Now more than ever, public media is essential. Give Now.

Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: June 12, 2009

So, after much anticipation, all of broadcast television goes digital by the end of today. For stations, this is a great relief as they get out from under paying to keep those old analog TV transmitters chugging along. For consumers, most will not notice the change because they are on cable or satellite, but millions of others are over-the-air viewers who prefer their television for free.

WOSU is taking the lead in central Ohio to help the community through any confusion about the transition. WOSU’s “Connect the Community,” is a partnership involving the office of Mayor Michael B. Coleman and other groups. Supported by the Federal Communications Commission, the project involves helping residents in a seven-county area buy and install converter boxes.

While research indicates that only a small percentage of local residents are not prepared, the percentage is higher in the Somali and Latino communities, and among senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. The Center for Latin Home, Global Focus Projects, LifeCare Alliance and the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging have joined to focus on these groups.

If a caller seeking assistance doesn’t have a box, the DTV center will order coupons for them that will cover the first $40 of the price of a converter box. The project also helps send out volunteers to help those who have a converter box and antenna but need help installing them or making them work.

OSU is poised to help anyone in the community with basic installation of digital converter boxes. Simply call our special help line at WOSU -1-866-723-4626

The coverage of the end of the DTV Transition, which has been 20 years in the making has received extensive coverage today. From the Washington Post, Columbus Dispatch (“Seeing Static, Here’s Some Help”) and even Slate online magazine (“Digital TV is Here, Please Remain Calm”).

WOSU and most public stations are using the new digital capacity to provide 24/7 high definition programming of the best of PBS and local programs. WOSU is also now able to provide two other channels — WOSU Ohio and WOSU Plus, which you should checkout. In the future, we’ll be able to use some of the digital spectrum for a variety of digital services.