10.31.19

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Urges Commerce Committee Leadership to Guarantee Access to In-State Broadcast Television

Senator Baldwin introduced legislation to make sure all Wisconsinites have the opportunity to receive in-state broadcasts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, yesterday urged Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to implement solutions for the 400,000 residents in Wisconsin who lack access to in-state news, sports, and entertainment on broadcast television. Senator Baldwin led the bipartisan letter to Senate Commerce leadership with Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE), who similarly have constituents unable to receive relevant programming in their states.

While most people live in a local television market that is centered in their home state, some counties, particularly in border areas, have been placed in an out-of-state market and their residents receive out-of-state TV broadcasts as a result. In Wisconsin, nearly 400,000 people live in 13 counties that have been assigned to an out-of-state market.

“In the states that we represent, thousands of residents are currently unable to watch the news, sports, and entertainment that is most relevant to them,” write the Senators. “As this Committee debates the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), we request that you work with us to implement remedies to help our constituents impacted in these orphan counties… All Americans deserve access to local broadcast television content that is relevant to them.”

A copy of the full letter is available here.

Senator Baldwin has been working to ensure every Wisconsinite has access to Wisconsin-based programming like local news, weather, and sports, including Green Bay Packers games. She introduced her Go Pack Go Act in September to give residents in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to receive in-state broadcasts. Currently, Green Bay Packers fans in 12 Wisconsin border counties are assigned to an out-of-state, Minnesota TV market, which means many of these Wisconsin households could get the Minnesota Vikings game instead of the Packers game when the two teams play at the same time. Impacted Wisconsin counties in the Duluth-Superior media market include Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron and Sawyer. In the Twin Cities media market, Burnett, Washburn, Polk, Barron, St. Croix, Dunn and Pierce counties are impacted. Florence County is in the Marquette, Michigan, TV market and two stations currently choose to broadcast Packers games.

This reform ensures that every Wisconsin cable or satellite subscriber who lives in these 13 counties has the choice of receiving an in-state broadcast for every major network, so they would always have access to Wisconsin-based programming like local news, weather, and sports, including Packers games.