A movement to add Texas stations to satellite TV networks got support and approval from the Panola County Commissioners’ Court on Tuesday.

It’s the first step in a process that residents hope will add KLTV (Channel 7) and KFXK (Fox 51) to their channel line-ups, in addition to the current Shreveport-based TV news stations already available.

“We’re going to do this without any tax dollars,” Organizer Venita Judice said. Harrison County was “able to do it without spending any extra money, so I’m just here to request the court to approve this and start this procedure so that we can start to get our Texas news like we should be getting.”

Panola County is what’s known as an “orphan county,” meaning TV viewers live in one state and are assigned a TV market that’s out of state. Residents in orphan counties can petition the Federal Communications Commission to add their local news stations as part of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010. Panola County plans to follow neighboring Harrison County, which received a market modification in June, in adding KLTV and KFXK to satellite line-ups.

Once a petition is received, the FCC has 120 days to review the request and either grant or deny a market modification. Then television stations and satellite TV companies then have 90 days to put the change in place if the request is granted.

More than a dozen Panola County residents showed up to Tuesday’s commissioners’ court meeting to voice their approval for the petition, telling officials they wanted local news and were tired of arguing about the issue with their TV providers. Adding Texas news stations means residents could also get Dallas Cowboys games, something many residents said they wanted.

“We would love to know what’s going on in the state of Texas versus Shreveport and that area,” Lake Murvaul resident Ken Pauley said. “All of our elections we don’t even know who voted for who, and that’s the main thing: To get the local news where we can understand what’s going on in our area.”

Gary resident Nancy Alexander told officials she was definitely supportive of adding Texas channels.

“I’m here because one of my church members came up to me Sunday and said you could choose an address in Tyler and tell them you have an address in Tyler and you can get Texas news,” Alexander said. “And I said ‘No, sir, I shouldn’t have to lie to get Texas news.’”

Panola County Judge LeeAnn Jones said Tuesday that names of Panola County residents in support of the change would be included the county’s petition. She also encouraged supporters who couldn’t come to the meeting to send her emails or letters of support that she could include with the petition.

Reporter

Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.