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PNS Daily Newscast - October 27, 2020 

Protests as Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to U.S. Supreme Court; New York targets transportation, the state's biggest source of carbon pollution.

2020Talks - October 27, 2020 

U.S. Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in a nearly party-line vote. GOP Sen. Susan Collins, up for reelection, is the lone vote against.

Bridging the Digital Divide for Kentucky

June 10, 2009

Whitesburg, Ky. – Friday will be a big day in the history of television. June 12 is the official day for the switch from analog to digital television (DTV) broadcasting. It means Kentuckians who rely on free, over-the-air TV on older-model sets need to have a digital converter box hooked up, or all they'll see is snow on the screen.

Jonathan Lawson, executive director of the advocacy group Reclaim the Media, says TV stations have been doing a good job explaining that the change is near. However, the people who most depend on their old TVs with the "rabbit-ear" style antennas are also the ones least likely to know about the switch, or to afford the cost of converter boxes. His group is working to make sure that the change doesn't compromise their ability to get the news they depend on.

"Free TV is a lifeline of public safety information and local news for a lot of people. That's more true for low-income folks, for seniors and for immigrants, than it is for any other group."

Mimi Pickering with Appalshop, an arts and education center based in Whitesburg, says there is a twist to consider. Low-power local stations are not switching to digital, so a digital converter box needs to include an analog pass-through for people who depend on those stations, usually minority and immigrant groups.

"The Hmong community, the Somali channel, and there are ethnic communities getting their news and information about their homeland from these channels."

Congress authorized $40 coupons for purchasing the digital converter boxes in an effort to keep television access free, even after the conversion. Today, there are plenty of online sites where you can buy a converter box for the $40 coupon value - but, Lawson says, finding a box at a local electronics store at the coupon value is not so easy.

"The government coupons, still available for free, will provide $40 off the cost of the box. Unfortunately, local retailers have mostly been selling boxes in the $60 to $100 range."

There are several DTV informational events and clinics this week in Kentucky. Find them online at http:// On the same site, you'll also find details on how to hook up a converter box.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - KY