Television Station Managers Say They're Ready

Woodlands Congressman Kevin Brady has a meeting with the general managers of Houston television stations. He wanted to see if they’re ready for the switch to digital broadcasting. Pat Hernandez has more.

The government has mandated that all television stations be required to switch to digital programming by February 17th. Viewers will not receive a signal unless they purchase a digital set, connect to cable, satellite or an alternative delivery system…or purchase a converter box. The Nielsen Company reported last October that Houston was the least prepared for the switch. It has since moved to third, behind Albuquerque and Dallas- Fort Worth. Henry Florsheim is general manager of KTRK Channel-13.

“It’s certainly our hope that as many people as possible are prepared for the transition, and we are prepared to communicate in any way we can that people have to get ready.”

Larry Blackerby heads  KPRC Channel-2. He knows that a lot of Houston viewers get their signal without satellite or cable.

“Sure, there’d be some people that, uh, when the transition happens, that will have not heard about for some reason, but I think the numbers have been going up.”

The latest Nielsen numbers show that households headed by less educated, lower income and blue collar workers are least prepared for the transition. President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to postpone the switch until June. Roger Bare, GM at Channel-39 says that would impact the bottom line.

“Generating power for two transmitters, both an analog and a digital transmitter would cost the average television station 50 to 60 thousand dollars.”

Congressman Brady says station managers do not want to delay.

“I am frustrated that the government, when we told stations you need to go digital, didn’t also tell the makers of television sets you need to go digital, because I think would have been a lot more hassle-free than the digital converter route that we’re going now.”

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.

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