FCC should re-examine logic of TV markets

There haven’t been any new TV markets created since the mid 1970s. From the late 1940s through the ’70s, most TV was viewed with an outdoor antenna. Rules that determine which county gets assigned to which TV market were, and are today, based on each market’s share of noncable and nonsatellite audience in every county, regardless of what satellite or cable feeds might be technically available. At one time, Farmington’s KOBF was known as KIVA and Farmington was its own TV market. Durango’s KREZ was a satellite of Grand Junction’s KREX. Most viewing in La Plata and Montezuma counties was to those stations, not to Albuquerque.

With the acquisition of KIVA and KREZ by Albuquerque stations, and turning them into repeaters, those counties flipped to the Albuquerque market, based solely on antenna viewing, which today represents at most 10 percent of the total TV audience. The rules are now outdated and impractical in light of the growth of satellite and cable as the chosen means of accessing TV stations.

If a survey were taken of viewers of the 50+ digital over-the-air channels available on the translator system serving the greater Cortez area, it would surely show a pronounced preference for Denver’s stations. It is time for the FCC to re-examine the logic of determining what county gets assigned to which market and provide cable and satellite subscribers with choices rather than dictates of which providers they may choose to watch.

Thomas Scanlan


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