As we have been advising Central Illinois over the past two years, WTVP's analog channel 47 signed off for the last time on Tuesday night, Feb. 17 at 11:59 p.m. Broadcast service continued unabated on our digital channels, WTVP Channel 47.1, 47.2, and 47.3.
For those subscribers to cable or satellite, those who receive us on a new digital TV set, and those who purchased a converter box, it was probably a non-event. The pictures got better and there were more choices to watch free for nothing off air.
Some people did have problems, mostly with tuning antennas, but we did have phone operators available to help answer questions. Change is never easy, but it is inevitable. While we were unhappy to say good-bye to our old friend, analog 47, which has given us such good service and delivered many, many great programs over the last 38 years, technology, economics, and the government made the change mandatory.
You may wonder why WTVP signed off analog on Feb. 17 rather than on the extended date of June 12. The answer very simply is money. To continue broadcasting in analog for four months beyond what was originally mandated by the federal government would have cost at least $40,000 in power alone, significantly more in maintenance and parts-an amount that simply was not in the budget. To extend the service to the new arbitrary date would have put WTVP into a huge financial hole. Based on the generosity of so many people who helped save the station last year, our Board of Trustees felt this to be inappropriate, irresponsible, and unethical.
If you were caught by surprise or if you were inconvenienced, we truly apologize. We think the change will benefit Central Illinois months and years ahead. I hope you enjoy the additional free public programming off air and please remember, none of the fees paid to cable or satellite come to WTVP. Finally, please feel free to write to me at 101 State St., Peoria, IL 61602 or email me through www.wtvp.org with your comments.
Thank you for your patience in this seven-year transition effort.
President & CEO, WTVP (Retired)