In These Times
With liberty and justice for all...
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It is often forgotten that the airwaves commercial broadcasters use belong to the public. In return for using this valuable public resource for absolutely free, commercial broadcasters have basic “public interest obligations” to ensure that programming reflects the needs and desires of the public . It’s no secret that broadcasters have been shirking this duty for years and that lawmakers and the FCC have failed to hold broadcasters accountable.
Posted by Auston321 on 2011-01-04 05:11:35
Especially in this recession time.
Posted by Mislav Bajic on 2009-08-30 03:51:50
Who will produce the money to pay the extra $10,000 per month most UHF stations must pay the utility company just for the electricity used by that new digital TV transmitter?
Posted by inthfapt on 2009-07-09 12:30:36
I think there is a lot of serious mis-information being spread about the value of those digital sub-channels. First, all of the "sub-channels" are data streams that must be multiplexed or combined BEFORE they pass through the digital TV transmitter. And that digital TV transmitter is not community property. Someone paid hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars to install and operate that transmitter. So who exactly should pay for installing and operating those digital TV subchannels passing through that transmitter? The broadcasting station that was mandated but NOT PAID or even assisted by Congress in any way to install it? Have you ever heard of an unfunded federal mandate? The DTV transition is a classic example of just such an unfunded federal mandate. And, in case you did not know, BEFORE the digital TV transition, the over the air TV channels were as follows: 2-6, 7-13, 14-69. AFTER the digital TV transition, they will be 2-6, 7-13, 20-51. TV channels 14-19, and 52-69 will be gone. This transition to digital TV was a giant game of "musical chairs" with a lot fewer chairs than there were before the "music" started, and the resulting interference from nearby channels is already making reception of the digital TV signals difficult for many people. Second, all TV programming costs money to produce or even just to broadcast. During the "DTV transition" every TV station had to run BOTH their analog transmitter and their digital transmitter, but there was no new revenue stream to help pay for any more programming, or even to help pay for the required digital hardware the TV station was forced to buy and install. So who will produce the money to pay the extra $10,000 per month most UHF stations must pay the utility company just for the electricity used by that new digital TV transmitter? The TV station I for which I maintain the transmitters (KTSF-TV26) pays our utility company some $20,000 PER MONTH just for the power the two transmitters we have, one analog and one digital, and we were mandated to run duplicate signals like that since 2000, because we are in San Francisco. We were required to put digital TV signals into the air when there were NO digital TV receivers available to receive those signals. That was the first approach Congress tried to force the TV set makers to include digital tuners in their TV sets, but it didn't work. So Congress then had to legislate that all TV sets must include digital TV tuners, or we would still see only "Digital Ready" TV sets on the market that really are nothing more than large screen computer monitors, without digital TV tuners. Instead of whining about the lack of programming, why not look into creating some TV programming yourself? I know of a number of TV stations that would love to add more programming, but after they have paid the mortgage on their new digital transmitters and paid the power bills for that new transmitter, they don't have much money left to purchase "broadcast rights" for more programming. Here are two links so you can see what a small independent TV station in San Francisco is doing. These are two different links to KTSF's web site, one for English and the other for Chinese. Here is the Chinese link: http://www.ktsf.com/cn/index.html And here is the English link: http://www.ktsf.com/en/ FYI, KTSF currently broadcasts in about a dozen different languages, but the Bay Area has a lot more languages than that. We have no programming in Russian, for example. How would you like to help produce a couple hours of TV programming every week in Russian? Or Hungarian? or how about Portuguese or French? As Scoop Nisker said many years ago on the legendary KSAN, "If you don't like the news.... Go out and make some of your own!" So don't just whine about what you don't see on TV. Why not go out and do something about it?
Posted by LinearBob on 2008-09-15 19:14:34
I have two comments: 1. I have been using two different DTV converter boxes for several months. I have had no difficulty switching between analog & digital TV viewing because I use a power divider to connect my antenna to both the converter and the TV. I view the output of the DTV converter on the Video 1 input of the TV and the analog TV on the antenna input of the TV. It helps to think of the DTV converter box as if it were a VCR or a CATV set top box. Of course there are technologically challenged folks who have never been able to set the clock on their VCR when the power goes out and comes back on, but they will always be with us. I'm not good at horticulture, either. 2. As for the programming to fill Channels 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 & 4.4. The PBS affiliates in the LA area are offering unique programming on each of their sub-channels. One of the independent commercial channels is even offering Canadian programming. English programming is produced in the UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries, as well. Then, there's foreign language programming which could be offered subtitled in English or on the SAP. As for most commercial channels doing same-old, same-old, what else would you expect from eight years of a Repugnican-controlled Federal Communications Commission?
Posted by cfelts on 2008-09-15 16:50:26
Please note that the paragraph has been updated to clarify sameasuid's confusion. best, Jeremy Gantz In These Times Web editor
Posted by Jeremy Gantz on 2008-09-15 14:14:27
In this article, I see a contradiction in this paragraph: Most low-power commercial TV stations (including many Spanish-language stations) are not making the DTV transition in February - and the vast majority of converter boxes won't carry their signals, leaving many people unable to tune into news and information they depend on. Since the Spanish station won't be switching, there is no need for the converter boxes, and their viewers won't be affected, right?? what i don't understand is "the vast majority of converter boxes won't carry their signals." what are these converter boxes, if not the converters attached to tv sets, which don't carry anything? She makes no sense whatsoever...
Posted by sameasuid on 2008-09-14 22:04:19
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