Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
Going Digital - Can 10 TV Anchors Be Wrong?
Monday, January 26, 2009
If you're the kind of public radio listener who actually watches a little local TV, god forbid, you may have noticed the steady drumbeat of news segments on the coming revolution of digital TV. 'Get your digital converter TODAY, or else...' - cut to shot of TV screen as primetime sitcom suddenly gives way to all-black - '...you COULD be left in the dark.'
Mayor Bloomberg joined the chorus today, reminding people that Feb. 17 is the last day when regular analog TVs will get a signal. The remedy, of course, is to either buy a brand-new digital TV - do it for America, viewers - or buy a relatively inexpensive digital converter box, about $40 to $70.
The mayor was joined at City Hall by a gaggle of local TV anchors: Bill Ritter of WABC TV, WWOR's Brenda Blackmon, Jim Watkins of WPIX and many more. If you're the kind of person, like me, who can't keep their TV call letters straight, then you may also be the kind of person, like me, who doesn't get cable or satellite TV, and still uses rabbit ears to get TV reception. There are apparently 300,000 households like ours in the city. Not quite small enough to feel edgy, not big enough to have clout. Our only hope is that the federal government will delay the Feb. 17 deadline to June 12, which it just might. The mayor thinks that's not such a good idea:
BLOOMBERG: You're going to have exactly the same problem whether in June as you do today, and it becomes one of these things where the next time they set a date nobody's going to believe it.
If you have any questions or doubts, the mayor says you should just call 311.