ELKO — The Elko TV District invites television audiences to attend its meeting tonight with guests from KSL-TV regarding showing NBC programs in Elko from Salt Lake City.
“Local taxpayers and those who enjoy NBC programming, free over the air, are encouraged to attend the meeting of the Elko TV District to express their feelings,” according to a news release provided by Paul Gardner of the Elko Broadcasting Co. and Elko TV District.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Nannini Administration Building, 540 Court St.
“NBC will host the Super Bowl and the Olympics in 2018. This traditional seasonal programming is not available to Elko area (over the air) viewers due to KSL’s selfish approach to a reasonable affiliate transition under winter weather conditions,” according to the news release.
After about 20 years, local station KENV-TV lost its NBC affiliation, effective 5 a.m. on Jan. 1, and the station now broadcasts Comet, a sci-fi network owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of KENV.
That’s because Elko falls within the Salt Lake City Designated Market Area. Under that system, NBC Universal requires Elko to be served exclusively by KSL out of Salt Lake City.
Garnder said he thought KSL-TV “flexed their muscle” with NBC Universal to have KENV’s affiliation revoked because the station didn’t want any other affiliates in its DMA.
NBC made the decision but asked KSL for input, said Michael L. Dowdle, senior vice president of business affairs and general counsel for Bonneville International Corp., the broadcasting company owned by a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints trust.
“It’s our DMA, and we would hope that we could have our signal in that market,” he said. “We were encouraged by the decision because we wanted to have our signal in Elko County. We’d like to have the rights we were guaranteed in our contract.”
NBC Universal also objected to the importation of the Reno NBC affiliate, which the Elko TV District had been rebroadcasting over the air to share Nevada news, weather and community programming.
Despite being in the Salt Lake City DMA, the Elko TV District does not have a system in place to rebroadcast KSL. Part of the meeting will include making plans to rebroadcast the signal in Elko.
“We are coming prepared to talk about the business and technical issues of getting the KSL programming into the Elko market,” Dowdle said, explaining that he is attending the meeting with additional employees including the general manager and an engineer so they can discuss the technical arrangements to ensure the signal reaches Elko.
Dowdle also said the team is open to a discussion about creating local programming.
“We are open to that kind of a discussion,” he said. “We want Elko to feel like they’re being served.”