SPOONER– A “local” TV channel is something of a euphamism – or even a joke – in the region. For Washburn County, local usually means the Twin Cities, which can mean a dearth of Wisconsin news.

A petition is afloat to try to change that.

During the Spooner City Council meeting on August 6, the council approved setting out a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the city hall requesting that channels from Eau Claire and LaCrosse be added to DIRECTV and DISH as local channels.

Initiated by Ray Kort from Birchwood, he asked the county to start the petition since the county would not be charged a fee for petitioning, while an individual would.

The county is following the “STELAR Market Modification” process in which the county is a conduit for the petitions from others.

Any Washburn County resident can sign the petitions, and they must be returned to the county by the end of August. Washburn County Clerk Lolita Olson has said that both DISH and DIRECTV have said could cover the county with the local channels.

Those channels that are requested are WLAX/WEUX (FOX 25/48 LaCrosse/Eau Claire), WXOW/WQOW (ABC 19/18 LaCrosse/Eau Claire), WEAU (NBC 13 Eau Claire) and WKBT (CBS 8 LaCrosse).

The county sent the petitions to each municipality in Washburn County. Copies to sign or distribute also are available with this article or by contacting Clerk Lolita Olson, 715.468.4600 or lolson@co.washburn.wi.us.

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