Bennet, Udall, Salazar Introduce Bill To Deliver Denver TV to Montezuma, La Plata County Residents

Currently Coloradans Living in Montezuma and La Plata Counties Can Only View Out-of-State TV - Measure Would Make Denver TV Programming Available to These Residents - Senator Udall Cosponsored Senate Bill; Rep. Salazar Introduced Legislation in the House

Washington, DC - United States Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, and Congressman John Salazar, today introduced the Four Corners Television Act of 2009, legislation that would make Denver television available to approximately 25,000 households - 75,000 people - in Montezuma and La Plata counties. 

Because they are part of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Designated Market Area (DMA), and not the Denver DMA, residents of Montezuma and La Plata Counties are deprived of important Colorado news and sports programs. The Four Corners Television Act of 2009 would allow both cable and satellite carriers to offer Denver programming by making these counties eligible for exceptions that exist under current law, which have to do with population and the size of the affected area.  

"People in southwest Colorado contact my office every day asking that we do something - anything - to get this long-standing issue resolved," said Bennet.  "It only makes sense that people who live in Colorado - in this case Montezuma and La Plata Counties - have access to news and sports programs from their own state.   I'm hopeful that with this legislation, and with the support of 75,000 southwest Coloradans calling for a fix, we'll be able to give these communities the choice to watch the Colorado news and sport programs they want to watch."

"Coloradans deserve access to news and programming from their own state - whether it's because they need to get breaking news alerts about severe weather and emergencies or to support the Broncos," Senator Udall said.  "This is an issue of fairness and safety.  I'm going to work as hard as I can to get this problem resolved once and for all, and I'm glad to join Congressman Salazar and Senator Bennet on this legislation."   

"For years I have heard the concerns of southwest Colorado residents who are upset because they don't have access to important Colorado news programming," said Congressman Salazar. "And for years I have been working to resolve this issue. Now, with new leadership in the White House and strong support from Senator Bennet's office I believe our chances are better than ever to get this situation resolved so that the residents of southwest Colorado can get the statewide news programming they need and the Denver Broncos coverage they love."

The Four Corners Television Access Act would make Denver programming available to both satellite and cable subscribers in Montezuma and La Plata counties. 

  • Cable Fix: The bill would allow cable operators to offer Denver programming by making La Plata and Montezuma counties eligible for an exception under current law, which allows cable operators to retransmit television broadcast stations outside the DMA of those stations.  Currently, operators can only retransmit to any one of four outside counties if the four have a combined total of 41,340 television households.  La Plata, Montezuma, and two other adjoining Colorado counties do not meet that combined total.  The Four Corners Television Access Act would amend this exception by reducing the household number to 30,000 and by shifting the focus to two counties, not four.
  • Satellite fix: Current law provides a license to a satellite provider to show broadcasts from a network station located in a state capital, to two adjacent counties of the same state but outside the state capital's DMA.  But the two counties have to be in a DMA that is principally in another state and must have less than 10,000 television households combined. La Plata and Montezuma have more than 10,000 television households combined and therefore do not fall within this exception.  The Four Corners Television Access Act would amend this exception by lifting the ceiling to 30,000 television households.

The Four Corners Television Access Act has been referred to both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee for consideration in the Senate.

For a copy of The Four Corners Television Access Act, please click here.