One of my favorite geeked-out pleasures is gone. Like a lot of folks in Philadelphia, I occasionally listened to TV on the radio (not to be confused with TV on the Radio). I'm talking about the analog signal of Channel 6-ABC, which used to come in at 87.7 FM. When I'm running late for my usual 6:30ish nighttime arrival in the office, I used to catch the first few minutes of "World News Tonight: (yes, even after this.). It's rare that I'm in the car at 7 p.m., but when it happened, I loved to try and compete on "Jeopardy" over the radio, despite a real disadvantage in the video "Daily Doubles" -- I warned you it was geeky.
Now that guilty pleasure is gone, in the name of progress.
Other people are having different problems with the switch from analog TV signals -- like those from Channel 6 that turned up on the car radio -- to all digital:
Thousands of over-the-air TV viewers lost 6ABC, the No. 1 local news station in the Philadelphia TV market, in Friday's national digital-TV transition. Along with Action News, 6ABC is popular because of its afternoon soaps, and Oprah.
Officials met in Washington yesterday to discuss a potential solution. Similar glitches in the transition were reported in New York and Chicago. Officials are afraid to boost the 6ABC digital-TV signal because it could lead to interference with FM radio stations in Philadelphia, or TV stations in other markets.
David Dombrowsky, an official with the Federal Communications Commission in Philadelphia, said the main issue seems to be with antennas, adding that people should experiment with different antennas.
Progress! Why does it always seem like one step forward is one step back? My own employer is guilty -- to get the newspapers out to everybody on time, including home delivery of the Daily News (a good thing!), it's been harder to get West Coast baseball scores in the paper, which used to be one of its biggest selling points. Despite similar political hurdles and much less advanced technology, TV did a much better job covering the Tiananmen Square crisis in 1989 than Tehran in 2009.