San Diego DTVs Ready for Transition

Some San Diego broadcasters are making final preparations for the DTV transition at midnight tonight. KFMB and KGTV are shutting down their analog VHF transmitters on Mt. Soledad and putting digital transmitters on the air in their place. KSWB will stay on for a week with a “night light” consumer message about the transition.

KPBS Director of Engineering Leon Messenie says that his station will leave the analog channel 15 transmitter on through their March pledge drive. KNSD and KUSI now say they will wait until June 12 to drop their analog service.

The transition delay bill passed by Congress does not mandate a June 12 analog shutdown, but would give broadcasters that option, as well as fund an extended converter box discount coupon program. All network owned and operated stations will keep their analog transmitters on until June. KNSD is an NBC O&O station.

Meanwhile, XETV managers have declared their intention to turn over their analog channel 6 transmissions to another Televisa service. The exact date of the transition and content to be broadcast haven’t been determined.

Stations transitioning Tuesday night are preparing for a barrage of phone calls Wednesday morning. They expect to have additional staff members answer the phones and triage calls for the depth of their technical questions. KGTV has conducted a trade-in program for people who haven’t used their converter coupons to give them to viewers who need them.

Entravision stations, both Mexican LMA stations and US low powers, are attempting to convert to DTV. XHAS-DT in Tijuana, “T33”, signed on today for the first time on adjacent UHF channel 34. XHDTV Tecate is due to come on line soon on channel 47. KBNT has an application pending for a digital service on channel 14. The FCC signaled that it might approve that application for a low power service after stating in a recent ruling for LA County emergency services on channel 15 that its use in Los Angeles did not preclude reusing the channel for low power TV in San Diego. Channel 14 is similarly used for land mobile in the LA basin.