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Showing posts from June, 2009

Goodman out at WFIE

I'm not sure of the reasons behind it, but I've learned that WFIE sports anchor Chris Goodman was let go by the station yesterday.

Prior to his stint at Channel 14, Goodman served in a similar capacity at WEHT and began his broadcasting career right here in Owensboro, Ky., at WVJS radio.

Best wishes to Chris and his family.

Digital LPTV filing window opens Aug. 25 for rural stations

Rural low-power analog stations looking to make the jump from analog to digital will get a fresh chance to make their move beginning August 25, according to the FCC.

The filing period nationwide will commence on January 25, 2010.

Interesting to note: Low-power companion stations (where a station plans to stay analog, but operate a second, digital channel) can use now-vacant channels 52-59, but only if nothing is available in the "core" channels (2-51).

I'm sure we'll see if any of the Evansville-area low-po stations make the move, so stay tuned.

Source: WEHT to upgrade antenna in September

An anonymous source tells me that WEHT will be off the air for a week in September to replace their old analog antenna. Its replacement will be a new digital antenna that should, it's hoped, eliminate once and for all the signal issues that many viewers (your humble JDTVB-meister included) have been experiencing.

Our source tells JDTVB that crews will actually cut the top 30 feet off of the existing tower to make room for the new antenna. That should be interesting to see.

Stay tuned.

Billy Mays, pitchman, dead at 50

Unless you've had no contact with the outside world, you know that well-known TV pitchman Billy Mays, he of the Oxi-Clean, the Mighty Putty and the Dual Saw, has died.

He was 50, and preliminary autopsy results show that he died of a heart attack in his sleep.

Most TV stations pulled his ads yesterday, but I did see the Dual Saw infomercial on WTVW (I think; it was late and I wasn't really paying attention to what channel it was on)last night.

And today, Advertising Ageasks ... just what will happen with that treasure trove of commercials and infomercials Billy did?

Monroe leaving WTVW

The waterwheel on the rumor mill is a-churnin' in the Tri-State, so let's take a look at what's going on and we'll see if anything comes of these latest rumors:
Sources indicate that Fox 7 News anchor Jackie Monroe is indeed planning to jump ship at WTVW when her contract expires next month. No one's yet confirmed that she's heading for WFIE, but my sources continue to be pretty confident that this is the case.Monroe has a non-compete clause in her current contract. If she does go to WFIE, I'm hearing that she will indeed start work there in August, but she will be barred from appearing on-air for some time, maybe as long as a year.Contrary to earlier rumors, Monroe is NOT being hired to promote WFIE's 14newstube.com. I'm hearing talk that she'll help with the startup of -- surprise! -- a new 9 PM newscast on WFIE's digital weather channel, 14.2.And this isn't a rumor, just an update. I continue to hear from folks that WEHT's sign…

Don't shoot! I'm just a poor, old, defenseless TV!

When I was a kid, my dad told me a story about the late, great Elvis Presley shooting out a television set. I can't remember why the King did that, but apparently some folks in Utah have been whipping out their .38-calibers (or whatever) and using their old analog sets for target practice.

Now state officials are asking folks to refrain from doing that particular Elvis impersonation.

Why? Older TVs are just loaded, frankly, with toxic materials. Supposedly it costs $7,000 (!) to clean up a set that's been through the ol' shootin' gallery.

Heck, for that kind of dough, you could recycle the old TV and buy all of your neighbors new LCD sets for every room in their houses.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: Wimbledon preempts "Midday with Mike" on WFIE

Just caught this tweet from WFIE (14.1, NBC) ND C.J. Hoyt:
By the way... no Midday with Mike this week due to our coverage of Wimbeldon.I think it's safe to assume that all normal NBC daytime programming will be preempted by Wimbledon on all of the region's NBC stations.

Picking up a Nebraska station in Tennessee?

It's not as far-fetched as it sounds, because evidently, our Nashville correspondent, NashDigie, was able to do just that. I'll let Nash tell the story:
Well, I can't believe this, but I happen to have received KNOP-DT RF channel 2 from North Platte, NE!!!! Just the sad thing is, is that I didn't happen to see it. I just left my set top box on RF channel 2, just for that reason, and checked it last night, and saw the call letters. I have taken a picture of the call letters. I will try and post the info and picture on my site later this week. This was my first Eskip DTV channel!!!!
I haven't managed to pick up a station from that far away, but I have been able to pull 'em in from as far west as St. Louis a few times. I suppose I have some catching up to do ... ;-)

My 350th Post: Introducing the JDTVB WIRE

Until recently, I used to post a weekly News Roundup, looking back at the items I'd covered, so you, the readers, could see at a glance what was going on.

That became rather tedious -- especially when there were 3, 4 or more things going on each day -- so I dropped it.

But I have found that it might be handy to have a way to show you each week's posts in one place.

So, without further ado, welcome to JDTVB's new WIRE -- the WeekInReviewEdition -- a collection of links to each day's posts. I'll post each week's WIRE on Sunday. All you'll have to do is click on each link to read that particular post.

Let me know what you think!

MONDAY, JUNE 22
WKRP (NOT) in CincinnatiThe problem may not be with your equipment ...TUESDAY, JUNE 23
UPDATED: DisgustedEd McMahon, 1923-2009WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24
Still getting analog?DTV-readiness improves in the 12 days post-transitionTHURSDAY, JUNE 25
Michael Jackson, 1958-2009Farrah Fawcett dead at 62YOU WRITE, I RESPOND #4FRIDAY, JUNE 26
A …

WJFB joins the list of stations I've pulled in

Reeled in another "first-time-for-me" station on the ol' DTV converter box early this AM; it's Nashville's Jewelry TV station, WJFB (66.1). It didn't hang around long, but that's OK. I'm not big on jewelry, and what I do buy -- for my lovely wife, of course -- typically comes from a jeweler I've known for many years.

