Elbert County's orphan county petition granted
Elbert County was granted a television designated market area (DMA) modification last week by order of Steven A. Broeckaert, Senior Deputy Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Policy Division.
Broeckaert sent a memorandum opinion and order that was signed and sent to Elbert County on Friday, June 7.
Although Congressman Doug Collins’ Chief of Staff Joel Katz said the order would likely be challenged by stations in Elbert County’s current DMA (as has happened in Franklin, Hart and Stephens counties), Katz suggested that the county could respond to the challenge and await action by the FCC.
The order states that the satellite television systems serving Elbert County should begin providing television stations WSB (ABC), WXIA (NBC), WAGA (FOX) and WGCL (CBS) to its viewers.
According to the order, Elbert County is an “orphan county” with insufficient access to in-state television programming, and its current DMA includes Greenville (SC), Spartanburg (SC), Asheville (NC) and Anderson (SC). The order states that petitioners from Elbert County are deprived of the ability to receive preferred in-state Georgia broadcast stations and instead are relegated to local broadcast content oriented to North Carolina and South Carolina viewers.
This claim is supported by Elbert County residents, according to the order, citing a public hearing held in Elbert County on June 11, 2018. The order says that only one person among many opposed the change of DMA.
The order says that more than 91 percent of the residents of Elbert County stated they shop locally or within the State of Georgia, and that 97 percent seeks services such as healthcare and arts/entertainment within the State of Georgia.
According to the order, 94 percent of Elbert County’s residents support receiving Atlanta-based television stations.