There's a nice elderly couple who live in a little yellow house in rural Nevada. It's on a quarter section of land... one of the few in the arid west that was successfully homesteaded just after 1862 by his great-grandfather. Although the land has never yielded much, the couple worked hard raising dryland grazing grasses and running a small roadside decorative cactus business. In years past, he did some part time work in town and she was a substitute teacher. These efforts kept the couple modestly comfortable as they grew old together in their
small home. Now, their TV is their sole source of entertainment and education...
and it's been for over a quarter century served by ... a TV translator.
Where did they learn about:
- Bulletins that the University of Nevada recently published in dealing with the current drought? On TV.
- The Washington debates over the sage grouse bill? On TV.
- The Nevada Community Foundation's new scholarship program that could help their great-grandaughter go to college? On TV!
- The winter storm warnings in their area in early February? That's right... On TV, via that translator !
A planned FCC spectrum auction threatens loss of many translators.
An ongoing federal program to auction off major portions of the TV band to the highest bidder threatens to end free television service in rural communities in large swaths of the United States. The largest numbers of viewers threatened are translator viewers who live within 300 miles of larger western US cities such as Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Reno, San Francisco, Sacramento, Denver, Phoenix or Los Angeles. Many Midwestern and southern viewers are similarly threatened. Next year when the FCC spectrum auctions begin, some TV licensees will sell their spectrum in and around larger cities and our source programming may go away or change channels. Translator operators, without any funding to follow these changes, may lose service temporarily - or forever - to the wireless operators who bought the UHF TV channels. The affected full service TV stations will be reimbursed for the channel but the affected TV translator and LPTV stations will not receive a dime, even though their input and/or output channels will be taken away from them in the process. That's right... not a dime.
Who truly suffers from the loss of rural TV service?
- If you live in a small community served by TV translators, you do.
- If you have gone into the storm cellar after hearning a tornado warning on TV, you do.
- If you enjoy local news and programs delivered to your town from distant cities, you do.
- If you're that nice couple in Nevada and hope to turn on your TV and receive anything, you do.
We at the National Translator Association are working for our members and their audiences. We regularly travel to Washington to work with government, industry and elected officials in an effort to save rural TV service. We're happy to report that we have made progress in gaining allies and the NTA intends to continue this outreach effort. We need your continuing interest and membership in the NTA.
We invite you to come to our May convention in Reno, NV. We'll have folks from the FCC, the NAB, from equipment manufacturers and translator licensees with a lot of new ideas, tips and techniques.