QUESTION: A year ago, the FCC approved this area of Harrison County to get the Tyler local stations on DirecTV. It was approved on June 1. They’ve had one year to act on it. I can’t get answers from nobody. I have talked to a couple of the TV stations in Tyler, and they have no information. I’m wondering if you could help me on this?
ANSWER: I’ve received a couple of questions about this, and here’s what this boils down to: The FCC’s approval wasn’t the final step to make this happen. The approval triggered negotiations between DirecTV and Dish Network and the two local stations that were approved to become part of the channel lineup available to Harrison County residents — KLTV and KFXK.
To review, federal rules previously changed to allow areas to seek FCC approval for media outlets outside the area to expand into the requested market area. This was important to folks in Harrison County, because they’ve been receiving Louisiana news stations on DirecTV and Dish. That means they’re missing out on television news, including weather broadcasts, that might be more relevant to them.
The FCC granted Harrison County’s petition to expand its market to include KLTV and KFXK, but it appears negotiations between Dish and DirecTV and the two local stations have not to this point been successful. It looks like that’s about to change, though, at least in regards to KLTV.
Harrison County Judge Chad Sims is new to the job and wasn’t in office at the time this all took place, but he’s looked into the situation since he was elected
Like me, he hasn’t received a response from KFXK about the situation, but he said KLTV had been in negotiations about the change. Pat Stacey, vice president and general manager of KLTV, said those earlier negotiations were not successful, but the station has since changed ownership, and it looks like an agreement might be forged after all. In the meantime, Panola County has received similar FCC approval.
“As far as KLTV, we are waiting on a final written agreement for both Dish and DirecTV in Panola County,” Stacey said. “It is our hope that KLTV will be added to Harrison. It will be up to those individual providers at that time. My understanding is that it could be as early as June in Panola. In the original opportunity in Harrison, we were not able to come to a carriage agreement with DirecTV and Dish, so it stalled the process. The recent Panola ruling and the fact that we have changed ownership is allowing the prospect of carriage in Harrison to go back on the table. I am cautiously confident that we will be able to get an agreement for carriage in both Harrison and Panola county very soon.”
He noted that this is an all-new process, with a handful of these kinds of requests having received FCC approval.
“So it is new ground for broadcasters and satellite providers. It is incumbent on those two groups striking an agreement — so lawyers are involved, which slows things,” he said in an email. ”But, I do believe we are close to getting this done which will be a huge win for those viewers that want Texas news. Another point to keep in mind is that it will not remove any of the Shreveport stations that are currently on, only add us (and KFXK if they get a deal done).”
Q: Waldron Ferry Road is a heavily traveled road, as it is the main road to the Hallsville middle and junior high schools and both boys baseball and girls softball fields. It’s in terrible shape. The road is partly in Hallsville and partly in Harrison County, and neither entity is maintaining it. Can something be done about it?
A: I have good news for you, and I didn’t even have to work very hard to get it.
Hallsville City Manager Marty Byers reminded me that in April, the Harrison County Commissioners Court approved a summer road work plan that includes repairs to a portion of the road that is in the county. The city of Hallsville also is making plans to repair the portion of the road in the city limits.
“We are aware the portion of Waldron Ferry Road inside the city limits is in need of repair,” he said. “The recent deluge of constant rains and the lack of proper drainage and the number of school buses traveling the road have been what’s caused the problem.”
That same rain, along with how wet the road bed remained and the amount of school traffic, made it impossible to make even temporary repairs, he said.
“We will address the issue one way or the other this summer,” he said.