Lawmakers Look for Ways to Let Viewers in Southwest Colorado Watch Colorado Stations

By Kevin Eck 

FCC_304Colorado Senator Mark Udall (D) and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel met Wednesday in Durango, CO, to figure out how to let residents in the southwest part of the state watch Denver TV.

The Durango Herald reports right now, some residents of La Plata and Montezuma Counties in Colorado can only watch Albuquerque stations.

La Plata County residents long have complained they get what one attendee at Wednesday’s forum described as “if it bleeds, it leads” journalism from Albuquerque-based TV news stations.


Among the roadblocks to Denver TV are resistance from New Mexico broadcasters, who don’t want to lose viewers in Southwest Colorado who support advertising revenue, and The Nielsen Co., the private New York-based company that determines TV market areas.

“The general sense is legislation is probably necessary for a long-term solution,” Udall said at the forum held at the Durango School District 9-R administration building.

Udall last year helped forge an agreement with KASA, Albuquerque’s Fox affiliate, to broadcast Denver Broncos games in Southwest Colorado. But Udall, who is seeking re-election this year, described that as a temporary fix, and it doesn’t address the desire for news and weather carried by Denver TV broadcasts.

Rosenworcel said La Plata and Montezuma are among several “orphan counties” around the nation that receive TV broadcasts from another state. She said her parents in Vermont complain about receiving TV news from New York.

Rosenworcel, who is one of the FCC’s five powerful commissioners, said she’s sympathetic to La Plata and Montezuma County residents who receive Albuquerque TV.

“I don’t think that’s right,” she said. However, Rosenworcel added, “I can’t tell you that there’s an easy solution.”

Dixie Palmer of Durango said she’s better informed about events in New Mexico than in her own state because of where Durango falls on Nielsen’s maps.

“I know everything about what goes on in New Mexico. I don’t know anything about what goes on in Colorado,” she said. “I know everything about the governor of New Mexico. I don’t know anything about the governor of Colorado. When it comes to elections, I don’t even know who to vote for. You’d think the politicians would want us to know who they are so we can vote for them.”

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