that I say I do, but so far they don't seem interested hearing any info regarding possible discrepancies in their records.

There real problem here seems to be that D* is simply using USPS Zip Code maps in order to designate consumers' Designated Marketing Areas. Unfortunately, Zip Code maps and DMA maps do not necessarily coincide with one another. What's ironic about my situation is that in DTV's attempt to follow the FCC guidelines, they are actually forcing me into a market that does NOT follow the FCC guidelines!

Has anyone here had any similar experiences? If so, is there ANY way to get D* to listen and to hopefully correct the issue? I've had the Norfolk locals on D* for about 8 or 9 years now. I feel that I should still have them, and would like to keep them if at all possible.

Sorry for rambling so long, and thanks in advance!

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#2 OFFLINE   HGuardian

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

My locals were recently switched also. It seems you are correct. Instead of determining locals by county they are now strictly going by zip codes, which for 99% of people will not matter, but for zip codes that overlap into 2 or more counties that are split between multiple DMAs they will be affected. It seems DIRECTV is violating FCC rules by supplying the wrong locals to some people. The county you are in, and the county I am in, are receiving locals the FCC says we should not be receiving.

#3 OFFLINE   Michael Hilley

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 06:29 PM

Here is the online LIL station list tool by street address: DirecTV LIL

My lookups have led me to a different conclusion.
For a specific zip code, a street address in the northernmost location, and an address in the southernmost location, have resulted in different neighboring LIL's for affiliates of the same network being carried by DirecTV.
I can also confirm that in similar instances as above, either the northernmost or the southernmost affiliate has been carried in both locales, overriding the FCC mapped boundaries.
In some of those cases, the LIL's have been "incorrectly" delivered from the outset, rather than in your case, where this has recently been changed.
In some cases, the two affiliates were owned by the same group, and had agreed to allow DirecTV to do this, so there was no protest from the advertisers of the over-ridden affiliate, or the affiliate itself.
The advantage to DirecTV is simplification, fewer affiliate signals to acquire and distribute.

Since these are instances where DirecTV has not appeared to comply with FCC DMA boundary maps for years, I have surmised that if the affected affiliates approve, the FCC will not intervene.

I said "surmise" because I asked DirecTV if this was the regulation/ruling... and they answered "probably... makes sense."

Interestingly, the OTA's from the LIL tool link, results in the "correct" affiliates, and with an AM21 will likely provide you with those you feel you should receive, and in my case, do, plus you will also get the sub-channels as well.
My OTA antenna was (attic) installed prior to DirecTV providing LIL channels.
And then, DirecTV was only providing SD for years before finally adding HD a year ago.
So I had OTA to receive HD, not because of receiving the less-local affiliate.


After spending over an hour and a half on the phone yesterday only to be told to call back later, I thought I'd post here to see if anyone has ever experienced this issue, and if there is any possible recourse that might lead to a solution.

The zip code in which I live is actually split between 3 different counties. 2 of the counties are in the Richmond-Petersburg, VA FCC Designated Marketing Area, and the third count (where I am located) is in the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA DMA. I've confirmed with the maps here: http://transition.fcc.gov/dtv/markets/ I've also tried to call the FCC directly to get the info specifically for my street address, but they are currently closed for the holiday.

Recently D* has switch my locals from Norfolk to Richmond. When calling DTV, they agree that the county where I live SHOULD receive the local channels for Norfolk. However, because of my zip code, they INSIST that I live in one of the neighboring counties, and NOT the actual county where I DO live.

They just keep saying that based on their records and FCC rules, they are required to provide me with Richmond locals. When I try to tell them that their records are incorrect, with regard to my county or residence, they just recite the came thing. I have offered to provide county tax records, voter registration cards, county property assessments, or any other documentation they require, ALL of which PROVE that I live in the county that I say I do, but so far they don't seem interested hearing any info regarding possible discrepancies in their records.

There real problem here seems to be that D* is simply using USPS Zip Code maps in order to designate consumers' Designated Marketing Areas. Unfortunately, Zip Code maps and DMA maps do not necessarily coincide with one another. What's ironic about my situation is that in DTV's attempt to follow the FCC guidelines, they are actually forcing me into a market that does NOT follow the FCC guidelines!

Has anyone here had any similar experiences? If so, is there ANY way to get D* to listen and to hopefully correct the issue? I've had the Norfolk locals on D* for about 8 or 9 years now. I feel that I should still have them, and would like to keep them if at all possible.

Sorry for rambling so long, and thanks in advance!


Edited by Michael Hilley, 01 January 2013 - 06:59 PM.


#4 OFFLINE   byrd

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

Here is the online LIL station list tool by street address: DirecTV LIL

Interestingly, the OTA's from the LIL tool link, results in the "correct" affiliates, and with an AM21 will likely provide you with those you feel you should receive, and in my case, do, plus you will also get the sub-channels as well.


