The Digital Switch

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

Did you stay up to see what would happen?

2:04 a.m.  I'm asleep, but suddenly wake up.  As I check the time, I realize the digital switch is one minute away.

2:05 a.m.  Carson Daly signs off (mercifully) and the Poker show starts... and my picture pops.  Not in a bad way-- in a great way.  I had been wondering what would happen when WILX dropped its analog signal and went to all digital.  I have cable, but my carrier, Charter, provides an awful signal in St. Johns.  When the switch happened, my picture got better.  Bully for me.

Not so much for the scores out there who are not ready.  Sorry to be so blunt, but we've been hearing about the switch for years and been bombarded with info about the switch on February 17th for months and months.  The folks who aren't ready now, would not have been ready in June.  For some it's no fault of their own, since they're waiting for a coupon for a converter box.  But no matter when it happened, there would be plenty of people shocked to wake up to no picture. 

If it makes you feel better to blame us for going ahead with the switch when we could have waited for a few months, fine.  But think about this-- this was not our idea, it was the federal government's.  It need to free up the heavy analog airspace for digital, which takes up less space.  It passed a law requiring every station to make the switch.  Now pretend you are running our company.  You've spent all sorts of money on running two transmitters-- one analog and one digital-- in preparation of the switch and on spots and commercial air time reminding people about February 17th being the day.  Then the Fed chimes in again, but this time to yank the rug out and ask that we wait.  Wait and spend more money that media companies don't have to make a switch that people will still not be ready for in June. 

We ripped the band-aid off today and for some it will hurt for awhile.  But imagine the joy you'll have for us when those annoying FCC-MANDATED crawls on your screen are on every channel but ours in May before the next switch.  Bye the way, you can watch every NBC show at

And a big shout-out to Sharon, our receptionist at WILX, who took hundreds of your calls today and calmly walked many of you through a few steps to get your digital converter box running correctly.  She's one of the good ones.

P.S.  Sharon, I'm sorry I called and acted like a disgruntled viewer.  Simple minds are simply amused.
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