The good news in TV industry is that DirecTV has sent a letter to FCC to let them know their willingness to support the rebroadcast of Green Bay Packer football games in Iron County and Ashland County, making use of their satellites. The bad news though, is that only 4 of the 11 areas in Ashland County will receive the broadcasts.
DirecTV’s Executive Vice President for Federal Regulations, Timothy P. McKone confirmed the news in a recent statement. However, the city of Ashland is not included in the four zip codes.
Senator Ron Johnson has been working to allow popular satellite TV providers to re-broadcast Packer games for quite some time now. He got a provision added to video reform bill that made a process for the Wisconsin broadcasters to petition FCC to modify TV markets in Wisconsin and allow satellite providers to carry the in-state signals.
Gray Television, who are operators of WSAW TV in Wausau, filed petition with Federal Communications Commission to make modifications in market to allow WSAW-TV to be carried by the popular satellite TV providers in Ashland and Iron counties. These are the counties that are included in the Duluth television market.
However, the problem for viewers is that when the Green Bay Packers play at the same time as Minnesota Vikings, Duluth TV will telecast the Minnesota game. This has happened six times in 2014 and two times last year, says Sen. Johnson’s office.
Sen. Johnson got Tom Wheeler, chairman of FCC, to agree to speed up the application of Gray and it was put out for public comment the next day. The Senator received a letter from DirecTV’s McKone, supporting Gray Television’s petition under his additions to Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR Act.)
“DirecTV supports Gray TV’s modifications where they are technically feasible, namely Iron County and four of the 11 ZIP codes covering Ashland County,” said McCone in his letter. “However, the remaining seven zip codes in Ashland County, DirecTV engineers determined that providing carriage would be technically infeasible because the spot beam on which WSAW-TV is carried does not cover these particular ZIP codes of Ashland County.”
It is now up to FCC to make the final decision on the broadcast of these channels.