Interestingly, I was actually editing the channels in the box's memory when what had been WRSP yesterday suddenly transformed into WJFB. Both broadcast on RF channel 44, which explains the swap.

NOT TV RELATED: Do you own a '72 Camaro?

Then "Papa John" might want to talk to you.

You see, "Papa" John Schnatter, the founder of the Papa John's Pizza chain, is looking for the 1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 that he sold in 1984 to open the first of his stores. Papa John's is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and Schnatter would love to find that car.

And he's willing to pony up $250,000 to get it back -- even if it's just a piece of the car.

Schnatter is on a cross-country tour in a replica of the original car in celebration of the chain's anniversary, and Louisville NBC station WAVE reports that he's gotten several leads on the car's whereabouts, but so far, no car.

I have a feeling that the $250,000 reward might help.

UPDATED: Another new one

I managed to pick up another new channel early this morning. WRSP (55.1, Fox) out of Springfield, Illinois, made a brief appearance on my bedroom TV screen.

WRSP brands itself as "Fox 55/27 Illinois," as it has a translator/sister station, WCCU (27.1) over in Urbana/Champaign, which covers the easternmost portion of the viewing area. I have not, as yet, been able to lock onto WCCU.

It was a good night/morning for getting DTV signals from that general "neck o' the woods," as I was also getting strong signals from Eastern Illinois University's WEIU (51.1/.2/.6, PBS/MHz/HitMix, Charleston, Ill.) and WFXW (38.1, Fox, Terre Haute, Ind.), both of which seemingly have become overnight "regulars" here at JDTVB HQ.

A must-read

I love Harry Jessell. I don't know him. But I still love him.

And whether you agree with him or not, his "Jessell At Large" columns at TVNewsday at the very least make you think. And today's column is no different.

Read it here: "VHF: Now Everything You Know Is Wrong."

The FCC is gonna have some serious work to do. There are about 500 stations (including Evansville's WEHT and WNIN, Bowling Green's WBKO, Louisville's WHAS, and Nashville's WSMV and WTVF, just to name a few) that will likely want some answers on fixing VHF issues both present and forthcoming.

Poll update

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The voter turnout in what I'm now calling the "DTV Satisfaction Polls" continues to amaze me. And I'm humbled by your participation. Once again, thank you.

So let's get to the numbers.

Both polls now have had 41 responses, and they break down as follows:

When it comes to the number of channels you receive:
56% of you (23/41) now receive fewer channels.29% of you (12/41) receive more channels.12% of you (5/41) are getting the same number of channels.2% of you (1/41) aren't sure.
When it comes to your overall satisfaction with DTV:
68% of you (28/41) are NOT satisfied.24% of you (10/41) ARE satisfied.7% of you (3/41) couldn't decide.If you haven't yet voted, you have until the end of July. Be sure to make your voice heard. When the polls close and the final numbers are tabulated, I plan to submit them to the local stations in Evansville, Louisville, Bowling Green and Nashville, as well as to the FCC. If the numbers are substantial -- and I believe they w…

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

Bad things happen in threes.

This afternoon, the news is that the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, is dead at 50.

That makes three well-known entertainment personalities who've passed this week.

My hope is that, for his part, the Gloved One finds the kind of peace in the hereafter that he couldn't seem to find in life.

Farrah Fawcett dead at 62

This has been a bad week for iconic celebrities passing away. First it waslongtime Tonight Show announcer Ed McMahon, and now it's Farrah Fawcett.

The Charlie's Angels star has succumbed following a long, hard-fought battle against anal cancer that had spread to her liver and, as I recall, other organs as well. She was 62, and will be greatly missed.

To read more on Farrah Fawcett's death, see WAVE 3 for this report.

YOU WRITE, I RESPOND #4

Before we dig into the most recent stack o' mail (or, in this case, comments and emails), let me just say "THANK YOU!" to everyone who is letting us know what's going on in the television universe where you live. It's great to have all of you on board!

So, on that note, let's get this party started:
Regarding analogs still on in the Nashville area, Anonymous writes:
"There are a few analogs left in Nashville, the WNPX-LP 20 ION, WIIW-LP Daystar (currently showing "no signal"), WETV-CA in Murfreesboro, WKRP ch 6 and 19 in Alexandria, and a couple of low power shopping channels. A Spanish language LP also, forget the call."Interesting. I didn't realize Ion was still analog down there. Must be in a portion of the area where their digital signal can't reach?
Regarding WEHT's signal problems, a different Anonymous writes:
I believe WEHT is getting ready to work on the new antenna because they were off the air last Saturday morning for…

Still getting analog?

I am still getting a very few analog stations, all low-power, and most of which I don't watch, because we get them only on one television, the one in our living room.

Here's my list:
WAZE-LP (17, CW): I only watch St. Louis Cardinals games, and then only until the snowy picture gives me a headache.W23BV (23, 3ABN): We're still waiting for the repairs on their digital transmitter. And the analog isn't watchable here in Owensboro because of audio interference.W38BK (38, TBN): I sometimes watch this, but not too often.WYYW-LP (41, A1): Not really into funny "furrin'" sports, and the programs I'd like to watch come on at the same time my kids want to watch THEIR shows.WEVV (44, nightlight): I understand that the nightlight service goes off sometime tomorrow. Then it's "sayonara" for WEVV analog ... forever.

UPDATED: Disgusted

That word -- disgusted -- describes me right now. Actually, p****d off might be better, but this is a family blog.

I'm sitting here typing this after spending nearly TWO HOURS fiddling with antennas, trying with only minimal success to get a watchable picture on WEHT (25.1 ABC/25.2 RTV).

Until late yesterday afternoon, the only time I had any difficulty getting the station at all was when storms were in the area. And for much of today, it was fine. But now, I have a picture I can tolerate watching on JUST ONE TELEVISION, the living room set.

