Having Trouble Getting Tucson TV Stations?

Ed Ehrman

Surprised your news and weather TV stations are based out of Phoenix when using Dish Network or Direct TV? Perhaps neighbors told you how to work around the system to receive Tucson TV stations, which worked until you had a service problem or power outage, and you were reset back.

This problem is based on the STELA/STELAR (Satellite Television Expansion Localism Act) now called STCPPA, a congressional act to regulate the growth of satellite television. To regulate the expansion, the U.S. Congress decided to use the Nielsen DMAs (Direct Marketing Areas) to determine what stations we see. There are only 3 DMAs in Arizona: Tucson, Yuma, and Phoenix. Our community is in Pinal County, which has been included in the Phoenix DMA. Most residents in Pinal County live in the northern and eastern section, closer to Phoenix.

Several of us, since the Mount Lemmon fire, have attempted to get an exemption from the FCC, as we are 10 miles from Tucson and 150 miles from Phoenix. Supporters include SaddleBrooke Ranch, SaddleBrooke, and the Oracle Fire District.

With help from the Pinal County Government in Florence, we are very close to filing for the exemption to allow our areas to be included in the Tucson DMA. The last requirement of the FCC is data on our shopping and labor patterns in our area.

The county will be sending a survey to residents, hopefully in April, and supporters are publicizing this survey to help ensure as many residents respond as possible. If we do not get a significant number of responses, the exception may be denied.

We hope you will keep an eye out in April for this survey and respond promptly. If all goes to plan, that will allow you the option of either Phoenix or Tucson local stations.

Your support is important to our community. Thank You.