TV gets a reprieve
It appears local TV viewers who rely on an antenna to receive their signal off of Cottonwood Butte won’t lose their service after all. At least for the next 3 years.
Central Idaho TV (CITV) will be renovating the translator on the Butte to convert the incoming digital signals to analog for rebroadcast.
This fix is only temporary though as in three years they will have to broadcast from the Butte digitally. CITV board president Bob McCall recommends patrons take advantage of the government coupons available now to buy the digital converter boxes in preparation for the switchover.
Nationally the switchover date is set for February 17. Efforts to push back that date in Congress have, so far, failed.
The switch to digital is mostly to open up space on the finite broadcast spectrum. A by-product is improved picture and sound quality and possibly more channels.
Cost to convert the channels CITV rebroadcasts is projected at $4800. McCall said CITV would pay $800 with the remainder funded by a federal grant. Work should be completed by Feb. 17 so that patrons will not experience any service disruption.
A public meeting was held in Grangeville on January 15 after the possibility of losing local TV service came to the attention of Idaho County Commissioner Jim Rehder. The meeting was attended by more than people including representatives from KLEW in Lewiston and KIDK in Clarkston. No decisions were made until last week when CITV decided to move ahead with the conversion project.
Meanwhile the current board members are still looking to retire. Anyone interested in a board position can contact McCall, Buzz Kopczynski in Cottonwood or Ralph Mathison in Craigmont.