Let’s Do That Digital Conversion Thing Already, Do I Get a Credit for This Particular Idea? Plus, I Have a Question about a Show that Used to Air in Memphis.

I read that there is a suggestion/proposal to delay the switchover by TV stations from an analog to digital signal.  It seems there is a big concern that eight million households (I think that was the number I saw) won’t be ready for the conversion and will be left in the dark.  A spokesman for at least one TV station in the Memphis area (WKNO ) has indicated they don’t want to see a delay as they are building a new facility and analog doesn’t figure into the equation.  They say delaying the switchover means they have to make accommodations for analog and it would be expensive.  I say go with the original deadline.  If I’m not mistaken (The GM, help me out here) this deadline for switching over has already been moved at least once if not a couple of times over the past few years from its original target date. Yes, some folks will be left behind but it’s not like no one has been warning them.  I say this,  and those who know me know that I am NOT a person on the cutting edge when it comes to technology.  Some say it’s not fair to those eight million households.  Hey, nobody said life was fair.  Besides, maybe some of those in these households will rediscover reading which might have an impact on community involvement which might in turn have an effect on the leadership of the community which might in turn make a difference in what is happening in the city, the state, the country and the world.  Nahhhh.  Get converters for them.

Before Christmas I posted on the similarity appearance-wise between the mascot of Mad Magazine and the governor of Illinois. Imagine my surprise when a short time after that I ran across the editorial cartoon of Bill Day in the Commercial Appeal.  For those who didn’t see it, here was Mr. Day’s offering:

bill-day-cartoonNow I understand that it is entirely possible that Mr. Day came up with this idea on his own but what are the odds?  I’m just saying that’s all.  Do I get a cut on this somehow.

Finally, this question comes from phil:

were you at wrec when they had a children’s show on sunday morning called “safari”–it featured the weather girl cindy whipple and the director of the memphis zoo–do you remember his name?

It’s me again.  Can anyone help Phil out with an answer here?  If you can, post it here.  Now back to your regular programming.


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11 Comments on “Let’s Do That Digital Conversion Thing Already, Do I Get a Credit for This Particular Idea? Plus, I Have a Question about a Show that Used to Air in Memphis.”

  1. Richard Says:

    About the digital conversion….didn’t I hear that the feds were running out of money for the converter boxes and that they were going to put the program on hold for a while?

    If so, then they shoud delay the switch over until every household has a box. We should have seen this coming being our government was involved.

    Just my opinion mind you!

  2. JD Says:

    Hi Joe…….I think the gentleman’s last name was Perkins. (Not Marlon Perkins of Mutual of Omaha/Director Emeritus of St. Louis Zoo, fame.) This may have been during the time frame when there was a great interest in televised animals both wild and domestic. I’ll have to go back to the “grey matter” files to come up with the full name.

    In the meantime, here is a cute animal story you might want to look at:

  3. Ready camera one, take two Says:

    Would it have perhaps been Charles Wilson?

  4. Ready camera one, take two Says:

    BTW…re: the Bill Day cartoon…as one of my college professors once said, “Originality is forgetting where you heard it.”

  5. Ready camera one, take two Says:

    Another BTW, welcome back. As I once had the opportunity of conveying to you in person, I very much appreciate your blog. You cover in it what Tom Walter never could get into. Keep up the good blogging! It’s kind of like Holly Hunter in “Broadcast News” talking on the phone to a colleague about an over-the-shoulder graphic on last night’s 6.
    And another thing what’s with all of the bad chroma-keys at the majority of the stations?

  6. Doug Johnson Says:

    I dunno nuthin’ about this Big Switch mess… long as I kin see my stories.

    As far as Phil’s question: I don’t know the answer. But if you’re going to take Bill Day to task for possibly appropriating your concept, shouldn’t you worry about Memphis Magazine’s Ask Vance getting after you for fielding questions on Memphis lore?

  7. joelarkins Says:

    Okay Doug, You got me on the “Ask Vance” thing. I guess I’m not up to speed on that one.


  8. Too late, I have already “Asked Vance” to bring to your site his wisdom. Don’t be surprised to hear from his vast archive of knowledge soon.

    For all of you who have yet to enjoy his work, I have attached a link to his blog, and you can always find his handy work in “Memphis Magazine”

    Always entertaining and informative.

    Enjoy… and oh yeah, it’s about to get “nasty” cold here in the Mid-South.

  9. The GM Says:

    Joe,
    I believe the deadline has always been 2/17. To move it now would be very costly for TV stations. My station is a V. We built a tempory digital UHF. We are going back to our original channel position on the VHF for digital. Operating a UHF transmitter costs much more than a VHF transmitter. If the gov’t delays the deadline, stations that have budgeted for lower utility bills will be hit with extra costs — at a time where revenue is down 25 to 30%.

    Consider this. We’ve spent millions building out digital plants. We cannot recoup that money by charging more for ads. What does the client care? We spent a ton on our own air time value telling the public to get ready. Now, in this down economy; at a time when the broadcast industry is in a transformaiton; the government is going to add more cost to broadcasters who are seeing revenue shrink! Yeah, makes sense to me.

    I believe what you will see is that many stations will make the switch on 2/17 whether the government extends the deadline or not.

    Welcome to the Nanny State!

    The GM

  10. JD Says:

    Hi Joe! I truly believe that the gentleman in question may have been Charles Perkins. At the same time, I am not 100% sure as it would depend on what time period Cindy Whipple was at 3. The title “Weather Girl” is way out of political correctness at this time s she had to have been there a while back.

    Side Bar: Dick Potter used to do a children’s television show in the old days, and if I recall correctly he called himself the old prospector and dressed up in a Davy Crockett outfit. The show was called Frontier Days and was done over at Channel 5. Trent Wood and Professor Hill from Southwestern (now Rhodes)came later with Loony Zoo.

    Historical note is that I think his was the first to have a live animal come on the show for educational purposes and not just entertainment.

    I know!…I know!….useless information from early broadcast days.

  11. Bill McMurry Says:

    Cindy Whipple was the weekend “Weather Girl” at WREG-TV3 in the mid 70’s…about 75 or 76…at which time she also hosted “Safari” (co-host was a gorilla that often was reading a copy of Money magazine at the show open). She became a reporter for WREG-TV News about 77. She was also in sales at WMPS radio during the “Weather Girl” days. If someone could reference back the Memphis Zoo Director for that time period, you’d have the name.


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