| AspenTimes.com

Jeez, the discussion at the county about rural translators is really a scary thought. These folks who spoke up are using an antenna because they want only free broadcasting. I believe that there are many more who are not yet aware of the issue.

The commissioners apparently don’t realize that anyone can get a free dish. All you have to do is pay for the monthly subscription. And it’s not especially cheap, since broadcast channels and extra sets add extra monthly fees on top of the basic satellite nonbroadcast channel charges they don’t want. DUH!

For that matter, why should the county pay for satellite only? Why not cable? Where is the equity in that? In addition to local employment, cable pays local franchise taxes which go directly into local government coffers. Satellite subscription fees return nothing to the local economy.

Broadcast stations, including all cable systems, also provide emergency broadcast warnings at the local level. Not so on satellite.

Most cable systems offer a stripped-down basic made up of mostly broadcast channels. That certainly bears investigation if the county is going to consider alternatives to a developed translator system.

In rural and mountainous areas, many neighbors tie their translator reception into small community antenna systems. In fact, that is how cable started. Shutting down rural translators may well invoke the Law of Unintended Consequences for these elected officials.

The reality is that 20 percent of America does not want to pay for TV, or at least prefers that the costs are hidden. This is why it’s called “broadcasting,” and it remains a cornerstone of American society.

All things are not the same to everyone. The commissioners should think a little less elitist. Keeping rural translators running, both TV and FM, is important.

Chris May


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