DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Parks and Recreation will no longer allow certain channels to air on the televisions in their community centers.
Dennis Campbell has been visiting the Central Park Recreation Center for nearly 10 years, so often he knows which channels are on which television screens.
“TV number two would have been one of the local news channels, channel three was Fox News, channel four was CNN,” Campbell said.
Last week, that changed.
When Campbell went in for a workout none of the major cable news networks — FOX, CNN or MSNBC — were on.
When he asked to switch the channel, he was surprised by the response.
“They didn’t want to be seen as politically left or right and that they had been designated to turn these nine stations on,” he said.
Campbell followed up with the city directly.
In an email back the recreation director said, “We decided to limit channel selection for staff to all local news and media and channels that are recreation related, such as food, sports, weather, travel, leisure, hobby etc. This specific change has reduced the number of complaints we receive regarding political favoritism.”
“I’m just not sure where we have gotten to where, you know, you get three or four folks that complain about a station that they don’t even have to listen to or watch and now we are all, all 1,000 patrons are stuck with the channels they choose for us,” Campbell said.
In all of his years visiting the gym, he says he’s never seen a confrontation, and while the decision won’t change his routine he believes things could have been handled better, and input from patrons who pay into those facilities could have been considered.
“Just give us our say as to what nine channels we want to watch,” Campbell said.
CBS4 spoke with a spokesperson with Denver Parks and Recreation. They declined to do an on-camera interview but said it has always been their policy that staff reserves the right to determine what stations are appropriate and if patrons want to bring their own personal devices they can watch any channel they like.
“We have received less than 10 complaints/comments regarding the television stations. We have 30 recreation centers with over 3 million visitors annually so this is an extremely small number,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to CBS4.