WGTE TV ends analog broadcasting
Toledo: For nearly two years, WGTE, like most television stations, has been advising the public about the digital transition. Although Congress has passed and the President signed legislation to extend the transition until June 12, 2009, WGTE ended analog broadcast, with approval from the FCC, on February 17, at 11:59PM.
Marlon Kiser, President and CEO of WGTE Public Media, stated that: “Over the past six months, our messaging has been frequent and relentless, and we feel that we have done an excellent job of informing our audience. We feel that they are well prepared.”
The decision to end analog transmission on February 17 is an economic one. Kiser states, “The fiscal year 2009 budget approved by our community board of directors allocated funding to pay for electricity to power the analog transmitter through February 17. It would cost WGTE approximately $30,000 to power the transmitter until June 12. This is money that was not budgeted, and money we do not have as we lose revenue during the economic downturn.”
Although we know there are still viewers who are unprepared for the transition, WGTE has allocated a great deal of financial, staff and on-air resources to educate the public. “Over the past year, we have spoken with hundreds of viewers through email, on the phone, and at public events about the steps they can take to make sure they are ready for digital television,” says Darren LaShelle, Director of Television Broadcast Services. “PBS is the only network that has produced primetime programs designed to lead viewers through the DTV set up process.”
On February 17, the last day of analog broadcast, WGTE aired only DTV transition programming on its analog channel, including a phone number to call with questions. WGTE employees staffed a call-center to give viewers specific information about their individual situations, including converter box set up, reception issues, channel scanning, and the U.S. government coupon program.
After the transition, WGTE broadcasted three digital channels, including WGTE HD at 30.1, WGTE Family at 30.2, and WGTE Create at 30.3. These channels are available over-the-air and on area cable systems. For more information on the broadcast schedules of each of the channels, visit www.wgte.org.
WGTE Public Media (The Public Broadcasting Foundation of Northwest Ohio) is a non-profit organization providing quality broadcasting and educational resources to Northwest and West Central Ohio and Southeast Michigan for more than 50 years. WGTE Public Media operates WGTE TV, Toledo; WGTE FM 91.3, Toledo; WGLE FM 90.7, Lima; WGBE FM 90.9, Bryan; WGDE FM 91.9, Defiance; wgte.org; The Educational Resource Center; and The Early Learning and Outreach Center.