Friday, June 12, 2009

Weekend update

Kinda slow on the news front, and I've been spending the past few days on what I think is a pretty cool tribute to analog television. Nonetheless, here's what else is going on...

The analog ending

Unless you've been living under a rock, have no grasp of reality, or are George W. Bush, you should all know by now that today is D-Day, as in 'digital'. That means full-power analog television in the United States will go bye-bye today. What this essentially means:

1. This applies to all full-power signals. They will broadcast in digital-only from tomorrow forward. It does not necessarily apply to low-power stations or translator stations. They are exempt, but some may be shutting off analog anyway. The FCC has not set a shutoff date for low power TV broadcasters.

2. Your old TV may not be very effective without a digital converter box. Sets built in the past several years should be okay. I'm sure you know whether or not this is the case. In addition, those little portable sets you take with you on camping trips and wherever else are now paperweights. Send 'em to Canada or Mexico - they've got analog for the next two years at least. Also, if you still record with a VCR, it's analog tuner will not be very effective anymore. Split a cable off from your converter/cable box and you should be okay, though you may not be able to record one channel while watching another.

3. If you are still unprepared for this, and call TV stations, the FCC, etc. bitching about the loss of your favorite stations, I'm afraid television has already rotted your brain and God is trying to tell you to stop watching.

4. For those of you in the 'rabbit ear' crowd, if you haven't 'rescanned' your converter box/TV tuner, you probably should. With the switchover, some stations are changing their RF frequencies (which is their actual channel, rather than the virtual channel - don't ask) . If you're kinda confused over this, and I don't blame you, don't worry about it - just rescan. You may notice a few just-added channels or subchannels in your lineup.

Radio station celebrates the Big One Hundred

Wow! Has it been 100 years already since the precursor to KCBS in San Francisco first started broadcasting? It seems like just yesterday that they started experimenting with this crazy radio thingy.

But yes, all-news KCBS is celebrating its centennial this year.

It all started down the bay in San Jose, where engineer Charles Herrold conducted some experiments and was even doing regular broadcasting. In the very beginning, he just used a simple greeting like "San Jose calling."

On December 9, 1921, Herrold received a commercial license for his station with the callsign KQW. It was the 21st licensed radio station in the United States and the 11th in California.

Now, some may contest which was indeed the very first radio station in America. Many claim it to be KDKA in Pittsburgh, which was the first to obtain a license. But prior to KDKA, there were many unlicensed stations across the country, and a few of them exist even today. Many cite what is now KCBS as the very first continually broadcasting radio station in this country, and quite possibly the world (and no, I will not get into any comment debates with any of you smartypants, so hold off).

KCBS has a site devoted to their history here.

Peter B. Collins returns via podcast

Thanks to one of our readers for this heads-up. Peter B. Collins, who ended his radio show a few months ago, has returned with a regular podcast.

He will do 2-3 per week, at roughly 45 minutes to an hour in length.

You can find them at his website, Roots Up Radio or on iTunes.

No Republicans on Rachel

Wingnuts have long made hay over Rachel Maddow's reluctance to book right-wing guests on her radio and cable news shows. Funny, they don't seem to question Rush Limbaugh, who only allows left-leaning callers if he can walk all over them, or any of the FOX News meat puppets, who merely book left-leaning punching bags.

This blog from Baltimore Sun critic Dave Zurawik touches on this very topic, as if it is so damned catastrophic in the shape of things today. Whiny wingnut site also pisses and moans about it.

Hey, it's her show, she can do whatever the hell she wants. Much of cable news is at times almost unwatchable because it's typically pundits and 'strategists' yelling back and forth at each other. Since there are many right-wing radio and television talk shows, why not a left-leaning one that is more sedate and gives its viewers what they want? Why should she model her show after every other one on cable TV?

Let's be honest, the crybaby conservative brigade just hates that there are any liberals on TV. Further proof that most wingnuts only like America if it conforms with their own narrow world view.


bosoxd4 said...

that REALLY bothers me, how Rachel and Keith never have ANY dissent whatsoever on their show.

Many say that it's cause they refuse to be on. that's a lie. any republican B-list collumnist or radio talker or the like. the strategists, as they're called.

James L. Greenlee said...

It's flat-out untrue to say that Rachel doesn't have Republicans on. She had one of those fabled "stragegists" on only a couple of days ago, and I can think of several other times as well, including Tim Pawlenty.

She doesn't have them on every day, but it is a rare week when she doesn't comment about some Republican she's tried to get who wouldn't come on. She's practically BEGGED Dick and Liz Cheney to show up!

As for Keith, who cares? It's his show, and "debate" is not, and hasn't ever been his format. Who wants another "Crossfire?"

wwrl said...

right but Liz and Dick cheney aren't gonna do her show, the same way Obama's not going on Hannity. I would like to see the right wing have a voice, so the show isn't propaganda like glenn beck

raccoonradio said...

Analog to digital: Many in Boston couldn't pick up WHDH-DT (NBC) when they moved their digital signal (Ch 42) back to Ch 7. FCC allocated power not enough. So as a response the station is simulcasting on Ch 42 again. Some feel they should have never left that...Supposedly people also had trouble picking up Ch 6 in Schenectedy and Ch 6 in Philly, etc.

When people rescan they can pick up the relaunched Ch 42

ltr said...

raccoon -

Channels 2-6 (low VHF) are a digital dead zone. Many stations (but not all) are shying away from these. Digital signals transmit poorly in the lower VHF spectrum. Not as many problems in the high VHF, and some stations like that it takes less power to transmit digital in high VHF than in UHF. But that's all geek stuff.

(NOTE: For those of you confused, most stations are broadcasting their digital signal from a frequency other than their analog one. Yet the signal 'maps' to their old analog channel on digital tuners.)

Seemingly, the newest trend is for companies to license Ch. 6 for analog TV, then convert them to 'radio' stations (as Ch. 6 audio comes in at 87.7 FM). New York, Washington, DC and Chicago have these kinds of stations going currently).

Jill said...

Rachel Maddow frequently invites Republicans to come on her show, and they refuse. Perhaps it's because they know she will mop the floor with them, not by browbeating them the way O'Reilly does, but simply by knowing what she's talking about.

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