Time to change rabbit ears

Published 6:02 am Wednesday, February 18, 2009

By Staff
If you had not heard at some point in the past two years that the federal government had set the deadline for the switch from analog to digital TV stations as Feb. 17, you must not own a television.
In which case, the switch wouldn’t affect you anyway.
Most folks in the Brewton area probably won’t be affected; we live so far from network affiliates’ signals that cable or satellite TV is almost a necessity.
But there are many people across the country who do still have rabbit ears on their televisions, and they would have lost all of their TV signals yesterday, if the government had followed through on its well-publicized deadline.
Then someone decided that not enough people had received the message about the TV switch.
So Congress agreed to delay the switch, although some stations are going ahead with only digital signals anyway.
The others probably feel somewhat bullied into keeping both analog and digital signals.
But here’s the problem: Those analog signals are costing many of those stations a lot of money. And many of those stations are already pushed to the limit by the economic downturn that has affected advertising revenues.
Many lawmakers are worried that some 20 million Americans haven’t gotten the message (the one in those commercials the rest of us have memorized by now). The new deadline to switch is June 12, three months from now. Do we really think everyone is going to be ready then?
I realize that making sure people have a television signal is more important than folks missing out on “Wheel of Fortune.” They might miss important news broadcasts or weather reports if they don’t have a digital signal. But a delay isn’t necessarily going to solve that problem; at some point we have to flip the switch and let everyone else sort it out for themselves.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard.  She can be reached at 251-867-4876 or by e-mail at

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