Commercial stations in Columbus have begun to position themselves for the potential of turning off their analog television signals on February 17th. Remember that the Columbus area originally had about 120,000 households receiving over-the-air analog television as their primary source of television. The latest information is that about 39,000 households are still not ready to make the switch.
WOSU has decided to stay the course and help these folks with their transition issues. We’ll be on the air at least through March with an analog signal. What stations are going off the air locally? The FCC has required all stations planning to shutdown analog on the 17th to notify the FCC by this Monday, so we should know soon. However, the FCC reserves the right to deny those requests if they believe it would not serve the public interest.
We believe it’s critical to have a few broadcast stations still providing emergency and weather broadcast services, along with regular programming to thousands in this community who will lose some of their local broadcast stations in 11 days. WOSU is ramping up its DTV transition helpline and will be assisting with information about the changes. I’ll be joined by others on Fred Andrle’s Open Line program on WOSU AM Monday morning February 16th at 11 am to discuss the changes and take calls.
We also plan to provide special programming for those receiving WOSU on their analog televisions over-the-air in February. We can isolate that signal and will see first hand who needs assistance.
It’s FCC Chairman Michael Copps who put it right as far as we’re concerned: Those broadcasters who have decided to stay on the air with analog signals “are truly serving the public interest by giving real-world meaning to what Congress did” and “putting consumers first.”