I might be an idiot, but I was completely confused by about 98% of what you described above. They only part I really understood was the last sentence quoted above... and THIS is quite disheartening.

Can you explain what a LIL is, and how that is different from a DMA? When I just visited the website that you liked too above and typed in my address (AND D* account number) it AGREES WITH ME!! It shows that the local channels in MY market are the very channels that D* has recently taken away from me!! In addition, if I go to the Directv Packages Page and type in my zip code, it actually prompts me to select my county of residence. When doing so it ALSO shows what I believe to be the correct local stations.

It's also funny that when I spoke with the CSR, I asked them what county their records show that I live in. They told me that their records show that my address is in the neighboring county. I tried to have them correct this, but they refused. So what's the point of having my correct address anyway if they have no interest in ensuring their records are correct?!?! I may as well tell them that I actually live IN Norfolk (which is about 65 miles south of here).

I seems like EVERYTHING shows that I should be in the market that I know that I am in. The ONLY problem is that D* records simply show the incorrect county for my address.... and they refuse to change it despite ALL evidence to the contrary. It simply defies all logic to me.

#5 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:10 PM

From the link above:

LIL (Local Into Local) programming refers to local television stations that are made available to subscribers via satellite in their home DMA.


As defined by Nielsen Media Research, DMA (Designated Market Area) refers to the geographic area that local television stations (usually one per major network) primarily serve.


Might be time to send an email to Ellen Fillipiak (VP DirecTV Customer Service) and explain your situation. If anyone can fix this (if it can be fixed), it is her office. ellen.filipiak@directv.com. Explain what you did above and offer to provide any documentation they may need. Be nice.

#6 OFFLINE   byrd

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:22 PM

trh, Thanks for that email address! I'm going to give a call to the FCC customer hotline tomorrow just to verify my DMA from the horses mouth and then give D* another call. If, after that, I still can't make any head way then I'll definitely send an email to Ms/Mrs? Fillipiak.

#7 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:32 PM

trh, Thanks for that email address! I'm going to give a call to the FCC customer hotline tomorrow just to verify my DMA from the horses mouth and then give D* another call. If, after that, I still can't make any head way then I'll definitely send an email to Ms/Mrs? Fillipiak.


I can help you with that, call Margo Davenport at 202-418-2949. This lady will be able to help. She is great with this stuff. I get nowhere if I talk to anyone else at the FCC.
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#8 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:36 PM

If, after that, I still can't make any head way then I'll definitely send an email to Ms/Mrs? Fillipiak.

From OED Blog:

In the 20th century, another way to address women, married and unmarried alike, was born with the advent of Ms. Pronounced ‘miz’ to distinguish it from ‘Miss’, it is a blend of Mrs and Miss and, as such, isn’t an abbreviation of a longer word. According to the OED, ‘Ms’ has been adopted ‘especially in formal and business contexts as an alternative to Mrs and Miss principally as a means to avoid having to specify a woman’s marital status (regarded as irrelevant, intrusive, or potentially discriminatory)’.



#9 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:37 PM

I can help you with that, call Margo Davenport at 202-418-2949. This lady will be able to help. She is great with this stuff. I get nowhere if I talk to anyone else at the FCC.

Depends on what the topic is. Ken Lewis is a great source of info for OTARD.

#10 OFFLINE   SomeRandomIdiot

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:47 PM

I might be an idiot, but I was completely confused by about 98% of what you described above. They only part I really understood was the last sentence quoted above... and THIS is quite disheartening.

Can you explain what a LIL is, and how that is different from a DMA? When I just visited the website that you liked too above and typed in my address (AND D* account number) it AGREES WITH ME!! It shows that the local channels in MY market are the very channels that D* has recently taken away from me!! In addition, if I go to the Directv Packages Page and type in my zip code, it actually prompts me to select my county of residence. When doing so it ALSO shows what I believe to be the correct local stations.

It's also funny that when I spoke with the CSR, I asked them what county their records show that I live in. They told me that their records show that my address is in the neighboring county. I tried to have them correct this, but they refused. So what's the point of having my correct address anyway if they have no interest in ensuring their records are correct?!?! I may as well tell them that I actually live IN Norfolk (which is about 65 miles south of here).

I seems like EVERYTHING shows that I should be in the market that I know that I am in. The ONLY problem is that D* records simply show the incorrect county for my address.... and they refuse to change it despite ALL evidence to the contrary. It simply defies all logic to me.


Call the stations and tell them that DirecTV just switched you to the wrong DMA. Tell them your neighbor has the same issue and they are a Nielsen family.

They will be all over DirecTV to fix it quickly.

