Three California TV Stations Pull Digital Switch; Few Problems Reported

Dec 22, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Three TV stations in Chico and Redding, Calif., moved from analog to digital this morning, with initial reports of some problems on at least one of the stations.
John Stall, general manager for Catamount Broadcasting, said while the switchover of KHSL-TV, the company’s CBS affiliate, went fine, there have been some calls that viewers are having trouble seeing his company’s KNBN-TV, the NBC affiliate.
He said it’s not yet clear if the problems affect specific parts of the broadcast area or specific converter boxes, or if they reflect other issues.
Sainte Partners’ KCVU-TV, a Fox affiliate, also switched to digital early this morning. PBS affiliate KIXE went digital in August.
Doug Holroyd, general manager of KCVU-TV, a Fox affiliate, reported a few calls, but few problems.
“The phone isn’t ringing at all,” he said.
He said one reason is that 83% of the households in the market don’t watch the broadcast signal directly, but instead watch through cable or satellite.
“We’ve given away a few converters and helped some people who were confused,” Mr. Holroyd added.
James Miller, a Federal Communications Commission attorney who is managing DTV outreach in the market, said the biggest problem turned out to be getting viewers and, in some cases, cable providers to re-scan their converter boxes to catch the new DTV frequencies of the stations. He said the NBC station’s viewership problems turned out to be a combination of problems with cable system updating their channels and viewers needing to re-scan local channels.
Today’s switch leaves only the market’s ABC affiliate, KRCR-TV, continuing to broadcast analog programming. That station will switch with the rest of the country Feb. 17.
The next market to switch to digital TV is Hawaii, which will switch Jan. 15.


  1. “He said it’s not yet clear if the problems affect specific parts of the broadcast area or specific converter boxes, or if they reflect other issues.”
    Thank God they hint at “converter boxes” having some problems with reception. That shows that current boxes are not at a good standard. A simple rating system on reception alone would assist the consumer to know what reception quality to get.
    The point, Digital TV should not normally drop out or get “boxxy” with pixelation. Nor should you hear a “hum” under the audio. Funny how I was told that’s how DTV was supposed to be, when TV engineers were confronted (no names… but WTVG-DT engineers are to blame for that one.)
    I have learned that when my local NBC affiliate saw a clip of mine online, he suggested a cheap Zenith converter, which was Gen5. However, even that was a bust 1 street over at the wal*mart store, where I continually saw “Adjust antenna” with a meter on the bottom. I then was told that it was the “49.99 Zenith model.” I then mentioned that there is no reception ratings. Luckily, some ladies heard our conversation. I explained my clips online and said that was exactly what I got, with DTV.
    The other point I have also been making… signal issues and multipath. I’ll bet if it’s signal issues, not one person was made aware, from FCC, NAB, DTV.GOV site, etc., that this could be an issue. The consensus is “plug it in and get a great picture” or “upgrade your antenna.” Those are good messages, but they do not reflect still not getting and keeping the DTV signal. The FCC should have known, since I complained about it twice on the phone, once in writing. It upsets me to no end that my tax dollars went to educate people on DTV… but only partially. To me, that means they were not educated at all.
    I still say that we should expect quite a few calls from the DTV switch. I know I’m doing my part to inform people that there are other problems. There is a solution, but you have to go through the migraine first, to get there…which it should not be that way.

  2. Emm-Gee Ohio’s post is but one reason why the broadcast industry should ask Congress to mandate the continuation of analog signals until these kinks are worked out. Stations need to install repeaters, viewers and the government need more time to get coupons out, and roof antennas can’t be re-aimed safely in the dead of winter. When advertisers start talking “makegoods,” the industry may come to its senses and back a substantial delay in analog shut-off. More good reasons to do so: http://www.nowpublic.com/world/u-s-tvs-digital-deadline-obama-eras-first-consumer-crisis

  3. By the way, this “DTV Navigator” section crashes in FF 3.0.4, while the rest of the site works fine.
    I’m not so sure that advertisers will be as happy with “makegoods” writtten on program logs. As the prices stay high for ads, those advertisers are locked into those prices. When they renew a contract, the newer lower prices will then take effect. Until then, I’m wiling to bet that advertisers will either stray, due to lack of Penetration, or simply try to renegtiate. When your business is failing, due to lack of advertising and other factors, you may not have time to renegotiate that contract. That’s what concerns me with this time and the DTV switch.
    Yes, after 30 days from February 17th, 2009… or March 19th, 2009, those emergency signals STOP on the analog (NTSC) towers.
    I’m rather worried and a site won’t change my mind. I know what I personally experince both in and out of the industry…so I see both sides. Seems that nobody is moving fast enough… either the Government, Manufacturers of STB’s, nor the stations’ engineers. So as a professional, I see nothing really getting done.
    As for the neew president, he’s straying from what he’s told us he stands for. I cannot believe a webpage that might say what he is going to do and why. Things change, situations are fluid. We saw that with several issues that he campaigned on, that he no longer believes in…. from several indicators, so far.
    I have no faith that the date will be held back, dictated by the market, consumers trends, etc.. The American public that is on antenna…are simply screwed! And that is being as optimistic as I can, being forced into this, with my tax money being wasted.
    HOw many of the FCC commissioners plan to fly home commercially? I’ll bet none.
    That’s where I’m seeing my tax dollars go… and to PBS shows on how to invest/get rich with Suze Orman (note that the government calls it “The Corperation for Public Broadcasting”). Now those are scarey situations!

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