The city of Durango has found a way to broadcast Denver’s KUSA 9News on its public television station in response to residents clamoring for Colorado news.
The city is broadcasting 9News 8½ hours each day during the week and six hours each day on the weekends. Durango has been broadcasting 9News in high-definition, over-the-air signal for about six months now, said Victor Locke, broadcast specialist in the city’s public information office.
The station is available on digital air channel 10.2, which can be accessed with an indoor HD digital antenna.
Durango doesn’t get Denver cable television news otherwise, something that has been a source of contention in Southwest Colorado. That’s because La Plata County is in Albuquerque’s Nielson media market. That means Durango gets news from New Mexico rather than Denver because of market forces, not political or social will.
La Plata County government petitioned the Federal Communications Commission in October 2016 to allow satellite providers, in this case Direct TV and DISH Network, to partner with ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Denver. The FCC agreed, but Albuquerque television stations appealed the decision, putting the petition in limbo. A decision has yet to be made.
The city has been working with 9News over the past two years to get the signal from Denver to Durango, Locke said. But it hasn’t been easy. Locke said changes in technology related to moving television signals over the internet slowed the process. The city went through three iterations of technology before it got a signal that was reliable and clear.
The city is offering antennas to residents for free. Those interested can visit City Hall, the Durango Public Library or the Durango Community Recreation Center to get a card that describes how to access the signal. They can take the card to City Hall, where staff will provide a free HD digital antenna. The city has about 100 digital antennas available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Accessing the over-the-air signal doesn’t cost anything.
The 9News programing is not available on cable access to Durango Government Television because 9News already broadcasts on channel 15, said Mitchell Carter, public information specialist.
The over-the-air signal that is streaming on Durango Government Television’s is 9News’ webstream, Locke said. That means Durango residents won’t see the commercials that typically air on 9News, Locke said. Instead, during scheduled commercial breaks, residents will see bits of news or advertising for other KUSA-TV programming.
And anybody can access the signal. All that is needed is an indoor antenna or a roof antenna to catch the signal, Locke said. The signal is broadcast from Smelter Mountain. Only those in sight line of Smelter Mountain will be able to catch the signal, Carter said.
Homes closer to the signal source will receive a better reception. Mountains can be problematic when broadcasting television or radio signals because they act as barriers to signal traffic. The higher up an antenna is, the better the signal.
[email protected]An earlier version of this story misspelled Victor Locke’s last name.