Thinking Inside the Box

MPTV Analog Stations on the Air Until June

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi, Ellis Bromberg with another video 'Thinking Inside the Box.'

You know, for the last few years we've been telling you about the shutoff of our analog stations on February 17, 2009. Our staff has spoken to community groups and we've aired literally hundreds of on-air messages about that event -- and that date.

As you've probably heard, Congress has passed and President Obama has signed the DTV Delay Act moving the official analog shutoff date to June 12, 2009. The Act also extends the coupon program which enables viewers to save $40 on the purchase of a digital converter box, until July 31, 2009, and it requires the federal government to issue, upon request, replacement coupons for each coupon that expires without being redeemed.

The MPTV and Friends management staffs have discussed the implications of our analog stations staying on the air past February 17 and reached a decision that, while we will have to deal with additional electricity and production costs, the analog stations of WMVS and WMVT will remain on the air, probably through June 12, in order to best serve the public. There are several reasons why.

First, a basic premise of public television is that our stations should have universal access: we are publicly funded and, therefore, we do everything we can to ensure that everyone in the public can see our educational programming, from the youngest citizens to the most senior.

Beyond that, studies have shown that public television viewers and members are among those least likely to be prepared for the digital switch -- we just have a higher proportion than other stations of over-the-air, senior, and rural viewers. We cannot let them down.

Finally, by staying on the air with our analog signals, MPTV will be able to serve all our viewers through our two largest fundraisers of the year: the March membership drive and the GREAT TV AUCTION.

There are other analog TV stations that have decided to sign off the air on February 17. At MPTV, we believe that keeping our stations on the air until we are sure that virtually everyone has made the necessary switch to digital was the right decision for us and for our members.

We do strongly encourage those of you who have not yet made the digital switch to do so as soon as possible - apply for, buy, and install a converter box, or buy a new TV set with a digital tuner, or subscribe to cable or satellite -- all those to get our new digital channels. And by all means don't wait until June 12 to take action. All the new digital stations are on the air right now - and we encourage you to start watching them right away.

Feel free to contact us at MPTV if you have any questions, and we'll see you again soon.