... Years ago (close to a decade now?), you could pay to get the national PBS feed, even after DirecTV removed it for all subscribers, but that went away when DirecTV's local roll out, including PBS, went national. I was told at that time that the local PBS channels had complained, saying it was impacting revenue, and PBS is now strictly regulated. In fact, we qualify for DNS (grandfathered in as a "white" area) and still receive HD feeds of the East and West coast ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX channels, in addition to our locals. (West coast was re-added what, a year ago, now under new regulations?) We can not get PBS or CW, because those channels were not available at the time the "grandfathering" legislation went into place...
Preface by saying that I've found your postings to always be informative, helpful, and accurate.
Based upon personal experience, the information you provided regarding the availability of DNS PBS (and CW) prior to grandfathering, and it's ability to be grandfathered are not quite correct.
I currently have all DNS channels 389 (PBS) through 399 (FOXW) inclusive.
I have had E/W DNS since inception, the SD days when each network station originated from different markets, Seattle, San Fran, Pitt, etc., rather than all E from NY and W from LA, and each network was invoiced separately at $1.50 for both E/W.
Also had DNS PBS, and all subscribed DNS (including PBS) was grandfathered.
Later, (only) DNS PBS was disconnected.
I called the DNS department, after they verified it was grandfathered, reconnected it, and has been so since.
This was when all DNS channels were still SD.
As I said in my prior post, I rarely watch DNS PBS and CW E/W because they still are in SD (I watch their local HD's), but keep them at $2.50/month (priced less/differently than the Big4 networks) because I do not want to lose them, even though I have been consistently told that they will never be broadcast in HD (in the case of PBS, because PBS requests/insists that their's not be.)
One other bit of information that may have contributed...
Back in the days of USSB providing premium programming for DirecTV, I received DirecTV through Pegasus for >10 years, and my grandfathered status and the DNS PBS dis/re-connect took place during that period.
(Eventually acquired around '04-'05 by DirecTV.)
That this took place while with Pegasus could account for the different outcome.
The circumstances of my case being far from typical, and possibly the only exception, I do agree with you that no-one today is going to get a waiver for DNS PBS, and the best course of action is to contact the local affiliate, and let them know that they are losing viewership by not broadcasting certain programs.