Editorial: The Big Switch

Even though we are working very hard to inform people both over the air, on our Web site and other means, we continue to get tons of inquiries about the "The Big Switch" from analog to digital TV that will happen in February of 2009.

That's a good thing, because we want people to be as informed and as ready as possible to receive WDAM and other local channels when the switch goes into effect on February 17.

If you subscribe to Comcast Cable, you have nothing to worry about, they'll take care of the technicalities for you. If you are on another cable system, you might want to call and ask. Since, despite our fervent desire to be carried by the satellite providers such as Directv and the Dish Network, they still do not carry local stations in the Laurel-Hattiesburg market or on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

You will need to be able to pick us and the other local stations up over the airwaves. To do that you will need to have a digital TV, a TV with a digital receiver built in, or a converter box.

The converter boxes are available almost everywhere televisions are sold. Click on "The Big Switch" at wdam.com for information on how to get coupons to help defray the costs. But don't wait.

There is a limited number and in addition to a converter box; you may well need a digital antenna to continue to pickup your favorite local stations.

Digital TV is a wonderful thing and the government is trying to help with the transition. This is, after all, their mandate. You don't want to wait until there is no more analog television to find out whether you have a problem.

We will keep you as informed as we can, but there are some things you must prepare for if you are not on a cable system like Comcast that will take care of everything for you. We sure would hate to lose you come February, even for a short time.

I'm Jim Cameron and that's today's Viewpoint.

Contact Jim Cameron at jcameron@wdam.com