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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

The "Big Switch"

Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009, at 8:33 AM

Greetings from The Land of the Lost

So....Did we see this one coming, or what? I came back from Minnesota to find that the "Big Switch" had switched me right into the Twilight Zone. I hadn't been in that grey world since the 1950's. It's all snow at my house, and I understand that I'm a part of a large number of viewers who are unable to get the signal from KFVS.

In fact,the Nielsen Company said that 2.5 million households remained without a digital signal as of June 14, more than a day after stations across the United States were required to stop their analog signals and broadcast solely in digital form.

I can't say I'm surprised. By now, I have an unhealthy contempt for most changes in life - old age, technological "improvements," "new and improved" products, the metric system, "No Child Left Behind," no-repair car parts, and - above all - digital television.

It can't be natural for all those images to come apart in tiny pieces before our very eyes. The characters look as if they're being beamed up from the planet by the Starship Enterprise.

And you can't tell me that all this "improvement" is for our benefit. Since when does anyone care if the American public has a clear, high-quality picture on the boob tube? There has to be a darker, more sinister motive behind all these changes. Perhaps aliens are trying to take possession of the airwaves for their own evil purposes.

Since I'm almost totally cut off from the outside world (except for my computer), I'm curious as to what's going on out there.

What about it, folks? How has the Great Digital Revolution of the 21st Century affected your lives?

Please share! Surely I'm not the only one stuck in the 20th Century! I did what I was told: I bought a converter box, and my handy son Matthew set it up for me; I've followed Paul Corbin's instructions and re-scanned my system. I made a trip to Cape yesterday and bought an "enhanced digital amplified antenna," and I plan to read the instructions any day now.

How can technologically-challenged members of the population make it through the 21st Century without experiencing the creeping madness associated with sensory deprivation???? Translation: I NEED THE NEWS!!!

From the ever more backward hills of remote Tillman, Missouri, this is your very frustrated, no-longer roving reporter Madeline, crying into the wilderness for answers!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Our transition has been easier than yours, but we bought a long-range outdoor antenna. We get 11 channels now compared to 4 pre-digital and would never consider paying for satellite or cable. Reception is not consistent in spite of all the promotional assurances that quality would either be excellent or you couldn't pick up a station at all. We hope the problem is just with our connectors and can be helped.

We have a friend who believes the whole thing is a government plot, and the converter box is actually a spying device of some kind.

-- Posted by gardengirl on Thu, Jun 18, 2009, at 10:13 AM

Hahaha! Ordinarily, I give no credence to outlandish ideas like that, but the gov't plot actually sounds plausible to me. We can stand only so many of these gov't regulations without feeling oppressed! The peasant's cry in "Monty Python & the Holy Grail" circulates through my head ---- "Help, help! I'm being oppressed! You saw him oppressing me, didn't you??"

I can only assume that the conditions are such that we have no choice. Why else would they put us all through this???

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jun 18, 2009, at 3:26 PM

I have direct-tv sat in my living room,,a $35.00 enhanced antenna works great with wpsd (KY) by p.b. and kbsi works only on real heavy clouds at night in my bedroom.....refuse to rent another converter sat box.

Happy trails in Tillman, and lousy reception.

-- Posted by changedname on Fri, Jun 19, 2009, at 6:50 AM

Your news is not very encouraging, dexterite! I wonder what all these problems are going to do to the RATINGS??? haha! I hope everyone quits watching TV completely! I'm watching the first 4 seasons of "Lost" on DVD. I'm on season 2, so I can hold out a looong time!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Jun 19, 2009, at 1:11 PM

Make a mad rush for your local library! Reading is better any old day!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Jun 19, 2009, at 4:10 PM

MD, the switch to digital had nothing to do with aiding television viewers. It was forced by the fed govt to free-up broadcast bandwidths necessary for analog tv but not for digital tv. The feds auctioned off the bandwidths for almost $20 billion. Even people in a major metro area don't necessarily have as good of a picture with digital as they did before the switch, because there is all kinds of electronic interference.

Here is the Wikipedia webpage about the auction, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/700_MHz_wir...

