Jan 24, 2011 8:09 AM by Bea Karnes

Rep. Tipton renews push to bring Denver TV to SW Colorado

DENVER (AP)-Efforts are under way to bring Denver television instead of New Mexico broadcasts to La Plata and Montezuma counties in the southwest corner of the Colorado.

Residents of the two counties aren't happy because they get New Mexico news, weather, sports and emergency alerts on television. The rest of Colorado receives broadcasts from Denver.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton told the Durango Herald that he met Wednesday with two FCC officials to discuss moving the counties out of the designated market area that includes Albuquerque. The designation is based on "significantly viewed" stations as determined by Nielsen Media Research.

Tipton also says he plans to introduce legislation to solve the issue, which would be a companion to legislation planned by Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Bennet tried resolving the issue last year and has asked the FCC to use a report requested by Congress to find a commonsense solution. The state Legislature in 2008 and again last year urged the federal government, including the FCC, to solve the problem.

Having the two counties tuned into Albuquerque television "leaves the residents of Southwest Colorado disenfranchised in that they are much better informed about the laws, issues and candidates of New Mexico than they are about the laws, issues and candidates of Colorado," Bennet wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Switching from one market to another might be possible if all parties agree, but Tipton said that might be difficult since market area equates to advertising revenue.

Four counties in eastern New Mexico remain in a similar situation in that they receive broadcasts from Texas.

It took an act of Congress in the last two years to redesignate areas of Mississippi, Tipton said.


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