Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hooray for KEYE

Hats off to Austin's KEYE-TV tonight.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, the federal government decided to extend the deadline for stopping the transmission of analog TV signals to June. While the deadline was extended, TV stations that felt they were ready to change-over in full could do so on February 17 as scheduled.

KEYE-TV is the only Austin television station that is going to make the move on February 17 (tonight). In their news report tonight, they explained how they were ready for the switch. Not only did they prepare their own equipment, but they operated outreach programs and telephone hotlines to help people understand the switch to digital television (DTV). They also had their own engineers make house calls to individuals with exceptional circumstances to provide help. They are going to actually expand this help as soon as they turn off their analog signal at midnight.

It isn't easy for a television station to take a stand such as this. There will be people who criticize KEYE for cutting off their analog signal earlier than everyone else. I see KEYE as very forward-thinking. Four months later people will be no more ready to make the transition than they are now. KEYE recognizes this and by taking this stand and remaining prepared to help others make the transition, they are taking the heat in order to help people go to DTV. This move will benefit all the Austin TV stations, who will reap the benefits of KEYE's decision.

So to all you good folks at KEYE, I salute you. I'm sure there are others who feel as I do, and please remember that when people accuse you of abandoning low-income viewers and so on. You didn't. You couldn't provide any more help to people to make the DTV transition. Thank you.

A slightly less bold move has been done by the local PBS station, who will make the DTV switch on March 31. That's better than June.

So I'm going to be up at midnight tonight to watch KEYE's analog signal go away. What a cool, momentous event.

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