-- Posted by FJGuy on Fri, Jun 19, 2009, at 7:12 PM
Madeline DeJournett's response:
Thanks for this information, FJ. We can always count on you to do the research and give us the details. So, what did the government do with the $20 billion, I wonder?

I still don't have signals from anyone, but my son's coming out today to help me with two of them, which he says I should be getting.

He's done some checking, and there are still a significant number of television sets in the area (especially south of here) which are not receiving Channel 12. I gather that KFVS is doing a song and dance routine to explain the situation. The phrase I hear the most is that they "dropped the ball" on this issue and were caught flat-footed with the digital switch.

As with the current economic recession, we're venturing into areas never experienced before - so we have no historical wisdom to guide us!

Surely kfvs wasn't caught flat footed,,,,,betcha Illinois customers aren't having any problems. All or most of the news concerns Illinoisiannnnnnnnnnnnnnna's anyway....lol...

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Jun 21, 2009, at 2:53 PM

I notice Daily Statesman has Dexterite ans Changedname switched again,, I swear I am just one person.

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Jun 21, 2009, at 2:54 PM

MD, the $20 billion went into the federal kitty. It didn't go very far, because that is about what the feds spend every two days.

What makes the digital TV "switch" different than others is it wasn't customer driven -- but it was rammed down our throats by the feds. Customers chose to buy color televisions instead of b&w. Customers chose to buy LP's over 78's, and then 8-tracks, and then cassettes, and then CD's, and now to download to IPods, etc., etc.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Sun, Jun 21, 2009, at 7:46 PM
Madeline DeJournett's response:
Interesting point, FJ. Unlike the push to go metric, the digital switch is something we can't just ignore and let fall on its face.

My son came out yesterday and was able to engineer the retrieval of about three channels for me - KBSI Channel 6, Channel 6 weather, and Channel 59. There is a spot for KFVS Channel 12, our local station, but I still don't get it.

I can't remember if Channel 6 is ABC or NBC, but I rarely got it before the switch, so I'm not hooked on any of the programming, and their "local" news (Is that Paducah, KY?) will be largely irrelevant for me.

The few channels I get are very clear, but who really cares??

My only satisfaction will be if 6 is the channel that can get "Lost" when the new season comes back on. I'm on season 3 of the DVD's now.

Well hope this makes everyone feel a little better,maybe. I live in Cape, right in the middle of town and I'm not getting kfvs. I can get everything else though! Yes they are doing a song and dance routine about it all. They've gone to "vhf digital" which according to them makes them so good its hard to get the signal. Lol, that is too too funny! By the way, Best Buy can't get them either. They told me kfvs doesn't want to admit there's a problem. Ha! Imagine that! I've had digital TV for almost 2 yrs now and didn't have a problem until "the big switch" I do understand all the electronic jargon. So please all of you out of cape people, its not your fault. Its kfvs's! Power to the people! Complain!

-- Posted by lilmammap on Mon, Jun 22, 2009, at 8:57 AM
Madeline DeJournett's response:
Lilmamma, thanks for the confirming response from the Big City! I suspected as much! From what I've heard through the grape vine, it's one excuse after another. Did you see the recent article in the Southeast Missourian? Now they're recommending that we unhook the converter from the power source, then hook it up and try again.

Next, they'll tell us to stand on one leg like a crane and rub our bellies in a clockwise motion...

The only thing we watched on TV was the news and weather, we rent movies that the whole family can watch. I get the news on my computer and we bought a weather radio that warns us of bad weather headed our way. We don't miss the TV programming at all.

-- Posted by mythought on Mon, Jun 22, 2009, at 11:38 AM

Channel 6, Paducah, is NBC; but Lost is on ABC, Channel 15, which we're getting at at 15.1 and 15.2, and sometimes at 3, which is where it originates. 15 is just a relay tower in Poplar Bluff, I believe. We can sometimes pick up 19, which is an educational station in Arkansas and seems to have good programming. We hope to get more stations and better reception as time goes on.

-- Posted by gardengirl on Mon, Jun 22, 2009, at 1:32 PM

Well, drat! We still won't be able to get "Lost," will we? I'm now on season 3 and I'm really ticked off about some of it! Somebody needs to take a vacuum cleaner after that killer smoke thing. It just killed Mr. Eko!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jun 22, 2009, at 4:25 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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