Viewpoint: New Bill and Local Stations on Satellite
February 17, 2009 at 3:59 PM CST - Updated July 1 at 9:25 PM
At last, someone is attempting to do something about the small television markets in this country who are not being carried by the satellite providers.
Congressman Bart Stupak, a democratic representative from Michigan, has introduced a bill, H.R. 927, called the Satellite Consumers’ Right to Local Channels Act, that would ensure consumers in rural markets like ours, where a large percentage of the homes are served by satellite, have access to local channels.
As Stupak’s press release points out, 31 of the nation’s 210 television markets are not currently provided local broadcasts by either of the nation’s two satellite television providers. Current law allows satellite companies to offer this service but does not require it, which has resulted in satellite providers targeting urban and suburban markets while largely ignoring smaller rural markets. Without local-into-local service, viewers have to depend on antennas to get their local channels over the air.
Congress already requires cable to carry local channels. Stupak is quoted as saying that, “without their local channels, millions of americans are denied access to critical emergency alerts and local content such as sporting events and news broadcasts".
None of the stations in the Hattiesburg-Laurel market or on the Gulf Coast currently have satellite carriage. We urge you to e-mail, write or call Congressman Gene Taylor, or if you live in another district your own Congressman, and ask them to support H.R. 927 for local channel satellite coverage.
The satellite providers need to make local channel coverage universal, so make your voice heard in Washington.