Television: January 2008 Archives

Television: Newsmakers Jan 2, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

The government is now offering $40 coupons that consumers can use to apply towards the cost of a converter box that will let their old analog TV work when the complete switch to digital television takes place in a little over a year. A government-run Digital TV Website began offering the coupons New Year's Day. Consumers fill out a very simple form and, sometime late next month or in March when the converters go on sale, the site promises to mail out coupons that will give a $40 discount on the cost of the converters. You can get up to two of the coupons per household... Get your digital TV converter coupon (Wed, 1/2)


Television: Newsmakers Jan 11, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

Michigan lawmakers are crafting a bill to reverse Comcast's plan to exile public access programming from the low-numbered stations to digital-only channels positioned in the 900s. State Reps. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights, and Steve Bieda, D-Warren, are drafting the bill, which is to go before the Legislature next week. Although it won't be introduced until after the cable provider's Tuesday switch, if approved, the bill would require Comcast to revert to the original format. In order to pass, it must get 56 House and 20 Senate votes. Meanwhile, Bieda brought forth a nonbinding resolution Wednesday to the House, vocalizing his opposition to Comcast's plan. The Macomb County politicians joined the fight against Comcast after hearing complaints from local leaders and constituents in their districts. They say Comcast's requirement that 1.3 million Michigan subscribers go digital is a major inconvenience and is possibly violating a federal law that ensures government channels are in basic cable packages... Comcast channel changes opposed (Fri, 1/11)

The city of Dearborn and Meridian Township near Lansing sued Comcast cable in federal court in Detroit today to block a plan that would move local access channels up the dial on Tuesday and require non-digital basic subscribers to get digital converter boxes to continue receiving those channels. “They are taking away a service that should be provided to subscribers,” said Deborah Guthrie, Meridian Township cable coordinator, after the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit. She said Comcast’s unilateral decision would cost basic subscribers $4 to $5 per month per television for access boxes — over and above the free box Comcast is offering subscribers with analogue televisions for one year... Lawsuit filed to block Comcast channel moves (Fri, 1/11)

Grand Rapids Press:

Jon Koeze, administrator of the city's cable television access Channel 26, does not score big ratings on most evenings. Now he is afraid a switch by Comcast cable will ruin one of his biggest nights of the year Tuesday. City cable subscribers who look for city results from Tuesday's presidential primary election will not find them on Channel 26. That is because Comcast is moving its public, educational and government channels to Channel 915 that same day. Unless viewers have a converter box from Comcast or own the latest digital-compatible television, they will not be able to tune into Channel 915, Koeze said... Comcast switch may limit GR's election coverage (Fri, 1/11)

Lansing State Journal:

Communities across mid-Michigan are running into the fallout of a 2006 state law altering oversight of cable television. The consensus view appears to be one of unhappiness at changes in which community content will appear. The most viable solution: Look more to the technology of the Internet to deliver community and school news. Causing the angst is cable giant Comcast's decision to move public access channels from their traditional home in the basic cable tier (think low-numbered channels) to new slots in the 900-range. Unfortunately, the way to access the 900-range is to have Comcast's digital (pricier) service, or acquire a special converter box to capture the public channels... Public TV: Comcast shift on public access enhances importance of Web (Fri, 1/11)

Muskegon Chronicle:

Viewers of Muskegon City Commission action televised over government access channel 97 will have to obtain a digital converter box if they want to keep watching after Tuesday. Comcast Cable Communications is moving the local government programming to channel 915, despite a city commission resolution requesting the existing channel locations be maintained. Public education programming, including that of Muskegon Community College, will move to Comcast channel 902, local religious access to channel 924 and Michigan Government Television to 187. To receive any of those channels, viewers will need a converter box if they don't already have digital-ready television sets or subscribe to Comcast's digital cable service... Public channel TV viewers will need to convert (Thu, 1/10)


Government Mandated End of Analog Television Set for February 17, 2009. Michigan Association of Broadcasters Developing Consumer Information and Education Program

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) is urging Michigan citizens to make sure they are prepared for the upcoming transition to digital television. Under federal law, analog television broadcasting is scheduled to end on February 17, 2009. At that time all television broadcasting will be transmitted in a digital format only. (Note: some low power television stations will be allowed to continue broadcasting their analog signals after this date, but will also eventually be switching to a digital format)

“The transition to digital television represents a major transition in television history,” said MAB Board Chairman Bart Brandmiller, Director of Sales for Clear Channel Radio in West Michigan. “Though the transition presents some challenges for broadcasters and consumers, we will do everything in our power to see that Michigan citizens will be fully prepared.”

