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With the clock ticking, The Weather Channel launched a national campaign Saturday urging viewers to lobby Congress to garner support for its effort to stop DirecTV from dropping it from its lineup.

The campaign comes as the companies continue to battle over contract talks. DirecTV, a satellite carrier, has threatened to stop airing the program Tuesday if the dispute is not settled.

David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Co., said it would be "deeply irresponsible'' for DirecTV to take the program off air, saying viewers depend on the coverage, particularly for severe weather.

"As the most trusted source of weather news and information in America, The Weather Channel is there when it matters most,'' Kenny said in a statement.

Weather Channel officials are urging viewers to use social media, such as Twitter, and visitwww.keeptheweatherchannel.com. They also want viewers to contact membersof Congress for support, citing safety concerns if the program is not available.

"If we are not available to DirecTV's 20 million viewers, they will miss the accurate and life-saving information we have been providing for more than 30 years,'' Kenny said.

But DirecTV called the campaign a "negotiating tactic.''

"We remain in discussions with The Weather Channel on how to provide its service to our customers at the best value since people now use so many other ways to retrieveweather-related information,'' the company said in a statement Saturday.

DirecTV, meanwhile, said it launched WeatherNation as an alternative to provide "hard news weather coverage.''

It said the move to drop the channel was also in response to "numerous customer complaints that more than 40 percent of The Weather Channel's programming is dedicated to reality television shows.''

DirecTV said it also provides information on its emergency channels in the case of severe weather.

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