Thursday, June 21, 2007

This will be important to many Arkansans and good news for all Little Rock TV stations.

Ross Bill Would Give Arkansans Access to Local Channels

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Mike Ross (AR-04) introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday to give satellite and cable customers across the nation access to their in-state news, sports, and local programming.

Ross' legislation, The Television Freedom Act of 2007, will give satellite and cable companies the ability to provide their customers local channels from their home state allowing them to watch their local news, sports, and programming.

"The time has come to stop delivering 21st Century technologies with 1950's business practices," Ross said. "Americans should not be bound by outdated laws that prevent them from receiving their home state programming. Everyone who wishes to receive their local channels in their home state should have the option to do so, and that is why I am proud to introduce this legislation to ensure that all Arkansans have access to Arkansas programming. Arkansans want to watch the Arkansas Razorbacks and my bill will give those who live on or near the border of another state the ability to watch the Hogs - not the LSU Tigers."

Current law specifies that television broadcast stations be transmitted primarily within their designated market area (DMA), which is assigned by the Nielsen Media Research Company. Because of these laws, many consumers cannot receive the local channels of the state in which they live and work. In addition, 47 percent of designated market areas (DMAs) cross a state line, which means that millions of subscribers are left watching the local channels of their neighboring state.

Ross said The Television Freedom Act of 2007 will bring the DMA system and the Satellite Home Viewer Act into the 21st Century.

"This issue affects countless residents across Arkansas's Fourth Congressional District and it is one of the top concerns I hear about from people all over the state," Ross said. "I strongly believe that all Arkansans should have the ability to watch Arkansas programming and this legislation would get rid of outdated regulations and give them that ability."

Ross holds a seat on the coveted House Energy and Commerce Committee where this legislation will be referred. Ross' bipartisan legislation is being cosponsored by Reps. Barbara Cubin (WY-At Large) and Dan Boren (OK-02).

Coveted? That would be a sin.

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