The federal government mandated the switch from traditional analog television to digital in order to conserve limited spectrum space at a time when demand is high for wireless devices and emergency first responder need. Digital television (DTV) broadcasts significantly higher quality pictures and sound than the analog format. DTV also provides more variety in programming through digital sub-channels or multicasting, and will vacate the current analog spectrum, leaving it available for the Federal Communications Commission to auction off for new technologies.

Traditional analog television sets are not compatible with the digital format. In order to receive digital television, consumers will need to take one of the following steps before February 17, 2009:

1) Switch to a cable, satellite or telephone company service provider, in which case analog sets will continue to function. Consumers that already receive their television signals through cable, satellite or telephone companies will see no difference, and will not be required to purchase new equipment;

2) Purchase a new TV set with a built-in digital tuner; or

3) Purchase a DTV converter box that will convert the new digital signal into the old format for an existing analog television set. Analog TV consumers may also require a new set top antenna depending on the antenna they already have.

The federal government has set aside $1.5 billion to fund a program to provide coupons towards the purchase of converter boxes. There are four ways consumers can apply for a coupon:

• Apply online at

• Call the coupon program’s 24-hour hot line, 888-388-2009;

• Mail a coupon application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000; or

• Fax a coupon application to 877-388-4632.

Converter boxes will be available through many major electronic retailers.

One of the challenges in the DTV transition is ensuring that all Michigan citizens are aware of the scheduled end of analog broadcasting, and have the resources necessary to prepare their households for DTV. Of particular concern are the estimated 600,000 Michigan households that are receiving television signal on an over-the-air basis only. Many of those at-risk households represent elderly, economically disadvantaged and rural residents.

“Television is a crucial communications link to the world, and often times is the only resource for vital news and emergency information for many of our citizens,” said MAB President & CEO Karole White. “Purchasing a new television set may not be an option for many people, so we have to make sure that proper resources are in place so their access to emergency information via television is uninterrupted.”

MAB is developing a statewide information and education program that will be formally announced in February. The MAB DTV awareness campaign will involve a coalition of prominent organizations that represent many of the 600,000 at-risk households, as well as statewide television and radio public service announcements.

“MAB wants to ensure that every Michigan citizen is aware of this upcoming change and has the information they need to ensure they will continue to receive a television signal after February 17, 2009, said White.

The MAB has established a website with more detailed information about the DTV transition, which is


Television: Newsmakers Jan 15, 2008



Detroit News:

A federal judge late Monday temporarily halted plans by Comcast to move local public access channels to digital TV today. Those plans would have put the channels out of range for hundreds of thousands of basic cable subscribers in Michigan. The city of Dearborn and Meridian Township sued Comcast in federal court Friday and asked U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts for an injunction to stop the move. "It gives us the opportunity to make sure there's a careful examination of what's correct before a decision is made," Dearborn Mayor John "Jack" O'Reilly said Monday night. "We just want to make sure the local programming people rely upon is going to be available to them." A Comcast spokesman said he could not immediately comment on the ruling. The channels in question typically feature coverage of local council meetings, educational programming and notices of community events... Fed judge stops Comcast's channel changes (Tue, 1/15)

Detroit Free Press:

A federal judge late Monday temporarily halted Comcast cable's plans to move community access channels higher up the dial today, putting them beyond the reach of thousands of Michigan cable subscribers with analog televisions. The decision by U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts in Detroit temporarily prevents Comcast from moving PEG -- public, educational and governmental access -- channels across the state into the 900-level digital range. The move would require subscribers with analog televisions to buy digital cable-ready televisions or rent or buy a digital converter box for each set to continue receiving those channels. Comcast, which offered to provide customers with a free converter box -- a $4-a-month value -- for one year, said the move was designed to free up bandwidth so it could offer more services, including high-definition channels, to its tech-hungry customers... Comcast channel changes on hold (Tue, 1/15)


Television: Newsmakers Jan 18, 2008



New season, new host for CCHA All Access

The second season of CCHA All Access on FSN Detroit features the same great behind-the-scenes look at college hockey’s most dynamic conference, but the show takes on a new feel with the arrival of host Michael Kosta.

Kosta, a professional stand-up comic, brings his wit, enthusiasm and energy to CCHA All Access, which is scheduled to premiere Friday, Jan. 25 at 7:00 & 10:00 PM. A new episode of the 10-week show premieres each subsequent Friday at 6:30 or 7:00 PM and also airs Saturdays at 11:00 AM.

