East Grand Forks resident Wayne Skalicky said he's tired of watching news on TV that isn't specific to his community.
"What we get is the Fargo-Moorhead news and Detroit Lakes," Skalicky said to the East Grand Forks City Council on Tuesday. "Their news, the weather and the sports. I couldn't care less."
That's why, Skalicky said, he requests his city do something to bring more local TV news to the greater Grand Forks area.
"I don't know why Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Devils Lake could not establish their own television station, where you have local reporters, you have the Grand Forks news, Grand Forks weather, University of North Dakota Sports," Skalicky said.
WDAZ-TV has been serving the very region Skalicky was talking about since 1967. In December, WDAZ's parent company Forum Communications Co., announced it was merging WDAZ with WDAY, the company's TV station in Fargo.
Forum Communications also owns the Grand Forks Herald and several other newspapers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.
WDAY-WDAZ still airs stories that are local to the greater Grand Forks area as part of its programming for the larger Red River Valley and it still has staff in Grand Forks, but Forum Communications is trying to lease space in the Grand Forks WDAZ building.
Council member Marc DeMers said the problem probably rests more with an FCC decision in 2017, overturning an almost 80-year requirement that news companies must have a physical TV station in the areas where they're licensed to transmit TV signals.
"You need to talk to your U.S. representatives on both sides of the river, on both sides of the aisle, and remember that those changes that they make up in Washington, D.C., have effects at the local level," DeMers told Skalicky.
Meanwhile, DeMers said the city has been trying to boost itself as a "primary source" for information. East Grand Forks livestreams its City Council meetings on social media and shares information about local events and road closures online.
"(It's) not filtered through any reporting agency, but that's the best the government can do," DeMers said.