In this Nov. 21, 2019 photo, Shannon Booth, vice president and general manager for Gray Television who oversees company-owned Nebraska stations in Lincoln, Hastings and North Platte, poses for a photo in front of the KOLN television station's satellite dishes in Lincoln, Neb. An estimated 500,000 households nationwide don't have access to local broadcast channels because of a complicated federal law and a decades-long dispute between local broadcasters and satellite television providers. Households in the nation's "neglected markets" _ rural areas that can't get local broadcast signals, are forced to rely on satellite service with news from other states. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

For some rural US TV viewers, local news is anything but

November 24, 2019 - 10:16 am

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — In many rural corners of America, television viewers who want to watch local news are getting stuck with irrelevant stories from out-of-state stations hundreds of miles away.

It’s a major problem for viewers who rely on satellite television because they live too far from local stations to get a conventional broadcast signal.

In parts of rural, western Nebraska, TV watchers often end up with news from Denver or Rapid City, South Dakota, stations. Others find themselves watching Los Angeles news.

Part of the problem stems from a dispute between satellite TV providers and the local broadcasters they pay for access to local news programs.

They’re fighting over a federal law that allows satellite providers to retransmit out-of-state programming at a steep discount. It’s set to expire this year.

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