(Fact) Check Please!

Time for a word on the transition to digital television.  OK, not really.  If you’ve turned on a TV in the last year, you’ve heard enough about it.  (However I will predict, the price of those Dtv converter boxes will drop to $25 in April, when all the government coupons expire.)

So if your still with me, what I really want to chime in about is a radio talk show I heard tonight on my way home.

The Roger Hedgecock Show is a conservative a.m. talk show.  I usually listen to NPR, but after 7:00 on Wednesday nights it Celtic music time, and I’m not big on bagpipes.  So I switched over to hear some talk.

It’s not the ultra conservative nature of the show that stuck me (I knew what expect,) it was the outrageous errors passed off as facts.  Most of these shows will exaggerate, or draw hazy connections to make their points.

Hedgecock had some confusion distinguishing HDTV from Dtv.  “If you watch football on HDTV you can’t go back.  It’s like the difference between color, and black and white.”  He did say Dtv is like HDTV, just a step down.  We’ll let that one slide.

The confusion continued with his understanding of basic broadcast, saying the government shouldn’t care how stations broadcast, analog, digital, “let them use cans and string.”  Well, the public airwaves are used for many things, tv, radio, cell phones, and air traffic communications, to name a few.  A few rules just may be needed to make sure these paths don’t cross.  I don’t want to be in the air with a pilot unsure about clearance because HotJams FM wondered off frequency.

You don’t need to know radio to talk on the radio.  But if you’re going to talk about radio on the radio, a little knowledge is helpful.

Hedgecock was unhappy about the government handing out $80 coupons for converter boxes.  These are actually $40 coupons.  He’s worried “the poor” will exchange them for “blow or food stamps.”  And “the poor” should be able to afford cable, he continues, basic cable is only $10 a month.  The tiny bit of checking I did shows that basic cable rates for Texas in 2007 were higher on average then $14.50, three on the list topped $20.  Add on the other fees and taxes, and $10 just won’t cut it.

But to be fair, Hedgecock did say he wasn’t sure about basic cable rates because he has “like 900 channels” that he “doesn’t watch.”  And I do believe him on that.  Like I said, if you’ve turned on a TV in the last year, you know about the Dtv transition (and the $40 coupon.)

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