I'm certainly hopeful that this won't be this way from now on. I hope that they get their new tower-top antenna up quickly, and that it takes care of these issues once and for all. I really don't want to buy an antenna, having put so much effort into building the ones I have.

Oh, and for comparison's sake, I have no problems with WNIN, just two channels up the "dial." None. At. All.

UPDATE 10:05 PM: Things got bac…

Ed McMahon, 1923-2009

It's with great sadness that I report the passing of Johnny Carson's longtime Tonight Show sidekick, Ed McMahon.

He was 86.

McMahon, who intoned the famous words, "Heeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" for nearly 30 years, had been suffering from numerous ailments in recent months.

We'll miss you, Ed. God bless.

WKRP (NOT) in Cincinnati

Looks like our friends in the Nashville area are finally getting RTV.

Low-power station WKRP-LD (channels 6.1-6.4) is evidently on-air, broadcasting Daystar, RTV, and other programming. I'm working to get more details and will post them as soon as I have 'em.

Oh, and if those call letters seem familiar to those of us of a certain age, they are. Remember WKRP in Cincinnati? Kids: Just Google it.

The problem may not be with your equipment ...

The issues with stations assigned to VHF frequencies continue, not surprisingly.

But at least the FCC is moving quickly to help resolve the issues, which, as far as I can tell, is some sort of first.

Boston's WHDH -- which switched from channel 42 to channel 7 -- managed to get an STA within 24 hours (!) to turn channel 42 back on temporarily.

And that's not all. As I said last week, the Commission has deployed (in some cases redeployed) personnel to cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.

If you are among the viewers I've talked to or gotten comments from who are having issues with WEHT, WTVF or other VHF digital stations, you need to read this article. Pay particular attention to the comments, and this statement from WHDH's engineering director, which I found interesting, because it parallels what I heard the other day about WEHT:
“Most of the viewer complaints have been within 10 to 12 miles [of the transmitter],” says WHDH's (Jim) Shultis. “It's like…

Nashville TBN station back on the air

NashDigie reports that Nashville's TBN O&O station WPGD (50.1-50.5) has finally vacated its pre-transition digital channel, 51, and moved to its new spot on the dial -- channel 33 -- that was once held by Bowling Green ABC/Fox/CW affiliate WBKO:
"[I]t is back on the air on its new channel (33). I found it out through the local thread on AVS Forum. I turned over there to see for myself and there it was. So their transition is now finally completed."That's great news, Nash. Thanks for the update, as always!

Something you can try ...

While many stations across the country stayed in the UHF band when the switch to DTV was finalized last week, certain stations moved -- or stayed -- on the VHF band (channels 2-13).

In the Evansville market, WEHT moved from 59 to 7, while WNIN moved from 12 to 9.

I personally have little trouble -- actually, none at all -- from WNIN, but WEHT's signal does fluctuate enough during poor weather that the audio and video become intermittently degraded.

But there is something out there you and I can at least try to use to combat poor high-band (channels 7-13) VHF signals, and it's not terribly expensive.

I have to first thank Trip over at RabbitEars.info for suggesting this some time ago; I didn't buy one then, but I'm planning to now.

It's a VHF antenna, the AntennaCraft Y5-7-13, and it is compact enough that you should be able to mount it in your attic, or if you choose, it can, of course, be mounted outdoors.

SolidSignal.com sells this antenna for $22.99 (plus $7.95 shippi…

Interesting read: "Hot Time for Digital Channels"

Check the article out here.

A few high points:
Weather-themed channel going live at WBNS in Columbus, Ohio: Like WHAS-11's new digital weather channel, it's a partnership with AccuWeather.
RTV name change: Neal Ardman of RTV (formerly RTN) says the name change was done because RTV sounds like DTV. OK, whatever. It is simple to remember. That's good.RTV's most popular show: Not entirely surprised by this. It's the 1972-77 paramedic drama Emergency! (It airs at 3PM CT Mon-Fri on WEHT 25.2.)Can you tell me what's on? Ardman says he's gotten 11,000 (!) emails in the past week from new viewers just discovering the classic TV channel. Most want a program schedule.

It seems we've struck a nerve ...

Image
The latest polls have already gotten a huge response, and for that, I thank you.

It does seem that most of you are disenchanted -- using as clean a word as I can find here -- with the DTV transition.

And it's no wonder.

As of this writing, fully 62% of you -- 15 out of 24 voters in all -- are receiving fewer digital channels now than you did before June 12. And even if you're not getting fewer channels, 73% -- 17 out of 23 -- of you aren't happy.

And we've still got 42 days to go before the poll closes on July 31.

Ouch.

So ... if I may ask: Let's find out the reasons behind your votes. Leave a comment and tell me why you aren't happy. Hopefully I'll be able to take your dissatisfaction and get you some satisfaction as a DTV viewer. I want to help in any way I can.

A slow news day at the NY Post? Sure seems that way ...

... for them to post a story about NBC News moving "less attractive, heavier staffers" out of the newsroom during Wednesday night's broadcast of the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, replacing them with "younger, thinner members of the staff to act as extras."

Why?

Evidently the Post seems to want people to know that NBC's newsroom isn't populated by more attractive people than other newsrooms.

MY TWO CENTS: I don't give a damn. Just give me the news; I don't care if you hire Quasimodo or the Elephant Man to track it down.

UPDATED: Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite said to be "gravely ill"

UPDATED 4:00 PM -- in red, below.

MediaBistro's TVNewser - and TVNewsday - each report that former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, who is 92, is "gravely ill." This was -- according to TVN --confirmed by several CBS sources who did not want to be named, but now Cronkite's executive assistant, Cynthia Dicrocco, denies that the former anchorman's condition is that bad, saying yesterday's posts "grossly exaggerated" the actuality that Cronkite is 92 and simply isn't as well as he once was.

