Southwest Colorados three representatives in Washington are preparing to again brace the Federal Communications Commission and fellow legislators about bringing Denver television to the region.
La Plata and Montezuma counties are orphan counties currently assigned to the Albuquerque designated market area. That means residents of the two counties get New Mexico news, sports and weather.
The Four Corners Television Act was introduced in the Senate and House last year to place La Plata and Montezuma counties in the Denver designated market, but time ran out without action being taken on the measure.
Such designation would provide Colorado news to 25,000 households in the two counties.
As our communities grow more interconnected and the barriers to information sharing continue to break down, it is unfair and unsafe to our constituents in the Four Corners to continue to suffer as a result of an archaic broadcasting framework, regional congressional representatives told Senate and House leaders in a letter.
The office of Scott Tipton, the new 3rd Congressional District representative, said Wednesday that Tipton is scheduled to talk to FCC representatives today about the issue.
Were going to start a conversation about what has to be done to get the situation fixed, Tipton press secretary Josh Green said by telephone. Is talking to the FCC enough, or do we need to introduce legislation?
Ideally, settling the matter directly with the FCC would be best, Green said. But Tipton could introduce a companion bill to legislation Sen. Michael Bennet plans to submit again in the Senate.
Tara Trujillo, a spokeswoman for Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said Udall definitely will co-sponsor legislation introduced by Bennet.
Mark will work alongside Bennet to bring Denver television to the Southwest region, Trujillo said.
Meanwhile, Bennet is urging Four Corners residents to give the FCC their opinion on the designated-market issue.
It only makes sense that people who live in Colorado, in this case Montezuma and La Plata counties, have access to news and sports programming from their own state, Bennet said in a statement. I encourage residents and elected officials of Southwest Colorado who have been waiting far too long to see this issue resolved to make their voices heard by submitting comments to the FCC.
The deadline for submitting a comment is Monday.
The FCC bases designated market area assignments on significantly viewed stations as determined by Nielsen Media Research. Nielsen surveys families to see which stations they favor.