Showing posts from February, 2009

News Roundup, Feb. 22-28

Hello again and welcome to this week's Roundup. Let's get to it:

WAZE returned to my living room TV screen this week, thanks to a new antenna setup which managed to pull in their analog signal. Well, it did, anyway, until Friday. No explanation to pass along yet, but when I know something, you'll know it too.

KET, Kentucky's statewide public television network, is going all-digital on April 15. A bit of trivia here: They've been broadcasting in analog on WKMA out of Madisonville since September 1968, and via WKOH's transmitter near Reed (between Henderson and Owensboro) since December 1979. The change will also include KET's three low-power repeaters in eastern Kentucky.

WFIE went full-screen with their weather channel on 14.2 this week, later adding the current conditions and forecast in a black bar at the bottom of t…

Paul Harvey, 1918-2009

I have listened to Paul Harvey since I can remember listening to the radio.

Sadly, I'll -- we'll -- no longer have that opportunity. Paul Harvey, the man behind that golden-toned, folksy radio voice carried across this country for over 60 years, died today.

He was 90.

And a part of America died along with him.

Rest in peace, Paul.

February poll results

Here's the breakdown on this past month's polling here at JDTVB.

Question #1
What utilities did you lose during the ice storm?
22% lost electricity33% lost telephone serviceNobody lost water/sewer service44% lost internet service22% lost cable TV11% lost other, unspecified utilities44% had no utility services affectedQuestion #2
What do you think about Congress' action to change the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12?
100% thought it was a stupid move14% were already ready and didn't careNo one thought it was a good idea, nor did anyone say "Huh?"Thanks for taking time to participate, and be sure to vote, if you haven't already, in the new March polls if you're in the Evansville viewing area. Tell your friends, too!

"Our Kentucky" in HD on KET tonight

As I type this, KET is into its first TeleFund break during tonight's premiere of "Our Kentucky," a special look at our state as we've never seen it before. It's in SD on KET1, and in full, beautiful HD on KET HD.

I'm enjoying it, too!

Nick Clooney is narrating. I don't think they could've picked anyone better.

More WAZE problems?

I'm not sure if there was a technical problem due to last night's storms that rolled through the area or some other issue, but WAZE was off the air all day today, even on the analog side of things. I've not turned on a TV tonight (Horrors, I know!), so I don't know if it's back on or not. I'll keep ya posted ...

UPDATE, Saturday, 2:51 AM local time (Blogger seems to work on Pacific time...) -- It's still off-air. I can just barely get WAZE-LP on channel 17, but something must be going on at the Hanson tower site. What that "something" might be ... who knows???

UPDATE, Saturday, 4:15 PM local time -- Still a "no go" on analog. Wonder if the folks in STL know about this??? Or, for that matter, if they care ...

Ion affiliate WBNA ... possible "get" for those of you in the eastern reaches of the Evansville market?

I've not been able to pull it down, but I've been studying the site run by Trip Ericson, and I noticed that WBNA's (channel 21, Louisville) signal -- at least according to the FCC -- reaches as far west as Tell City.

They are the Louisville Ion affiliate, with the following subchannels now broadcasting on RF channel 8 at an ERP of 27,000 watts:
21-1 - Ion21-2 - qubo21-3 - Ion Life21-4 - Worship
21-5 - Unsion (Spanish)21-6 - DaystarAnyone willing to "take one for the team" and try to pull it down? I doubt it'd be easy, what with WTVW still broadcasting on channel 7 (soon to be the home of WEHT) and WNIN on channel 9, but it's worth a shot.

My kids love qubo's programming, which of course is broadcast each Saturday morning on NBC, but I think it'd be nice to have it full time.

Maybe I'll start a petition drive here in the Owensboro area and see if Ion might be interested in exploring broadcasting here ...

WTSN-LP and WYYW-LP switch calls, and other notes

According to my latest FCC query, WTSN-LP (channel 41) and WYYW-LP (channel 36) have switched call letters, with WTSN moving to 36 and WYYW moving to 41.

The change occurred on Monday.

In addition, the Evansville Low Power Partnership (licensee for both stations) has applied to flash-cut channel 36 to digital. That application was accepted for filing on Feb. 17.

