FastPipe Media » HDTV in Oklahoma

House DTV vote introduces uncertainty

This AP story, State TV stations preparing for digital switch, says:

Despite congressional action allowing a four-month delay in the switch to digital-only television, stations in Oklahoma City and Lawton plan to make the changeover as scheduled on Feb. 17. The situation in Tulsa is less clear.

Be sure you watch the Ed Kelly video at the Oklahoman entitled “Couch Potato Country” on this subject, which sums it up very well, I think. That’s one of many comments I’ve seen in local media wondering why anyone is even bothering with this subject when we have so many other problems that Congress should be dealing with.

Like many of the people here, local broadcasters also sound frustrated that there could be a delay…

“Everything’s done, we’ve notified everybody, we’ve run the ads at our expense that the government required us to,” KWTV general manager Rob Krier said. “They told us a year ago, or two or three, and we’ve been going full steam ahead to get ready for this and for them to come out a week before, two weeks before, that’s even not fair.”

Despite that article saying that all the Oklahoma City stations will make the switch on February 17th, it’s sadly not that clear. This article at News.com, FCC hammers out DTV delay details, indicates the FCC may not allow stations to make the switch:

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said during an open meeting that the agency would carefully evaluate which stations can turn off their analog signals before the June 12 deadline. The FCC will likely allow some stations to make the switch early, but it will try to ensure that not every station in a community makes the switch early, leaving unprepared viewers with no access to over-the-air TV.

The problem is that unless all the stations make the switch at the same time, none of the stations may make the switch. It’s like two guys pointing guns at each other. One says, “I’ll put down my gun, if you put your gun down.” If neither puts their guns down, they’re going to shoot each other.

Regarding KOCO-DT, it sounds like they might make the switch, improving reception to the south, but that Lawton may not be allowed to turn off its analog transmitter, which would prevent KOCO-DT from making the changes needed to improve their signal to the south.

What a mess! They’ve been working on this for more than a decade. It comes down to the last minute and it’s completely screwed up due to Congressional meddling. I guess we could hold out some hope that President Obama will veto the measure, but he seems to have his hands full with another mess in Washington.

BTW, for those of you keeping score, Oklahoma representatives Dan Boren, Democrat, and John Sullivan, Republican, voted in favor of the delay, while Republicans Tom Cole, Mary Fallin and Frank Lucas voted against the delay. Oklahoma Republican senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe were part of a unanimous vote in the Senate on January 26 to delay the transition, 2009. It may be the last time the entire Senate agrees on anything in our lifetime.

This entry was posted in Ada/Ardmore, DTV Switchover, Eufaula, OETA, Oklahoma City, Sherman-Ada, Tulsa, Wichita Falls/Lawton. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

3 Comments

  1. mzokc
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Here are some critical stories on the news wires that help:

    http://www.ksbitv.com/home/ticker/39160762.html

    Result: we are covered with an analog channel for emergencies.

    Next:

    http://www.ktul.com/news/stories/0209/592205.html

    My favorite line is the above news story is: “Officials with KFOR, KWTV, KOCO, KOKH and OETA in Oklahoma City and KSWO in Lawton said the switch from analog to digital signals is ready and will occur as planned.”

    But the real shocker story is the following. It is the number ONE reason that OKC MUST switch on Feb 17th. If we don’t switch, then the viewers won’t be counted!

    http://www.mediabuyerplanner.com/2009/02/02/oklahoma-city-fails-nielsen-test-for-ability-to-receive-dtv-signals/

    Quote: “Because of the failure to pass the digital TV test, ratings for Oklahoma City were not included in overnight ratings from Jan. 29.”

    Now that is HUGE news, I can only guess that it’s because of KOCO having problems with DTV reception in OKC. They get calls complaining about it and many of us in downtown have shared how we have to have a large YAGI antenna to pick up the single VHF channel 7 signal for KOCO-DT. It also could be the huge area of the city and how far the digital signal strength reaches out.

    One thing for sure. The stations should band together and INSIST that the FCC allow us to proceed so we can help Oklahomans get DTV operating properly throughout the state.

  2. quanah
    Posted February 6, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Senators voted unanimously for delay, because senate bill clearly stated that stations could turn off if they so choose.

  3. fox25eng
    Posted February 6, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    President Obama will not sign the bill until the 5 days of public comment has passed. You can find it here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing_room/dtv_delay_act/

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