Paul Smith, director of the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), is continuing his fight to put Jackson County back in the Huntsville Designated Media Market Area (DMA). The County EMA launched a survey last Thursday asking for fellow citizens to voice their opinion on the switch to the Chattanooga DMA.
U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Huntsville) said, "Director Smith is right to stand strong on this pressing community issue, and I will continue to press the federal government to put Jackson County back into the Huntsville DMA where it belongs."
Strong has been active in working on this issue due to the public safety risk to his constituents.
In November, the national media company Nielsen designated Jackson County as part of Chattanooga's DMA. This means viewers using cable and satellite won't receive news from Huntsville media stations, which officials argue threatens public safety. This region of Alabama is known for severe weather, and local stations are often able to give warning of potential severe weather a couple hundred miles in advance.
This change has caused uproar among Jackson County residents. Local officials, Strong and U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery) have weighed in on the change arguing for Jackson County to be in the Huntsville DMA.
Smith said the change is making it harder to stay aware of severe weather in that area.
He told 1819 News he had received around 3,000 responses to the survey, and 98% of respondents wanted to remain in the Huntsville DMA. He plans to run the survey through the remainder of the week.
Smith said, "The results will be shared with the legislative delegation, municipalities around the county, Congressman Strong's office and Senator Britt's office who have been working in Washington D.C. with the FCC to correct this change."
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