The FCC's projected coverage area for the new digital WTSN takes in a larger area than the analog signal, covering most of Vanderburgh, Warrick and Spencer counties in Indiana and large portions of Henderson and Daviess counties in Kentucky.

My question, however, is ... why?

Why go digital when it's not yet required?Why go digital when the programming is already on WEVV's much-stronger signal?

Is there something else afoot here? Probably not, but it is an interesting development.

The March poll questions

These should be interesting:

In the Evansville TV market, which local evening news do you watch?
WTVW (any time slot)
WFIE (any time slot)
WEHT (any time slot)
None of the above
Also in the Evansville TV market, which local morning news do you watch?
WTVW (AM Evansville)WFIE (Sunrise)WEHT (Daybreak)None of the aboveThe questions will be up later today. Please vote just once, and tell your friends to vote as well. I'd like to get a good representative sample.

Cutting public TV budgets - a bad thing?

The National Governors' Association is meeting in Washington this week, and the Association of Public Television Stations is pleading with them to hold off on cutting funding that the states provide to public stations despite the dire economic situation our country now faces.

In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels is proposing a $3.5 million cut in funding for the state's eight public TV stations and eight NPR radio stations. For Evansville's WNIN, its portion of the cut would amount to 15% of its annual budget.


And you can tell WNIN is already tightening the belt, as 9-1 and 9-2 no longer show separate programming, as it's most assuredly cheaper to put one feed on the air instead of two. We've also not seen anything new on 9-3, which is still shown as "under construction" while simulcasting the audio feed from 88.3 FM.

Personally, with four kids (ages 2 to 12), I applaud PBS and its member stations for providing families with programming everyone can watch, …

My 100th Post: Satellite and local stations -- My Thoughts

The time has come once again for Congress to debate the renewal of the law authorizing DirecTV and Dish Network to carry programming in the U.S., and you can read more about that and what I'm writing about below here.


Since this is my 100th post, here's what I think about satellite companies and local programming.

DirecTV and Dish MUST be required, this time around, to carry locals. Period.


It's simple. Cable companies, by law, are required to carry local channels. Not requiring satellite companies to do so as well is a disservice to their subscribers, many of whom have no other access to television. (Yes, there are areas of the country where no broadcast stations reach. Check it out; you'll find it's true.)

Everyone should have access to local television, for news, weather, and other information. In this day and age, there is no excuse for leaving anyone unserved or underserved.

That's how I see it.

Update on KET -- repeaters going digital, too!

Got an update from Mark Holt at KET this morning -- and it turns out that the repeater stations in Augusta, Louisa and Falmouth are going digital as well.

If you have friends in these areas, here are the new channels:
Augusta, channel 38Louisa, channel 25Falmouth, channel 52So there you go. Everything in the KET system will be digital-only effective April 15.

Thanks, Mark, and thanks, KET!

WFIE makes changes on weather channel

Did you check out WFIE's weather channel on 14-2 today? If so, you've probably noticed that they've dropped the current conditions and forecasts for local cities in favor of a full-screen setup, which is easier to view and transitions more smoothly between views of the radar, highs, airport delays, etc. etc., instead of the previous, rather jerky changes.

I'm not sure if this is permanent, but so far, I think I like it.

KET to shut off analog signals on April 15

This word straight from the horse's mouth:

"KET will cease analog transmission April 15, 2009, and broadcast only digital signals."

I'm not sure if this includes KET's three low-power repeaters, which serve very small areas. Being low-power, they're not required to switch, but will KET keep these going? Given that all public television operations are hurting for cash, I highly doubt it, especially with the large investment in new digital equipment that the network has made.

For your reference, here's a list of those repeaters:
W10AR, channel 10, LouisaW56AT, channel 56, AugustaW56AM, channel 56, FalmouthI guess we'll see if they're around come April 15, huh? In the meantime, I'll reach out to KET and see if they can tell me anything.

Stay tuned!

Finally getting WAZE ...

... just not in digital.

No, despite my best efforts, I've not been able to lock in WAZE's (CW, 19, Madisonville) digital signal on the new living room HD set, but I did resurrect an old Archer 3-antenna switch so I could put up a second home-built antenna in the attic for pulling in stations southwest of us.

