FCC Gives Officials More Time to Respond to Broadcaster Petitions

The FCC has given public officials in Colorado until the end of the day Dec. 14 to respond to broadcaster requests to deny their petitions to import out-of-market TV stations to viewers in La Plata County.

Some satellite TV customers and broadcasters are squaring off in Colorado (and the edges of New Mexico) over TV station carriage.

The county of La Plata had sought the extension, pointing out that they did not receive the oppositions from TV station owners LIN and Hearst until Nov. 28.

The STELAR law reauthorization, which renewed the satellite distant signal license, for the first time said the FCC could grant requests from public officials to modify satellite markets to include out-of-market TV stations, just as cable operators are allowed to do in so-called “orphan county” markets where the local TV stations are licensed to another state and subs can’t get their local news and weather and sports teams.

There appear to be a lot of TV station orphans in La Plata County, Colo. Four of the five most active dockets, according to the FCC, are commenters from La Plata who say they are tired of getting Albuquerque stations and want access to Colorado broadcasters.

Albuquerque stations are pushing back, saying there are other ways—like only importing local news and public affairs programming—rather than importing the entire station signal into their markets.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.