U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, introduced a bill in the House on Thursday that attempts to give the Four Corners access to Denver’s local television broadcasts.
The Four Corners Television Access Act of 2012 has bipartisan support from Colorado members, Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and Mike Coffman, a Republican.
La Plata and Montezuma counties are part of the Albuquerque-designated market areas because of their location and distance from other major areas in Colorado.
“Residents in Colorado’s Four Corners counties have gone far too long without television broadcasts from their own state,” Tipton said in a statement.
The bill is specific to Southwest Colorado and would allow residents of the area to keep television in their current designated market area and also obtain Colorado-based television and news.
Nielsen Media Research, which provides information and insights to designated market areas, would allow Denver’s significantly viewed content to be available in Southwest Colorado.
Nielsen considers something “significantly viewed” if it is in high demand by its residents. An example would be a football game that otherwise may not appear on the local network channel. The Federal Communications Commission does not allow what Nielsen calls “retransmission.” However, the bill would allow retransmissions of Denver’s “significantly viewed” content in Southwest Colorado.
“Our bill does let those people still receive New Mexico TV, because a lot of people down there have gotten used to it, and that’s what they want. It doesn’t block that by any means,” said Josh Green, press secretary at Tipton’s office.
Green said Tipton still is looking for ways to avoid the need for legislation by working directly with the FCC.
Several previous pieces of legislation calling for Four Corners access to Denver television, most recently in 2010, all have failed to clear Congress.
Albuquerque currently serves 710,050 television homes, according to Nielsen’s 2011-2012 statistics.
Kelcie Pegher is an intern for The Durango Herald and a student at American University in Washington, D.C. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.