And it works! Using what the switch calls "Antenna B," I've managed to improve WAZE's analog signal from completely unwatchable to almost as good as the Evansville stations' analogs are with "Antenna A." Now, as long as my St. Louis Cardinals are still broadcast locally on CW 19 (and I'm not sure they will be), I'll be able to watch them this year without trouble.

As part of the bargain, Antenna B pulled down WKMA's (KET, 35, Madisonville) digital foursome (KET1, KET2, KETKY and KET ED), and according to the Dynex's signal meter, it's comin' in loud and proud with a green signal (blue is the only higher level; a bad s…

News Roundup, Feb. 15-21

It was a wild week in DTV-land, so here goes this week's Roundup:

While some locations across the country are short of DTV converter boxes, Owensboro, Ky. is not. Best Buy and Walmart are well-stocked, as is Target.

The NAB has released its new "Analog Nightlight" video to stations which will be switching to digital but leaving their analog signal up to inform viewers of the switch. It's more than 8 minutes long and can be found here or on YouTube if you're interested.

In other conversion news, if your home is analog-only (i.e., you don't have cable or satellite), the NTIA will put you at the head of the line for the soon-to-be-issued new run of converter coupons.

A 70-year-old Missouri man, all liquored up and ticked off, shot his TV after his …

WEHT update

In previous posts, I had mentioned that WEHT's post-transition power on channel 7 would be 2,600 watts.

Today, by searching on and the FCC's website, I have found that this is no longer the case.

On February 6, WEHT was granted a modification of its construction permit, allowing a power output of 12,500 watts. Hopefully, this will take care of those folks who can't see WEHT in digital now.

Only time will tell, though.

How not to approach the DTV conversion

A 70-year-old Joplin, Missouri man, evidently outraged by the loss of his cable television service and his inability to set up his new converter box, took out another box instead.

A box of ammunition.

According to this story, the man shot his TV. His wife said he'd been drinking. No kidding.

I can see it now, a new warning in the instruction manuals of the newest flock of converter boxes:

"Before installing your new converter, please have an assistant handy to lock up all alcoholic beverages and firearms."

NTIA to prioritize converter box coupons if bottlenecks develop, and more notes on "My 44"

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) has decided, if bottlenecks in the converter box coupon program happen again, that they'll prioritize distribution of coupons to analog-only homes first.

You can read that story here.

In other news, WEVV-DT is now displayed on-screen on digital channel 44.2. Until recently, 44.2 was "My TSN," but with the change in branding to "My 44," they've changed the call letters as shown to us digital viewers.

Of course, if you're close to Evansville and choose to watch in analog, WTSN-LP (analog channel 41) and the newly-renamed WYYW-LP (analog channel 36) still broadcast My 44's programming.

You may also remember that I reported MyNetworkTV is changing to a rerun-based network, with the exception of WWE's "Smackdown." I'm not really surprised, because what little original programming MNT offered wasn't much to write home about anyway. I do enjoy "Jail," but…

NAB debuts "Nightlight" video

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has released the new "analog nightlight" video which will be shown on some stations which are turning off their analog broadcasts before June 12.

Here it is, in its 8+ minute entirety:

Converter boxes in Owensboro

In some parts of the country, I've read and heard that there is a shortage of DTV converter boxes.

Owensboro, Kentucky is NOT one of those places.

Both of our Walmart stores (Frederica Street and Highway 54) have a good number on hand, mostly of the latest Magnavox variety, although I did see some RCA boxes as well. Both were $49.87.

In addition, Best Buy had a glut of both the Apex and Insignia boxes while we were there yesterday. I believe the Insignia box's price has been reduced to $49.99, while the Apex is and has always been (as far as I know) $49.99 as well.

I haven't been in Target lately, but the last time I checked, they had no trouble meeting demand for the Venturer box. I have two of those here at HQ, and they work great. In fact, they are, despite lacking the program guide, superior in almost every respect to the Magnavoxes. I have two of those as well, the original TB100MW9 model, and while they're OK, the Venturer seems to have a more sensitive tuner.


