Stations Make Switch to Digital

February 01, 2009 | Kathy Marson

If you're a fan of Christian television, you know the digital conversion deadline, Feb. 17, is upon us. In Spokane, Wash., He's Alive TV converted to digital the first week of December 2008. Positive Lifestyle Network (in Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Wash.) is not planning to go digital, but are increasing efforts to get on their local cable provider. Blue Mountain TV in College Place, Wash., will convert channel 36 to digital.

He's Alive TV Board voted to go digital before the deadline to reach early adopters and purchasers of digital equipment as well as the masses at the deadline. The beauty of digital television is the quality of the picture and the greater the reach of the signal. Joe Stanfill, He's Alive TV station manager, says, "We were able to get our digital transmitter up and running at 50 watts of power. Once we can transmit at 250 watts its reach will be more like a 10,000-watt analogue transmitter." He's Alive Television has permission to be at full power when they receive some final upgrade equipment and when they are able to move into new quarters.

He's Alive TV will also be able to broadcast two channels simultaneously with their new digital transmitter. As soon as they are back up and running, viewers in Spokane will be able to watch He's Alive TV (local programming and 3ABN) on channel 39.1; and Hope TV (the official Adventist channel) on 39.2.

Positive Lifestyle Network is pushing for cable rather than switching to digital. They have held meetings with the local cable provider to impress upon them the needs of the community. Frank Shuitt, president of the Positive Lifestyle Network board, says, "We are in a retirement community where the retirement centers carry cable and do not pay extra to get the faith and values package. So we have made the cable companies aware of this." 3ABN is included with the faith and values package but PLN offers local programming on their channel 49 that would better meet the needs of the community. One specific program, Native New Day, will only reach its intended audience if carried on cable.

Blue Mountain TV erected their tower to carry digital signal from channel 36. They have installed a digital transmitter and, weather permitting, will have digital transmission long before the February deadline. Blue Mountain is already on cable in their area and working toward reaching out to Tri-Cities, Wash. Dan Thesman, station manager, says, "This is an extremely exciting time for our television ministry, but most importantly, viewers must take action now in order to prepare themselves for digital television. That's because once we switch to digital, they'll need to either have a digital TV, a digital converter box or be a cable subscriber."

For more information about what you need to know regarding the nationwide digital television (DTV) transition, visit or call 1-888-DTV-2009.