Denver Post: Shutdown Impacts Rural Reception

The Denver Post has a sobering article about the fate of free over-the-air TV in the rural west. David Migoya, in the article "Many rural TVs will go dark, not digital," reports as many as two in every five translators could be adversely affected by the transition. Viewers that depend on these translators will see a dark screen, even if they have purchased a DTV converter box.

Much of the information in the article comes from R. Kent Parsons, vice president of the National Translator Association.

“There are so many areas where the people in charge of the translators don't understand or don't know enough to meet the transition,” Parsons said. “I estimate that 40 percent of all translators, licensed and unlicensed, will go dark."

Many of these translators are funded with county tax money and Migoya notes that budget considerations are another reason the translators are not being converted. With more rural viewers receiving TV by cable and satellite, communities are having a hard time justifying the cost to reach a small number of viewers. Don Mayfield, a former councilman in Medicine Bow, Wyoming told the Denver Post about the date of some of these translators.

“We shut them down when the last guy stopped using them a few years ago,” said Mayfield. “But we won't give up the licenses. You never know when you'll need them."

David Migoya has done an excellent job collecting information and quotes from a number of officials responsible for translators, experts Kent Parsons and Byron St. Clair and viewers that depend on these translators. Read "Many rural TVs will go dark, not digital" to see all of it.