News Roundup, Feb. 8-14

It's been another busy week here at JDTVB HQ, so here's the Roundup:

The Evansville market stations were all set to turn off their analog signals on the 17th, but WEHT decided to hold out. Thus, as things now stand, we'll still have to prop up the unprepared for four more months, because NOBODY's turning them off ... yet.

The broadcast networks are working toward eliminating their 4:3 standard-def feeds in favor of the 16:9 format. But thanks to the transition delay, those plans have been pushed back.

TVNewsday reported this week that the Fox-owned MNT network is going to move away from new original programming to mostly rerun fare. WWE wrestling won't change, despite the fact it's about as real as a jackalope.

Nearly three weeks after the ice storm, there are still around 2,000 Kenergy customers without power a…

It ain't MyTSN anymore

Since everyone else in the house has gone to bed, I have actually had some time to explore and enjoy the new HDTV.

In the process of that enjoyment, I noticed something new.

On channel 44.2, what was MyTSN is now "My44." I don't know when it happened, but sho'nuff, there it was.

At the top-of-the-hour ID, here's what you'll see:

Digital Channel 44.2

I may not have that exactly right, but as I recall, it is. Of course, most Tri-State viewers (at least those who are ready for the transition) will see MyNetworkTV on 44.2, so it does make sense.

However, despite the change in the "official" branding, my converter boxes and the new TV all still show "WTSN-LP" in their respective on-screen displays. I wonder if, as WFIE did with This TV, they'll change it ...

WEHT: FCC asks 100+ stations why they can't wait until June 12

Here is a story from WEHT about the FCC asking 100+ stations what their problem is with waiting until June 12 to cut off their analog signals.

My thought on this story being on WEHT's front page is this, in the form of a question to WEHT's management: "What's wrong with YOU switching on Feb. 17 as the other local stations (with the notable exception of WAZE) wanted to do?"

I don't expect an answer. At least not a straight one. If I didn't prefer Wayne Hart's weather coverage to Jeff Lyons, I'd probably have already switched from 25 to 14 for my news.

A new HDTV for the Mrs.

After almost a year of operating solely on "older" televisions with converter boxes, I've finally decided to grant one of my wife's many wishes and buy her a new HDTV.

We had one, a Sanyo 32" tube HDTV from Walmart, but it gave up about 2 years ago. It was big, bulky, and set me back $700+ for being an early adopter (I bought it in 2004).

The new set is a Dynex 32" flat panel LCD. It isn't the fanciest or most feature-laden, but after checking it out a couple of times at Best Buy and reading any number of reviews, I feel it will be the right TV for our needs.

Being under $400 (before tax) doesn't hurt, either.

The purchase will allow me to finally digitize the last analog TV we have operating, the one in our youngest kids' bedroom. In addition, all of the kids are getting "hand-me-down" sets; the oldest daughters are getting the RCA 27" which is being retired from the living room, and the little ones are getting the girls' GE 1…

A new blog from me

If you're interested in my take on things besides DTV, I've now set up a new blog here.

It's called "Life in the Bluegrass," and you'll find my wild ideas and general thoughts about all sorts of things over there.

Don't worry, though. JDTVB is staying here. I just figured I'd do this to keep things simple.

Good morning!

Here's hoping you don't lose power this morning due to the storms that are rolling in.

According to WEHT, there are still 11,500 Kenergy customers without power since the ice storm. I know they're getting frustrated, and I'm sure if I were in their situation, I'd probably be picketing Kenergy right now.

But that's just me.

I like this kid's style. So does President Obama.

You gotta love it when the President calls on you during a town hall meeting. I like the young man's style.

Courtesy of and special thanks to Jim Pence/Hillbilly Report

Checking in from Louisville!

Man, is this new computer handy! I'm currently sitting in the waiting room at the Spine Institute in Louisville, Ky., and checking all my stuff on Norton Hospital's GuestLink internet service. It IS sweet.

I only wish it wasn't raining today ...

In other news:

TVNewsday reports today that MyNetworkTV is moving to a primarily-rerun network. Oh, don't worry if you're a wrestling fan, though. It'll still be all-new.

To be honest, I'm not very familiar with MNT's original programming, aside from Jail. Anyone want to clue us all in on what we'll be missing???

