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Digital TV switch hits a few snags in Oklahoma

BY MEL BRACHT Modified: February 18, 2009 at 4:28 am •  Published: February 18, 2009
Oklahoma City television entered the digital era Tuesday afternoon to persistent sounds of an old medium: telephones.

KWTV-9 was swamped with so many calls following its conversion from analog to digital at 1 p.m. that it was unable to count them, programming director Kim Eubank said. Eubank said most of the calls were from Dish Network viewers who couldn’t get the station and people who had not rescanned their digital televisions or converter boxers for digital channels. The rescanning was necessary because KWTV and OETA switched digital channels during the conversion.

OETA-13 general manager Bill Thrash said about 90 percent of the network’s 150 calls dealt with rescanning issues.

KAUT-43 general manager Jim Boyer said most of his station’s 90 calls were from viewers who could not get KWTV and OETA.

"There obviously was some confusion,” he said.

KOKH-25 and KAUT-43 were scheduled to make the digital transition at midnight Tuesday.

KWTV returned to Dish Network after a two-hour lapse, KWTV engineering director Julie Cameron said. Cable One in Duncan also temporarily lost the station because it had not rescanned for the new digital channel, she said.

Cameron said she helped several viewers go through the conversion process.

"We had one lady on the phone for two hours,” Cameron said.

Thrash noted that viewers who use an antenna for TV reception needed to make sure it receives both VHF and UHF signals in order to receive all the local stations.

KFOR-4, KOCO-5 and KSBI-52 are continuing to broadcast in analog. They must switch to digital by the government-set deadline of June 12.

In Tulsa, Griffin Communications president David Griffin said KOTV-6 received 57 calls after the conversion. Griffin said some of the calls were from people unhappy that a radio simulcast of the station was no longer available.