#11 OFFLINE   Michael Hilley

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:10 AM

Can't speak for everybody on this forum, but you are not an idiot.
This LIL business is probably something new to you... and I sometimes forget that not everyone has been with DirecTV... 10 years with Pegasus, and then the last 8 with DirecTV, have LIL, OTA, and E & W HD DNS and dealt with every generation of programming, equipment, and CSR's.

Don't be disheartened!

I was assuming that DirecTV changed the LIL's for your address, to a more distant affiliate, that this is not unprecedented (actually rather common) and implied that there was little you could do to change this, and that OTA offered a workaround.

Based upon the results of the two links you checked, it is clear that your change in LIL's is due to mis-identification of your address in the DirecTV database.
I'm the idiot, because you said this in the original post...
Follow the recommendations of the other posters regarding contact information, be patient, and you'll get this fixed, because your argument is valid.

It is possible that DirecTV could be changing your LIL's, similar to the other cases I referenced, and have not updated their LIL links to reflect that, so it still indicates your disconnected LIL's... however, I don't believe that they would convert to this condition, rather it would have been such from the beginning.

Good luck and keep us posted...

I might be an idiot, but I was completely confused by about 98% of what you described above. They only part I really understood was the last sentence quoted above... and THIS is quite disheartening.

Can you explain what a LIL is, and how that is different from a DMA? When I just visited the website that you liked too above and typed in my address (AND D* account number) it AGREES WITH ME!! It shows that the local channels in MY market are the very channels that D* has recently taken away from me!! In addition, if I go to the Directv Packages Page and type in my zip code, it actually prompts me to select my county of residence. When doing so it ALSO shows what I believe to be the correct local stations.

It's also funny that when I spoke with the CSR, I asked them what county their records show that I live in. They told me that their records show that my address is in the neighboring county. I tried to have them correct this, but they refused. So what's the point of having my correct address anyway if they have no interest in ensuring their records are correct?!?! I may as well tell them that I actually live IN Norfolk (which is about 65 miles south of here).

I seems like EVERYTHING shows that I should be in the market that I know that I am in. The ONLY problem is that D* records simply show the incorrect county for my address.... and they refuse to change it despite ALL evidence to the contrary. It simply defies all logic to me.



#12 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:45 PM

I can help you with that, call Margo Davenport at 202-418-2949. This lady will be able to help. She is great with this stuff. I get nowhere if I talk to anyone else at the FCC.


Byrd, did you call Margo? If so, how did it go?
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#13 OFFLINE   HGuardian

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

As of now (the switch was today sometime) my locals were just switched back from Lansing to Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek just like I had them before they recently changed. This change happen for anyone else?

#14 OFFLINE   byrd

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:52 AM

Byrd, did you call Margo? If so, how did it go?


joshr, I did not call Margo directly, but I did call the FCC. They had told me that the FCC wasn't responsible for DMA boundaries and that I would need to call Nielsen Direct Marketing. I did some searching online for Nielsen maps, and as expected, those also showed me to be inside the Norfolk viewing area.

I should add, however, that when I explained my situation to the FCC rep, she was not at all surprised. She said that D* had been doing this to lots of people and that they had been receiving a lot of calls on the subject.

As of now (the switch was today sometime) my locals were just switched back from Lansing to Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek just like I had them before they recently changed. This change happen for anyone else?


My schedule was absolutely crazy last week and I never had the opportunity to call D* back. I was absolutely set to give them a call today, BUT when I woke up a 6:30am this morning and turned on the TV, my locals were BACK!! Apparently, it took them a couple weeks to get around to my account, but it seems that they've taken care of it.

I don't know if the volume of complaints has lead them to take a closer look at their records, or if they have been addressing complaints 1 by 1, as they receive them. The very first time I called, they said they would have their accounts corrected within 24 hours. I waited about a week before calling again. That's when they told me the info I that shared in my original post.

What ever the case may be, I'm certainly happy to have my locals back, and only hope that D* doesn't decide to "review" their records again any time soon! My wife is happy too (and that's what's REALLY important, right?!) since our DVR recordings were getting missed because we hadn't changed them over to the Richmond networks.

I hope anyone else having similar issues has the matter worked out for them as well!

#15 OFFLINE   George_T

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:38 AM

Being in a bordeline zip code area myself according to D*'s internet site, I could only wish that D* messed up and gave me Knoxville TN locals instead of the Tri-Cities TN/VA locals that I actually qualify for. I'm jealous! :lol:

#16 OFFLINE   HGuardian

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

I don't know if the volume of complaints has lead them to take a closer look at their records, or if they have been addressing complaints 1 by 1, as they receive them.


I never called because I thought it was a greater systematic issue internal at DIRECTV because of the other posts I saw. It seems they got enough complaints and updated everyone.




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