UPDATE MID-AFTERNOON: I got absolutely NOWHERE with Dr. Dimar at the Spine Institute. He took all of about 15 seconds to review an x-ray and a 2-year-old MRI, then told me there is nothing that can surgically be done about my spinal condition. DUH! I KNEW that already! So we are, once again, back to square #1. He did suggest that I have myself tested for ankylosing spondylitis (which doesn'…

OK, so which is it?

The Evansville Courier & Press posted a storyon their website this afternoon which now says NONE of the Evansville stations are going to shut off their analog signals 8 days from now.

In brief, WEVV & WFIE management are blaming WEHT's management for holding out when all the other stations had agreed to go for it -- and as we all know, as the weakest (in signal) digital station in the market, WEHT has the most at stake here.

So why hold out?

EDIT:And in a late-breaking update from NashDigie, WNPT (PBS, Nashville) is holding out now, too. Someone elsewhere suggested PBS stations should hold out while commercial stations switch now, and it looks like some of them are doing just that.

WNIN staying with analog until June 12

Just a quickie for your Monday afternoon reading:

WNIN (PBS, 9) has announced that it's going to continue broadcasting in analog and digital until the new June 12 deadline. So far, that makes two stations (WEVV being the other) in the Evansville market which have decided how to proceed.

When the other stations publicize their decision, you'll read about it here.

Engineering the Transition

With the newly-minted delay in the transition, stations and the networks are working out the final details of just how they'll switch and, in the networks' case, when/if they'll be dropping their SD (4:3) feeds.

Broadcasting & Cable has a great article about the subject here. Take a few minutes, read it, and let me know what you think.

Also, I've made another change to the layout. Like it? Hate it? Let me know about that, too.

News Roundup, Feb. 1-7

What a busy week here at JDTVB!

We've been busy painting the living room here at HQ, and it's been a much slower process than I'd prefer. But it's getting there, so let's take a look back at the week that was:

WEVV (CBS, channel 44) is, to the best of my knowledge so far, the only Evansville-market station that will shut off its analog transmitter nine days from now.

However, NashDigie reports that the following Nashville stations that are going to do it as well:
WNPT (PBS, 8)WZTV (Fox, 17)WUXP (MyNetwork, 30)WNAB (CW, 58)The other stations are sticking with it until the new cutoff date of June 12, although we've not yet determined what WNPX (Ion, 28) and WPGD (TBN, 50) are going to do.

WFIE finally has something on 14-3 besides that stupid The Tube slide that had been there since October 2007. MGM/Weigel's This TV broke cover on Wednesday. So far, I like it. Lots of decent movies (and some real stinkers, but w…

An overdue "Thank You"

I'd like to take a moment to thank somebody whom I should have thanked long ago. This person has been perhaps the single greatest source of information on the Nashville TV market I've been able to get help from, and I'm very grateful.

That person is "NashDigie." Nash has kept me -- and all of us who read JDTVB's comments -- abreast of developments in Nashville. A tip of the Colts cap is in order.

Also, I'd like to give a "Thank You" shout-out to JGLEENN, who has been helping me out with issues closer to home. Together, we're going to solve the problems of WBKO reception in the northernmost reaches of its territory, I feel sure. I think we'll be a lot better at it than what 'BKO's own people have been thus far ...

Well, that's about it for this go-around. Keep a-readin' and I'll keep on a-postin'!

First post on the new computer!

JDTVB is back and better than ever with a new computer! I've got to get a picture of it beside its predecessor, but you would not believe just how tiny (!) this new one is. However, it is every bit as useful as the one before. I was worried about the keyboard. No need, it's fine.

I heard a lot of chatter before I got this one (it's an MSI Wind U100) that it was mainly just for web browsing, e-mail, and nothing else; it just wasn't going to be powerful enough to do three things at once. WRONG! So far, the Intel Atom processor, Windows XP Home and 2GB of RAM are handling multiple tasks even better than my old Core Duo-powered Acer. Got a damn good battery, too. Yeah, I got the 6-cell. Lasted about 4 hours last night doing all the hard work of downloading updates, installing software (I use Firefox, OpenOffice, etc.) and listening to music.