Dicrocco toldboston.com's The Names Blogthat Cronkite is merely "dealing with the challenges of being a 92-year-old man," and while he has been in ill health recently, he is recuperating at his New York home with his companion, Joanna Simon (singer Carly Simon's sister).

Cronkite, who anchored the news from 1962 to 1981, is still one of America's most respected citizens, not just in his profession, and we wish him well.

Not much going on ...

... but I thought I'd check in.

Is there anything on your minds? Any burning questions you're just DYING to get answers to? I'm here. Just shoot me a comment, tweet me or send me an email.

Have a great night!

Has WKRN raised power?

I'm not sure, but it sure seems that way.

NashDigie says the folks at WKRN, Nashville's ABC affiliate (2.1/2.2 weather), tell him the upgrade will happen within a week to 10 days, but I am DEFINITELY getting a much-improved signal as of 12:15 AM this morning (tonight?). And the signal is strong and unwavering, unlike what I've experienced in the past.

So I guess we'll have to see what's up.

As a side note, I'm also getting good signals on WZTV (17.1, Fox) and WUXP (30.1, MNTV), but that's not unusual.

Having problems getting WFIE? Let 'em know!

Just wanted to pass the word along that if any of you in the Evansville viewing area are having difficulty picking up WFIE (14.1 through 14.3), their news director, C.J. Hoyt, wants to help you out. You can e-mail him at cjhoyt@14wfie.com.

Thanks, C.J.!

YOU WRITE, I RESPOND: Still More Letters to the Editor

I haven't gotten so many comments here @ JDTVB as I have this past week. Hopefully this is a good sign. Here are some more questions you've asked and/or comments from you:
Anonymous writes: How will the lack of coverage affect WEHT's ratings????? Don't you think they're concerned about their reach?I'm sure it's something they're concerned about, and they're working on it. All stations depend on ratings, naturally. And once the new antenna is up, I think it'll be a non-issue.

Something to remember with regard to signal strength: VHF signals travel farther on less power -- and are steadier over difficult terrain -- than UHF signals. That's the important thing to know. Also, WEHT is not the only station putting up a new antenna; they have to wait their turn as there are only so many companies which do that type of work.
Daniel writes: Hey man, thanks for the info. You're providing answers I can't get from the stations, especiall…

You're not alone!

Judging from the early voting in the post-transition polls, it would seem that many of you aren't really happy with the move to digital TV.

And you're not alone.

In fact, the FCC has heard enough complaints from viewers in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia that they're shuffling employees to those cities solely to deal with the signal issues that have been discovered.

It certainly appears that while many markets around the country have managed to make the switch without problems, others -- particularly in the largest cities -- are going to be faced with problems that somehow slipped under the radar, although there certainly were warnings that such issues could rear their ugly heads.

Hopefully, the folks at the FCC will be able to move quickly and allow for adjustments for stations which need them. Otherwise, what could be a minor glitch could turn into a major fiasco.

POST-TRANSITION POLLS: Your Thoughts & Experiences

I've finally gotten around to putting up my post-transition polls, which are located to the right of your screen. Check 'em out and vote:

QUESTION 1:
Since June 12, do you receive more or fewer digital channels than you did before analog went away?

QUESTION 2:
Now that the transition is over, are you satisfied with DTV?

The poll questions will be up until July 31, so you have time to make up your mind.

Storms play some havoc with our signals

I'm relatively sure it's just a minor thing, but during the thunderstorm which rolled through Owensboro earlier today, our DTV signals were disrupted (pixelated video, audio cutouts) on several channels:
WTVWWEHTWKOH (KET)Readjusting the antennas didn't do anything to help, so I figure it's just something we'll have to live with (at least temporarily in the case of WEHT, where the final transmitter antenna isn't yet in place).

Fortunately, we don't often have storms with quite as much lightning as we experienced today ...

NASHVILLE UPDATE: NashDigie checks in with news from WKRN and WSMV

Our Nashville Correspondent, NashDigie, checked in this evening to give us the following information about the ABC and NBC affiliates there gathered from recent email contact. Here's what Nash found out:

WKRN (2)
WKRN's reply said that they are not at 1000kW now, but will be in a week to 10 days.

WSMV (4)
WSMV's reply said that they are not at 60kW, and they don't know when they will be. Also, they said due to contractual problems, that 4.3 has fallen through.

My take
Hopefully, the power increase at WKRN will help out with viewers who aren't yet able to receive the station's signal -- or those who might have a signal, but not a good one. I'm occasionally able to pick up WKRN at their current power level, so an increase might help me make that a little more than just "occasional."

As for WSMV, I'm not sure what to make of that. Hopefully they'll be able to increase their power soon. And it's a shame that they're not able to do anythin…

The transition: Camper's nightmare?

If, like my family, you enjoy camping, this post is for you.

We camp in a large tent and -- at least so far -- haven't taken a television with us, but other campers who prefer the comforts of an RV, travel trailer or pop-up camper are facing issues with the DTV transition.

RVs typically have televisions built in, while travel trailers and pop-ups either have places to put a small TV or their owners take TVs along to keep tabs on weather, news, etc. Some folks have found that putting in converter boxes -- especially in a built-in situation -- is difficult to impossible. Others have just found it to be a hassle in the manner of having to deal with one more thing to drag along.

My wife's 82-year-old grandmother, who is still an avid camper, didn't have too much difficulty setting up a box in her rig, so I'm thinking it's more often than not a matter of "do I really want to do this?"

If you camp, how have you dealt with the transition? Let us know.

Things that are making me go "Hmmm ..."

I've spent considerable time reading the publicly-available portions of the applications that WEHT has submitted to the FCC of late, paying particular attention to the effective radiated power.

