- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - Residents of southwest Colorado who are complaining about having to watch television stations in New Mexico are a step closer to getting the news and sports shows they want from Colorado’s Front Range.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Thursday that will allow Colorado television stations to petition the Federal Communications Commission to serve La Plata County and other so-called “orphan” counties that receive out-of-state broadcasts.

The proposal has met resistance from New Mexico broadcasters, who don’t want to lose viewers in southwest Colorado who support advertising revenue.

The measure is the most concrete step to date in solving local residents’ inability to get Denver Broncos games and TV news from Denver broadcast stations.

“Coloradans in La Plata and Montezuma counties have waited a long time for the opportunity to access local Colorado broadcasts,” Sen. Michael Bennet said in a news release Friday. “The current system doesn’t make sense for Southwest Colorado, but this bill will finally give folks a path forward to fix this problem. The president should quickly sign this bill.”

The bill has already passed the House. The White House did not indicate whether President Barack Obama would sign the bill, the Durango Herald reported Saturday (https://tinyurl.com/osklvzo).

Congressional action came after the FCC completed a study about orphan counties. In addition to La Plata and Montezuma counties, several other counties across the country receive their primary TV shows from other states.

The bill would allow the FCC to add or exclude communities from a station’s local market if a station requests it. It also would require the FCC to submit an analysis of consumer access to programming from TV stations located outside their local market and alternatives to provide consumers with more programming options.

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Information from: Durango Herald, https://www.durangoherald.com

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