WUSF GOES DIGITAL - Mitch Perry

06/29/04

This morning, staff and supporters of WUSF TV and Radio announced that their public broadcasting programs will now be enhanced by Digital Television.

All Television broadcasters are required to offer both analog AND digital television channels until 2006, when they are being mandated by the government to go strictly digitial.

That is NOT the case in radio, but some stations are beginning to prepare to go that way...In fact, a little over a year ago, WUSF-FM became only the 6th radio station, and FIRST Public station in the country to go digital.

WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky announced today that the analog signal from WUSF will continue to be seen on Channel 16 in the Tampa area, but if one has a digital television, they can now will now be 4 WUSF Channels

On Channel 16.1, will be e WUSF-DT, a digital simulcast of the regular WUSF Program Schedule

On Channel 16.2

The Annenberg/CPB Channel, a channel airing programs intended to advance teaching excellence in American schools,

PBS You, On Channel 16.3

On Channel 16.4, PBS You, a channel dedicated to providing educational programs for adult learners, and the Florida Knowledge Network, a channel providing educational programming for teachers and students in Grades K-12.

BrightHouse Networks cable systems will begin carrying the signals by next week, though USF says Not ALL cable providers in the area haveagreed yet to carry all 4 digitial channels...

On the radio side, WUSF Radio went on the cutting edge when it became the 1st public radio station in the country to go digital.

Mike O'Shea is chief engineer of WUSF-FM. One of the possible key features of Digitial - other than enhanced sound , is that it could allow a station to split its channel into 2. O'Shea says that IS something that WUSF is contemplating (roll tape#1

o.q." and news") O'Shea says that the cost of the Transmitter and associated equipment cost $135,000 ...and with upgrades the total comes close to $150,000

Ginny Berson is the Vice President and Director of Federation Services at the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. She explains what obstacles lie in the way of Digital Radio taking over (roll tape# is the 2nd stream")

WUSF Engineer Mike O' Shea says there are some Digital Radios that are available for purchase, but NOT that many in Tampa (roll tape#3 o.q."he wants to sell you the car")

The NFCB's Ginny Berson says The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is helping some stations with seed money to go digital...but , it's also a gamble that the technology will take off with the public(roll tape#4 o.q."pretty early in the game at this point")

OUTRO: Also today, WUSF Broadcasting unveiled a new logo...The images come from photos of x-rays taken of radio and broadcast waves, which the station says represent the technology behind their services ....

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