Thursday, February 12, 2009

Switch Delayed

President Obama has signed a bill delaying the switch to digital TV until June 12 so more people can get their converter boxes and new TV's with digital tuners. I have mixed feelings, and so does our general manager at KOLD-TV.

Jim Arnold tells Tucson Weekly's John Schuster:
"The electricity alone will cost our company $245,000 a month by not being able to turn off our analog transmitter," said Arnold. "People get so angry with KOLD and thousands of other stations when the government has forced us to go digital. We've already (collectively) invested more than $100 million in going from analog to digital. That was $100 million we had to spend, because Congress told us we had to: 'We can auction off your old frequency.'"

In Arnold's view, the government forced television stations to pay for the upgrade so the feds could make money on those frequencies from phone companies.

"The other people are making it sound like those frequencies are being used for emergency services. Part of that is true," Arnold said. "The part that Congress doesn't tell you about is they're going to auction off the other frequencies to try to raise money, to sell to phone companies and things like that. ... I think it was a congressional money grab. I had someone tell me the TV stations should have the guts to tell Congress we're not going to do this, end of story. (But) we're licensed by the government."
This is why I shake my head at people who complain that the government didn't force broadcasters to pay for the digital channel assignments on top of everything else.

However, the delay does give us time to work out some problems with our signal coverage in Tucson -- like a big hole on the northwest side where Pusch Ridge blocks our digital signal coming from Mt. Bigalow, a problem shared by all Tucson TV stations. We're working on a fill-in transmitter. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

fraizerbaz said...

Speaking of the switch, why is it that I can get a stronger analog signal than a digital signal where I live (out in the middle of nowhere)?

Just a rhetorical question...