Thursday, February 22, 2018

Harrison County files FCC petitions to get local TV channels on satellite services

By Bridget Ortigo
Jan. 31, 2018 at 12:15 a.m.

Harrison County commissioners on Monday take a photo with   two petitions they filed with the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to get county residents access to local TV channels for Dish and DirecTV customers. From left are Commissioner William Hatfield, Commissioner Zephaniah Timmins, Judge Hugh Taylor, Commissioner Phillip Mauldin and Commissioner Jay Ebarb.

MARSHALL — Harrison County commissioners have unanimously approved County Judge Hugh Taylor's request to file two petitions with the Federal Communications Commission asking for residents to receive access to local TV channels as part of their satellite packages.

"These petitions came as the result of public outcry that has been going on for years," Taylor said Monday. "This is what we've worked on for probably about a year — to bring KFXK Fox 51 and KLTV to Harrison County. We've gotten a lot of assistance from these two stations to prepare these petitions."

The FCC has 90 days to consider the petition, Taylor said.

Though the commissioners approved having Taylor hire a consultant to draw up the petitions for a cost of up to $5,000, Taylor said he drafted the petitions himself because he couldn't find a consultant who would do the work for the approved amount.

Harrison County Pct. 3 Commissioner Phillip Mauldin and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jay Ebarb said they have had several requests and questions from residents about the issue.

"This is the question I probably get asked the most about: 'When is this going to happen?' " Ebarb said.

Harrison County residents using Dish and DirecTV satellite service receive Shreveport stations as their local news options.

"Comments about Texas news and the Dallas Cowboys. The most compelling point of these petitions is there are a couple of thousand people living in Harrison County that are in the city of Longview that are completely disenfranchised from Texas news, because they can't hear what the other constituents in Longview hear on KFXK or KLTV," Taylor said.

Ebarb said weather notifications on Louisiana channels often come too late for Harrison County residents or not at all.

Taylor said U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn supported the petitions.



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