Friday, December 5, 2008

Finally, Local Stations DO Something About the Digital Switch!

We'll find out in just under two weeks how ready the Cincinnati area is for the switch from analog TV to DTV, according to John Kiesewetter's blog.

On December 17 from 7:30pm to 7:35pm, viewers watching TV on analog sets without cable or satellite service or a converter box will see a message telling them that they must act before February 17, 2009 to ensure that they'll continue to receive local programming. Only those viewers will see this message.

Cable and satellite TV's and those which have converters attached will work fine.

Employees from all of the local stations will man a phone bank from 7:30 to 9:30pm, says Kiesewetter.

Bill Fee, General Manager at WCPO-TV/DT 9, predicts that "The 20 lines will be jammed. We had 10 lines for a digital TV phone bank one day in November, on our 5-6;30 p.m. news, and we couldn't handle the calls."

It's part of a statewide test being conducted by the Ohio Association of Broadcasters. It also may be a nationwide date, but as far as Kiese and Your Tri-State Media Watcher are aware, KET doesn't plan to participate.

Now, a short rant. (We'll separate facts from opinion here by a horizontal line.)


Here at Tri-State Media Watch, we recently commented on the lack of educational efforts by local TV stations.

It is great to see somebody was apparently listening to us, and decided to conduct this test, and to have a phone bank available on the night of the test.

However, there's still more to do. All of the affected stations need to spend the next two weeks educating the public. By this, we do NOT mean the standard PSA's, crawls, etc.. We mean stories on their newscasts, stories on their websites, the whole deal. (Note: All of the stations do have DTV sections on their's a start. But, perhaps they should be made more prominent?)

Here's a message to WKRC, WLWT, WCPO, WSTR, and WXIX: Educate your Before the test, air some kind of special simulcast. Don't rely on the test alone.

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