Elbert joins Franklin, Hart in petition for Georgia programming

Courtesy of WSGC/ The Elbert County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to move Elbert County from the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville television market to the Atlanta market.

Elbert County is the third of four “orphan” counties to agree to file the petition. Franklin County has already filed a petition and Hart County’s commissioners have already given the go-ahead on their petitions.

The action was taken after a public hearing in which seven out of eight Elbert County residents who addressed the commissioners spoke in favor of moving to the Atlanta market. Most cited their preference for receiving local TV news focused on Georgia government and politics, as well as sports programming, as opposed to that from South Carolina and North Carolina – including the first speaker, Marie Oglesby.

Oglesby said, “The news we get out of Spartanburg and Greenville is about South Carolina politics. For example, what the South Carolina governor and the South Carolina legislature are doing, street interviews with South Carolina residents about who they’re going to vote for and debates by the South Carolina candidates for office. There is nothing about candidates who are running for office in Georgia. I can’t vote in South Carolina, so why in the world would I want to know about their government?”

The only speaker in favor of Elbert County remaining in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, current Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mat Hunt, said local weather forecasts on the Carolina news stations better serve Elbert County than do their Atlanta counterparts.

Elbert, Franklin, Hart and Stephens counties are the counties on the Georgia-South Carolina border which are in the Carolina TV market. Elbert County Attorney Bill Daughtry said petitioning to the FCC is only the first step in the process.

Daughtry said there’s a chance the petition could be denied but I know that Rep. (Doug) Collins has been in touch with the FCC, and he’s gotten Georgia’s entire congressional delegation to recommend this, so the county is hopeful.