Here's a pic of the new one and the dead Acer (now a toy for my kids!) side by side, just so you can see how truly small a…

WAZE no longer has an Evansville office

Well, it looks like the picture at WAZE (CW 19, Madisonville, KY) just got a little bleaker.

The station's owner, Roberts Broadcasting, has closed the station's office in Evansville. The employees were handed their last paychecks and shown the door, including now-former general manager Greg Pittman. According to, the Evansville office largely handled commercial sales and production. reports that programming will now be handled out of Roberts' master control in the St. Louis area.

Cutting through the BS: This probably will mean that when WAZE is off the air, it'll take a lot longer than any of the other Evansville-market stations to get back on. If they get back on. I've not heard further word on their DTV construction efforts, which were certainly put off by the ice storm.


Here's just some random updates from the JDTVB files:

I've yet to be able to pick up 'BKO's digital signal on Channel 13, but a couple of my converter boxes have tried pretty hard.

NashDigie says the Nashville stations are gonna make the change on Feb. 17. Good for them. The larger market stations (say, markets bigger than Bowling Green) are more likely to be ready, I think. That seems to be the conventional wisdom.

There are still several thousand folks inside the Owensboro Municipal Utilities service area without power as I type this. More than 20,000 in the Kenergy (formerly Green River Electric Cooperative) area are without. Some entire communities are in the dark and cold -- and it's to be 5 degrees tonight. JDTVB HQ never went dark, but we did lose our internet connection for a brief while on 2 occasions. However, AT&T went above and beyond and restored it quickly. Given what many, many others have faced, I c…

February's Poll Questions: The Ice Storm Edition

OK, folks, here are this month's poll questions.

First off, regarding the ice storm:
What utilities did you lose during the ice storm?


Since Congress has now delayed the DTV transition until June:
What do you think about Congress' action to change the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12?

Let's see some answers!!!


If you would like to submit a monthly poll for JDTVB, e-mail me at Please keep 'em clean, keep 'em relevant, and by all means, if you can come up with a fun one, send it! I might just post it!!!

This TV now on 14-3, minus the audio

My wife noticed it before I did, but This TV has now made its appearance on WFIE 14-3. However, there's no audio!

Still, I'm watching The Kentuckian right now, and it's been YEARS since I've seen that. If you're unfamiliar, the movie was filmed largely in the Rockport, Indiana and Owensboro, Kentucky area, using much of the Lincoln Pioneer Village as the setting. Stars include Burt Lancaster and Walter Matthau.

Interesting back story on Matthau during filming: He was a well-known poker player, and my late grandfather, Max Bruggenschmidt, who was, at the time, an Indiana State Police trooper providing security for the filming, engaged Walter in a game, which, according to all sources, Walter lost. Badly.

WEVV pulling the plug on Feb. 17?

According to, WEVV plans to ditch its analog signal on Feb. 17 regardless of what Congress decides tomorrow.

That is, as long as whatever bill finally passes still allows stations to do that. At least one bill would force stations to maintain their analog signals until June, unless they've already transitioned.

Hopefully ComCorp, WEVV's owner, will stick to their guns and make the move. Their digital signal is one of the strongest in the market, so it won't be a problem for those of us who are ready, and most of us are in this area, from what I've been able to gather.

Your thoughts???

News Roundup, January 25-31

I'll keep it brief tonight. First of all, the ice storm leads off, and most of the Evansville-market stations lost power for some period of time. They've all come back now, though, as best I can see. WNIN was the last.

In other news, Congress is still deciding whether or not to push the DTV transition date back from Feb. 17 to June 12. I want 'em to leave it the hell alone. Of course, I usually don't get what I want, either. Look for it to change in the upcoming week. :-(

TBN got back to me on their digital plans for W38BK, their Evansville translator. They've applied, but they've got no firm plans to go digital anytime soon. :-( I've been able to get their Nashville signal a few times, and there's Christian programming for everyone in the family. Nothing wrong with that.

Finally (!), I will be getting my new computer this week, which means my days of pounding out JDTVB on the Compaqasaurus are -- mercifully -- numbered. I've settled on the M…