As most of you know, the most recent approval was to broadcast over channel 7 from a side-mounted antenna with an ERP of 8.73 kW. That's much better than the original plan, which called for a measly 2.6 kW, but not as good as the 12.5 kW stick we heard some things about a while back.

And, if all you read is the info -- often outdated -- that you'd get from an FCC query, you'd likely think that the 8.73 kW side-saddle stick seems to be all they've got authorization for on Marywood Drive.

But you'd be wrong.

You see, 'way on up at the tippy-top of the 988-foot-tall tower at the WEHT studios resides the old analog antenna, which still has to be replaced, and the station indeed holds a construction permit for that very purpose, and the engineering statement available here

YOU WRITE, I RESPOND: More Letters to the Editor

Anonymous writes: I no longer receive WEHT and channel 31. They were available periodically before the switch with my converter box. Will this be fixed?I'm not sure. Reception of digital will vary depending on where you live in relation to the transmitters, terrain and other things. Have you tried repositioning your antenna? Is your antenna inside or outside? These are all things to consider; you may well require an outdoor antenna if you don't already have one; or you could try building your own if you haven't yet done so. My homemade antennas are doing just fine, much to my personal delight.
Anonymous writes, with regard to WTVW's late shutoff of analog: It's actually a Nexstar thing. They requested the late turn off time groupwide because of some technical issues at some of their stations.Thanks for the clarification on that. From my point of view, Nexstar is a third-rate company with a lot of problems that they only keep compounding by taking over more …

700,000 call FCC DTV transition hotline

The FCC is reporting that 700,000 people have called the Commission's dedicated DTV transition hotline in the past two days.

Some 30% of those callers -- about 210,000 by my math -- simply didn't know how to operate their converter boxes. Most of those folks found solace and solutions once they were done talking to those manning the phones.

The rest didn't really know what to do, which is shocking, given the sheer amount of publicity the transition has gotten in the past few months.

So ... now what?

When I started JDTVB back in August, I never really thought it would turn into what it has become. I figured I'd post my own observations of the then-forthcoming -- and now completed -- transition, and that'd be it.

Little did I know I'd have so much fun with it.

And I have had fun. In fact, I've enjoyed doing this blog more than anything I've done since I left the newspaper biz back in 2002.

So ... if you're wondering whether or not JDTVB is still going to be around now that "the party's over," the answer is YES.

Because the party's really only just begun. I think we're on the cusp of some really big things in the Evansville market. And by that, we've potentially got a new "Indiana Channel" coming from Indiana's PBS stations, including WNIN. WTSN has come alive with its new America One affiliation and, through said affiliation, airs sporting events most of us aren't familiar with. That's kind of exciting.

And I&…

Transition: Complete!

WTVW shut off their analog signal shortly before midnight, and WEHT followed at 11:59 on the dot; no notices, just snow, but that's OK, only WFIE went with a sign-off message.

WEHT's signal immediately switched to channel 7, and I have a very good signal on the bedroom TV here at JDTVB HQ. Still need to rescan four other TVs, but I'm sure I'll find the same result on those.

This completes the transition in the Evansville market. Kudos to all the engineering staffs at the local stations for making the move smooth and easy!

If you have information on the switch elsewhere, please let us know. We want to share!

Another question ... can't answer this one

Anonymous asks tonight if WEHT's RTV subchannel will ever have a presence on DirecTV.

I don't know. My feeling is that eventually, if the bandwidth is there, possibly. However, it took a LONG time for our area of the country just to get the main local channels, which is why I dumped DirecTV when I did eight years ago.

In short, I would not hold my breath. An inexpensive antenna and a converter box (if you need one) would probably be an easier solution.

WNIN 9.2 to become part of statewide network?

I'm hearing talk today of the possibility -- and it's just that now, talk -- that WNIN's 9.2 subchannel could become part of a statewide "Indiana Channel" featuring programming from all of Indiana's PBS stations.

This sounds interesting to me, much more so than the oh-so-BORRRRRRINGGGGGmeetings I'm told will only be shown on 9.2 on Fridays. I'm hoping that's the case.

We're about an hour and a half from the end of analog operations at WEHT and WTVW as I type this. More to come ... stay tuned!

RTV getting some new shows ... now, will we get them here?

TVNewsday is reporting today that RTV has picked up some new old shows. Good ones, too; here's the list:
I SpyPeter GunnThe RiflemanThe Cisco KidNo word yet on where in the lineup these new shows will end up, or if Evansville RTV affiliate WEHT 25.2 will get them (RTV allows affiliates to customize their schedules), but I'm hoping so, especially for I Spy. I LOVE I Spy.

The switching continues ...

UPDATED 2:05 PM -- Updates in red boldface below:

WEVV switched according to plan ... and reader jtkohlm informs me that WAZE's website is now gone.

WEVV and WFIE report low call numbers (4 for WEVV, around 200 for WFIE) regarding the switch. WEVV's Tim Black tweeted that two callers complained that some of the DTV on WEVV's "nightlight" service was being broadcast in Spanish ...

We're still several hours out from WTVW and WEHT's shutoff; if WEHT's signal is as good as WNIN's is, I don't anticipate any problems.

WNIN's signal is good, no problems there, but I am disappointed in the new "WNIN Local" channel 9.2. I doubt many outside of Evansville will care about the Vanderburgh County and Evansville city meetings. Maybe I'm wrong. But probably not.

I apologize, but I missed WEVV's shutoff. If anyone saw it and could describe what happened -- or, even better, got video -- I'd love to see it and post it if possible.

More …

Changes I've noticed within the transition ...

Here are a few things I've noticed with the coming of D(TV)-Day:
When WNIN goes back on-air in the morning, the regular PBS schedule will air on 9.1. Channel 9.2 will change to locally-produced programming, featuring -- yawn! -- such memorable local events as the Vanderburgh County Commissioners' meetings. Wowzers ...
RTN has officially become RTV; I caught a few moments of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and there's now a multicolored RTV logo "bug" in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.I'm sure there will be other things I'll notice later today once I wake up from a much-needed sleep. Be sure to check back, because as I see 'em, I'll post 'em.

