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KCCO going away, but CBS signal may stay

CBS affiliate WCCO is turning off its KCCO-TV signal for the Alexandria area at the end of the year, but Selective TV based in Douglas County is hopeful it will be able to relay WCCO programming.

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CBS affiliate WCCO is turning off its KCCO-TV signal for the Alexandria area at the end of the year, but Selective TV based in Douglas County is hopeful it will be able to relay WCCO programming.

Selective TV is a non-profit over-the-air television programming system supported by viewer contributions. Its office is in Alexandria.

The Selective TV signal covers about a 40-mile radius from its tower near Garfield.

TV watchers that use an antenna in Douglas County get most of their channels from the Selective TV tower. But the CBS network signal has been coming through KCCO off a tower near Westport in Pope County.

CBS closed down the KCCO studio in Alexandria in 2004. Since then, the KCCO tower has been transmitting the WCCO programming from the Twin Cities.

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But KCCO will end at the end of this year, according to a letter that CBS Senior Vice President John Bagwell sent to the Federal Communications Commission in October.

Selective TV has made a proposal to CBS to pick up transmission of the WCCO signal but a deal has not been finalized.

Bagwell's letter does say that "CBS is working with another translator operator ... that might potentially begin simulcasting the WCCO-TV signal to some viewers within KCCO-TV's current service contour."

Jim Borgrud, president of Selective TV, said that is a reference to the potential deal with Selective TV.

Without a deal, viewers that relied on the KCCO signal may not be able to pick up CBS.

"I don't know why (CBS) would want lose that market share up here," said Lonnie Wing, a Selective TV board member.

Alexandria area residents raised about $500,000 to set up the Selective TV system more than 35 years ago.

Selective TV asks that people using its service make a $10 per month contribution to the organization.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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