More than half of the country’s 357 public TV stations missed
the May 1 deadline to begin digital broadcasting, according to
APTS. As of late last week, only 163—just 46 percent of public
TV stations—had launched their DTV signals. Not that it matters much. The 194 public stations that failed to flip
the switch are eligible to petition the FCC for two six-month extensions. When commercial stations faced their deadline a year ago, two-thirds
missed it and the FCC freely issued waivers.
Bill Moyers came out swinging three days after the Nov. 5 midterm elections,
and the target of his jabs—America’s right wing—came swinging back. Conservatives said he made a hysterical partisan attack on Republicans in his commentary on PBS’s Now with Bill Moyers Nov. 8. Lamenting the GOP sweep of both houses of Congress, Moyers slammed the
majority party’s agenda, which he believes will “force pregnant women
to give up control over their own lives,” use “taxing power
to transfer wealth from working people to the rich” and give “corporations
a free hand to eviscerate the environment.”
When terrorists brought down the World Trade Center in an imploding, crumbling crash, they not only destroyed New York City’s highest buildings but silenced eight of its largest TV stations. WNET, the city’s flagship public TV station, was knocked off the air for five days and apparently lost Rod Coppola, a 47-year-old engineer who was working at its transmitter site atop Tower One. The tower also took with it $8 million in transmitter and antenna equipment. Every major station in the city — except for WCBS, which maintained a backup transmitter on the Empire State Building — went down in the crash of the WTC, extinguishing service to one in five households — 7.3 million — that receives TV over the air. Nearly 80 percent of households didn’t notice the interruption.