R.I.P., WNIN & WFIE analog operations

WNIN was the first Evansville station to terminate analog operations, doing it without any mention at all right at midnight -- not unusual, that's how they've gone off-air for some time -- of it being the final sign-off for analog channel 9. They just hit the switch at the end of a member benefit message.

WFIE, for its part, went about a minute and a half later, turning channel 14 off after the old sign-off message I haven't seen in some time, including The Star-Spangled Banner. Nice touch.

Next up will be WEVV. But that's not until 9 AM, so I'm going to bed now.

The switching begins ... in about 30 minutes!

In about half an hour, WFIE and WNIN will cease analog broadcasting. Digital broadcasts will resume on WNIN at 6:00 AM; WFIE's will not be interrupted.

WEVV will, as we've stated earlier, go at 9:00 in the morning.

WEHT, we now know, will be forced to wait for WTVW to vacate channel 7, and WTVW refuses to switch off their analog before 11:59 PM TOMORROW night.

That's pretty damned rude, if you ask me. WTVW doesn't own the channel, and to hold it hostage for another 24 hours is inexcusable.

We're just a little more than 12 hours out!

Are you ready?

At midnight tonight, the first Evansville stations to bid adieu to analog programming will make their move.

To put a little historical perspective on the transition, let's look at just how long the full-power Evansville market stations have been on the air in analog, shall we?
WEHT and WFIE have been broadcasting since 1953.WTVW first went on-air in 1956.WKMA was KET's first transmitter in this area in 1968.
WNIN was born in 1969.WKOH joined WKMA in serving the area's KET viewers in 1979.WAZE's predecessor, WLCN, took to the airwaves in 1982.WEVV, the "new kid on the block," dates back to 1983.I'm old enough to remember when WEVV first went on the air as an independent station. My dad and I were among the first Tri-State Fox viewers when WEVV picked up the Fox affiliation in 1987 ... and yes, we loved Married ... with Children!

Then came 1995 and the Great Network Affiliation Switch. I was a senior in high school, and I well remember the const…

RTV entering larger markets

It's taken a while, but viewers in the country's largest television markets are now either able to watch or soon will be able to watch the classic TV shows of the Retro Television Network, RTV.

Multicultural Broadcasting has inked deals with RTV to put the network on its stations in Boston (WMFP), New York (WSAH) and Los Angeles (KHIZ). WMFP put RTV on-air three weeks ago, according to this article in TVNewsday; KHIZ will be next, debuting the programming tomorrow, while WSAH will wait to go live with RTV until July 1.

The deals will give RTV clearance in fully 80% of television homes across the country. Not too bad for a network that's only been on the air for four years, especially when you consider that just after the flip of the calendar to 2009, there were doubts that the network would even be around now once Equity pulled the plug on RTV's owner, Henry Luken.

But quick work on Luken's part revived RTV in short order, as we know.

RTV is seen in the Evansville ma…

More on the Evansville shutoff situation

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This post will be updated.

Evansville will have an analog "nightlight" station, at least through June 25, I've learned this afternoon.

WEVV (44), which is switching off its analog programming at 9:00 AM on Friday, will keep the analog signal on-air with pertinent, DTV-specific information through the 25th.

Here's a little more info on what the other stations will do, courtesy of WFIE General Manager Debbie Bush and News Director C.J. Hoyt:

WNIN (9) and WFIE (14)
Both of these stations will shut off their analog signals permanently at midnight tomorrow night (technically Friday). WFIE's digital signal on channel 46 will, naturally, remain on; WNIN will be off-air until 6:00 AM on Friday morning as usual, but when their digital signal takes to the air once more, it will be on channel 9, not 12.

WEHT (25)As reported in an earlier post, WEHT had intended to switch off their analog signal at midnight along with WNIN and WFIE, and that may still be the case. However, WEHT&…

A few notes ...

Here are some interesting tidbits floating around the interwebs today. Let me know what you think:
LETTERMAN OVERTAKES CONAN: The Tonight Show's ratings have been tanking since Conan's takeover, and for the first time, The Late Show with David Letterman passed him last night. Way to go, Dave! (Memo to the Indiana Department of Transportation: Could we FINALLY get I-465 named for Dave already?)MEET THE PRESS FOR RETIREES? Apparently so. NBC and Retirement Living TV have reached a retrans agreement where RLTV will rebroadcast the Sunday morning political gabfest on Monday evenings.That's about it for now. More coming up shortly on the analog shutoffs here in the Evansville market. I've got some new information to post, but I'm working a couple of angles and don't want to post until I'm sure of a few things.

I missed noting my 300th post? Wow, I guess I'm getting laz...

My earlier post on NEWS25's new newscast was, unbeknownst to me, my 300th post here at JDTVB. Normally I'd make a big fuss over that, but hey, sometimes I miss these things.

So ... happy 300 to me!

Coming tonight: News25 at 9:00

Beginning tonight, WTVW will no longer have the only 9:00 newscast in the Evansville market.

WEHT (NEWS25) is debuting their new 9 PM newscast on RTN TV25 (25.2); anchored by Brad Byrd and Jennifer Cahill, the newscast will open with nine minutes of local news, and will also feature a full weathercast with chief meteorologist Wayne Hart, and sports with sports director Lance Wilkerson.

Seinfeld reruns will air in the 9:30-10:00 timeslot immediately following News25 at 9.

I've also been told that WEHT will also change RTN TV25's branding on Friday to follow RTN's name change to RTV. It will be known as RTV 25.

The Latest from Nashville: WSMV changes cutoff, adds subchannel

Thanks to Nashville Correspondent NashDigie for this report!

Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV (4) has made some changes of late, and Nash reports that instead of the previously-published analog cutoff time, that too has changed, in this case to an evening slot. So be on the lookout for that.

In addition, WSMV has debuted a new subchannel, 4.3, which Nash reports is presently an SD feed of the station's regular programming seen in HD on 4.1. If/when that changes to something else, we'll be sure to let you know.

YOU WRITE, I RESPOND: Letters to the Editor

Lately, some of you have been kind enough to leave comments or ask questions about topics I've covered here at JDTVB. So, in an effort to make this more interactive, let's take a few of the comments and I'll respond as best I can.

My answers are in bold, italicized print.
Anonymous writes: Rumors on the street are that Jackie Monroe might be leaving WTVW for WFIE. She might be promoting the new 14newstube website. Have you heard anything about this?I've not heard anything about Jackie Monroe leaving Fox 7. Of course, anything can and does happen in broadcasting, so I guess it's possible. I'll look into it and if there's any substance to the rumor, I'll be sure to post it.
Jim M. writes: I was wondering how WEHT in Evansville will be able to switch to full digital broadcasting at 12:01 AM on Friday (June 12) when WTVW will not be shutting down their analog signal until 11:59 PM, because both signals operate on channel 7 ??? I understand this is why WE…

I'm really enjoying this ...

Some folks -- including an FCC commissioner -- have noted that their digital reception deteriorated when the leaves came out on their trees.

I'm not having that problem.

In fact, as the weather warms up, my reception actually improves. Last night, for example, I was able to pull in not only my Evansville stations, but the following out-of-market channels as well:

From Bowling Green:
WBKO (13.1 through 13.3)WKGB (53.1 through 53.4)
From Nashville:
WTVF (5.1)
WZTV (17.1)
WUXP (30.1)
From Olney, Ill.:
WUSI (16.1 through 16.4)From Terre Haute, Ind.:
WFXW (38.1)Most of these disappear the moment the weather starts getting cold again. I can't explain the phenomenon, and really don't want to. I just know it is what it is.

REPENT (and buy a converter)! THE LAST DAYS (of analog) ARE AT HAND!

OK, so maybe the last few days before the transition don't require headlines in "Second Coming" sized type, but the closer we get to the end of analog, the more interesting articles I read about how some people just can't seem to get on the stick, how it's going to be a mess, etc. etc.

What I'm getting at, when you take this whole thing down to brass tacks, is that the big, bad transition is actually a very simple operation from a viewer's standpoint.

I mean, honestly, for under $100, I converted every TV we had as soon as boxes became available last year, and even after building my own antennas (which was actually quite fun), it wasn't a deal breaker. And you can do it, too. I promise.

Sure, we did go out this spring and buy an LCD HDTV for the living room (it cost just under $400), but you don't have to go that far unless you really, really want to. A converter box on an old favorite TV -- such as what I have in our bedroom, a 10-year-old Sony w…

WFIE is up to something ...

Thanks to WFIE News Director C.J. Hoyt for tweeting this!

UPDATED Monday, June 8, 2009 at 1:03 PM -- UPDATE is in RED.

... check out 14newstube.com. Right now, there's a countdown clock ticking down to the site's debut in a little over 8 days, but whatever this is, I'm sure it'll be interesting.

WFIE News Director C.J. Hoyt tweeted this morning that 14newstube.com will be, simply speaking, the Tri-State's own YouTube, and will allow users to become a part of the station.

WTVF takes Nashville's "Best Website" award

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The final runoff vote has been tallied, and the end result of the contest between WTVF and WZTV for Best Website in the Nashville market is ...

WTVF NewsChannel 5!

There were three votes cast, and WTVF received two votes. WZTV received one vote.

Congratulations to the winner!

IN OTHER POLL NEWS: The June/July poll will be posted after the transition next Friday, and will have questions regarding your satisfaction with your post-transition digital reception and the number of stations you receive regularly.

Nashville switch schedule and other notes

Thanks to Nashville Correspondent NashDigie for this information!

We now have the timeframe for the full-power Nashville stations' switch from analog to digital next Friday. Here you go:
2 - WKRN ABC - June 12 @ 11:59pm
4 - WSMV NBC - June 12 @ 12:01am
5 - WTVF CBS - June 12 @ 12:01am
8 - WNPT PBS - June 12 @ 12:01am
28 - WNPX ION - June 12 @ 12:01amAlso, following the switch, it will be necessary for Nashville viewers to rescan for WTVF and WNPT, as those stations are moving from their UHF channel assignments to their old, analog channel locations.

Viewers of the following stations will see a change in power after the switch:
WKRN will increase to 1000 kW.WSMV will increase to 60 kW.WJFB (66/44, Jewelry TV) will decrease (!) from 1000 kW to 750 kW, but their new transmitter is to be located closer to Nashville proper.

What the!? RTN is now RTV?

This post was updated at 11:35 PM, Thursday, June 4, 2009.

According to the network's website, . I actually first saw the new name in a TVNewsday story today about a New York City station picking up the popular retro TV network's programming.

Interestingly, though, while the new name and logo are proudly shown on the site, the RTN logo is still there as well, just smaller and less prominent. I suppose it's still there to ease the transition to the new name for viewers. Just a guess.

I also guess it will make for somewhat more easily-pronounceable branding for RTV's affiliates, such as Evansville's WEHT, which calls channel 25.2 "RTN TV 25" (spoken as RTN TV two-five). They could conceivably shorten it to "RTV 25," which is easier to say, especially for someone who gets tongue-tied as easily as myself! ;-)

WEHT's news director, Mark Glover, confirmed for me this evening that the station will indeed rebrand 25.2 as "RTV 25" starting …

Scheduling the switch in Evansville

Thanks to WFIE General Manager Debbie Bush for providing this info via Twitter, and also to WEHT News Director Mark Glover for correcting the information regarding his station! The correction is shown in green type below, and I apologize for the error.

