AETN NEWS RELEASE
The Arkansas Educational Television Network reported today that they are taking steps to have KETS Channel 2 back on air for analog over-the-air viewers within the next two weeks. The process depends on the weather and parts delivery.
On Friday, Jan. 11, the KATV 7 tower in Redfield collapsed, taking with it AETN’s KETS 2 analog transmitter. “That was the first transmitter placed in the AETN system, and it was still serving the most people in our statewide system,” AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. “Our AETN team went into action immediately upon notification of the collapse and within an hour had secured a replacement transmitter, antenna, transmission line and tower space.”
AETN is working with Clear Channel Communications, where the KETS digital transmitter is housed, to establish temporary tower space for the analog transmitter until the completion of the digital transition in February 2009. All equipment is expected to arrive by the end of the week, and a tower crew will begin work shortly thereafter, weather permitting. “We will replace the analog signal, even though we hopefully will only need to provide it for another 13 months,” Weatherly said. “At the heart of our mission is universal service, and if at all possible we will cling to that promise.”
The KETS digital signal was unaffected by the tower collapse. Central Arkansas cable and satellite companies, such as Comcast, Conway Corporation, Dish and DirectTV, are already using the digital signal and will continue to provide AETN to customers. Other cable companies are encouraged to switch to the AETN digital feed as soon as possible. Once the analog signal is restored, it will be at a lower power, potentially leaving some Central Arkansas viewers without analog access to AETN.
The reach of the new transmitter has not yet been determined. However, anyone who watches over the air would still be able to watch AETN’s digital broadcasts on a digital television. Viewers in Southeast Arkansas are encouraged to tune into KETZ DT 12.
“We appreciate the patience of our viewers while we work to put KETS back on the air,” Weatherly said. “We never realize just how many people are watching and enjoying public television until something like this happens!” The Arkansas Educational Television Network (www.aetn.org) provides lifelong learning opportunities, improves and enhances Arkansans’ lives and celebrates the unique culture of Arkansas through its programming and services. AETN’s digital and analog transmitters and numerous cable system connections give it statewide reach.