The premiere edition is the first of a two-part episode originating from Fairbanks, Alaska where Kosta and the All Access crew was on hand to see the Alaska Nanooks host the defending national champion Michigan State Spartans. They followed first year coach Doc DelCastillo, captain T.J. Campbell, and an army of Nanook faithful to get an up-close look at hockey in the great white north. From the practice ice, to the film sessions, to the locker room speeches…from 60-below afternoon temperatures, 30-foot tall inflatable polar bears and dogsled rides, Fairbanks is unlike no other hockey town (see a preview of the first episode at

It’s all in a weekend’s work for the crew that spans the CCHA to take you on-campus and in the middle of the action. Other destinations this season include Notre Dame, Ferris State, Bowling Green, Lake Superior State, Michigan State and Michigan.

Kosta, a native of Ann Arbor who now resides in Los Angeles, is a rising star on the comedy circuit. He is a popular act in clubs around the country, makes numerous local and national radio appearances, and has displayed his talents through television on Comedy Central, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and the HBO/US Comedy Festival. Kosta also is a former assistant tennis coach at Michigan and played three years in the professional ranks earning world rankings in both singles and doubles. He was two-time Michigan state high school champion at Ann Arbor Huron and was a four-time Big Ten champion at the University of Illinois where he earned his degree in speech communications. He recently authored the book 101 Tips for Winning More Tennis Matches and currently independently teaches tennis nationwide.


FSN celebrates Black History Month



FSN has announced plans to celebrate Black History Month with a series of national and local programming initiatives designed to honor the contributions of African Americans to American culture, both inside and outside the world of sports.

For the first time ever, FSN’s programming plans will include a national component, including a half-hour special – “Americans in Focus” – that chronicles compelling stories compelling stories of African Americans who struggled to overcome obstacles to achieve greatness in their field. Among those are civil rights icons with Detroit connections – Rosa Parks and Ralph Bunche:

• Americans In Focus (30-minute special) – Sat. Feb. 9 @ 6:30 PM & Mon. Feb. 18 @ 7:30 PM on FSN Detroit. This show features extraordinary achievements of African Americans and their perseverance for equality in society and/or sports during a period when racial segregation was the law of the land. Profiles include civil rights trail blazers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., legendary Detroiter Rosa Parks, Arthur Ashe, and Larry Doby, as well as former slave-turned entrepreneur Bridget “Biddy” Mason, Nobel Peace Prize-winner and Detroit native Ralph Bunche, and Charles Cooper, the first African American drafted by an NBA team.

• Black History Month Tributes, presented by Toyota – FSN Detroit commemorates Black History Month by presenting a series of 30- and 60-second tributes airing within Pistons telecasts and other programming throughout February. The tributes, presented by Toyota, were taped on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Among the presenters are Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter and museum president/CEO Juanita Moore. The tributes recognize landmark events, significant accomplishments and influential individuals.

Also airing on FSN Detroit during Black History Month:

• ’51 Dons: Pride, Honor, & Friendship – Sat. Feb. 9 @ 6:00 PM & Mon. Feb. 25 @ 7:30 PM on FSN Detroit. This 30-minute program tells the story of the 1951 University of San Francisco Dons, which entered the college football season fielding a team that would go undefeated (9-0) and which produced nine NFL players, including three future Hall of Famers (Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson, and Bob St. Clair). The team was the school’s best ever, but it never went to a bowl game. It was an era of segregation, and when the only bowl to express interest in the Dons was the Orange Bowl, promoters let it be known they would invite USF only if they left their two African-American players behind. The team refused rather than compromise their values.

• Americans in Focus (90-second vignettes). Airing during FSN’s NBA and NHL telecasts and other programming, this first-time vignette series will showcase past and present African Americans who have excelled in professions that initially were considered outside the realm of possibility for a person of color. Subjects include: Bessie Coleman, the first licensed African-American female pilot; Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut (and namesake of the Mae C. Jamison Academy in Detroit); renowned artist Ernie Barnes, one of the most collected painters in the U.S.; and photographer, writer, and filmmaker Gordon Parks, the first African American to work as staff photographer for Life Magazine.

In producing the national shows, FSN has partnered with Beezley Films, Inc., an African-American-owned, multi-media production company based in Los Angeles. FSN had previously worked with Beezley Films on the critically acclaimed Crosstown Rivals, which chronicled the historic high school football rivalry in Los Angeles between Pasadena High School and John Muir High School.

FSN’s Black History Month programming will be showcased across all of its regional sports networks.







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This page is a archive of entries in the Television category from January 2008.

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