As we all now know, next Friday, June 12, is the day that all full-power TV stations will turn off their analog signals for the last time.

Here is when each station in Evansville will be making the switch:

At midnight, WFIE and WNIN will lead off, followed by WEHT at 12:01 AM. WEVV will go at 9:00 AM, and WTVW will conclude their analog operations at 11:59 PM.

I am not yet sure what the plans are in Bowling Green, where WNKY is the only remaining station waiting to make the switch, or in Louisville or Nashville, but if anyone has that information available, please let me know.

FCC holds final transition meeting

From TVNewsday comes word about the final FCC DTV transition meeting. Here are some of the highlights:
Acting FCC chairman Michael Copps said that had the original Feb. 17 date held, the transition would have made 1985's ill-fated New Coke look like a stroke of genius. Good comparison; hope it doesn't come to that now.
There may end up being a surplus of converter boxes on store shelves. That would tend to square with the situation in stores I've visited in Owensboro and Hartford, Ky., during the past few days.Weather and other sources of interference are more difficult to combat with DTV. Duh ... I could have told them that.The FCC wants more stations to sign on to the commission's temporary "analog nightlight" service, which could prove vital in areas that would be affected by hurricanes this season. Obviously, this would cost each participating station significant money to keep an analog transmitter running, but what price safety? I think this is essen…

More WTSN info ... they have a website!

Thanks to JTKteach for the following info!

Evansville's newest digital station, WTSN, now has a website: http://wtsn36.com. There isn't much info about the station itself, but there is a program schedule and a link to the America One network, of which the station is now an affiliate.

I've got to climb into the attic to adjust my antennas and thus get a better signal, but I think, based on what I've seen of their program schedule, that I'm going to enjoy the "new" station.

Out of the "office" again tomorrow

I've got to be away for part of the day tomorrow for some medical testing (nothing serious, just routine stuff having to do with my spinal issues), so it will probably be late afternoon before anything gets posted tomorrow.

Please pardon the interruption.

WTSN an America One affil? Looks like it!

This post was updated at 10:30 PM, Tuesday, June 2, 2009.

In between the infomercials that aired at 4:00-4:30 PM and 4:30 to whenever (I'm currently watching the early news), WTSN (36.1) showed a Canadian Football League spot. CFL is carried by America One/One World Sports.

So does this mean 'TSN is going to be an A1 affiliate? According to reader JTKteach, it does seem this is indeed the case, at least on WTSN's analog repeater, WYYW-LP (41). JTK is not yet able to get 36.1, but I've no reason to doubt what's on one is on the other.

So ... it does now seem that the Evansville market now has TWO A1 affiliates; both are low-power, so there is no overlap. The other affiliate in question is Jasper, Ind.'s WJTS (18.1).

Ten days to go ...

... and it's crunch time for the FCC, stations and viewers.

Who's ready? Who isn't? We'll know in just a few more days ...

It is WTSN on channel 36, but will infomercials be all we get to watch?

I have confirmed by checking against analog channel 41 that what we're now seeing on digital channel 36.1 is, indeed, WTSN-LP ... well, actually WTSN-LD, in FCC parlance.

Both the new channel and analog channel 41 (WYYW-LP) are no longer simulcasting the programming of WEVV's 44.2 subchannel. What they are broadcasting, instead, appears to be nothing more than infomercials.

Ugh.

Hopefully the Evansville Low Power Partnership will come up with something more interesting in the near future.

Wouldn't hurt 'em to up the signal strength a notch or two, as well, if that's possible.

NOT (entirely) TV RELATED: GM files Chap. 11; Chrysler could emerge soon

It's official.

General Motors has followed its smaller competitor, Chrysler, into bankruptcy court, filing a Chapter 11 petition this morning. Rumors abound that more dealers could be shed during the process, and if that happens, this time there will, almost without doubt, be a list released by someone at some point.

We may finally get the full list of the dealers who received letters notifying them that their franchises won't be renewed next fall as well. I wouldn't be surprised.

GM released a list of plants that will close by December 2010 as a result of the restructuring; the list of affected facilities and what they build is as follows:
Wilmington, Del. - Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, Opel GT (for Europe)Pontiac, Mich. - Chevrolet Silverado, GMC SierraSpring Hill, Tenn. - Chevrolet Traverse (was formerly a Saturn plant; going on "standby")Orion Twp., Mich. - Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 (going on "standby")
Livonia, Mich. - GM PowertrainFlint, Mich. - …

RUNOFF POLL: Which Nashville station has the best website, WTVF or WZTV?

The poll is going up now -- I apologize for the slight delay, but we'll just extend the closing time to 12:15 PM on Friday to make up for it.

BEST WEBSITE AWARD: The readers have spoken ... except in Nashville

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The May poll is now closed, and in three out of the four markets JDTVB covers, we can declare winners.

There will be a five-day runoff vote in the Nashville market between WTVF and WZTV beginning at noon today and running until noon on Friday.

In the following markets, the winners are:

EVANSVILLE
With 5 out of 11 total votes, WEHT (25) is the winner, garnering more votes than any other station in the running. Honorable Mention here goes to WFIE (14), which picked up two votes.

BOWLING GREEN
WNKY (40) received only one vote, but since WBKO received none -- even after rolling out a revamped site very recently -- Channel 40 wins.

LOUISVILLE
WAVE (3) pulled in 4 out of 11 votes, with only WDRB garnering another vote in the poll, thus picking up the Honorable Mention.

NASHVILLE
As mentioned, there will be a runoff between WTVF (5) and WZTV (17). Look for this to go live at noon today.

We should also note that KET picked up two votes, and in a fairly tough competition, they were the only public tele…