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Tipton, Colorado Senators and CO Attourney General Call for Access to In-State Programming in Southwest Colorado During Coronavirus Pandemic

March 19, 2020
Press Release

Washington– Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03), U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, wrote to Denver-based television broadcasters and satellite companies calling for a solution to provide residents of Southwest Colorado with access to in-state programming during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

“The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is an urgent reminder that access to local news is not a mere convenience for local residents,” wrote Tipton and others. “It is a critical matter of public health and wellbeing for Coloradans who need the ability to keep up with rapidly developing circumstances related to the pandemic…Given the stakes, we urge all parties to move expeditiously to reach, at a minimum, a temporary solution to allow residents in La Plata and Montezuma counties to access Denver-based programming until the pandemic abates.” 

“In this statewide COVID 19 crisis having Denver based television available to all La Plata County residents is literally a matter of life safety. We appreciate this leadership from Senator Bennet and our other representatives to advocate for this important priority,” said La Plata County Commissioner Julie Westendorff.

For years, satellite subscribers in La Plata and Montezuma Counties have lacked access to-in state programming. Instead of receiving Denver-based news, sports, and other content, residents in both counties have received broadcasts from Albuquerque, New Mexico because of how Nielsen and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined their Designated Market Area (DMA). Although the FCC has since modified the DMA for La Plata County, an impasse in private negotiations between the television broadcasters and satellite companies has prevented a solution, leaving many residents without access to critical in-state programming.

The full text of the letter is available HERE