WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the few independent public televisions stations in the country, WNVT-TV, of MHz NETWORKS, is the first broadcast station in the Washington, DC metropolitan area to be granted permission from the FCC to cease analog broadcasting and commence operating as a digital-only television station. WNVT (MHz2) is the first public station nationwide to have received such permission. Special allowance from the FCC was originally sought because simultaneous operation of both analog and digital facilities through the DTV transition process was not a feasible option, given WNVT's limited financial means. By operating as a digital-only station, WNVT will save not only on operational costs, but construction costs as well. In preparation for the digital transition, such large-scale projects as installing a combined antenna and strengthening the WNVT Tower would have been required and further strained resources. By ceasing analog operations, WNVT can now appropriate more of those resources toward the digital conversion, in addition to maintaining its unique blend of original and multicultural programming. The impact on WNVT "over-the-air" viewership will be nominal as most viewers currently utilize satellite or cable television. MHz NETWORKS Executive Vice President and General Manager, Frederick Thomas, comments, "Digital broadcasting provides viewers with free, digital-quality TV -- it's a well-kept secret, but won't be for long." After relinquishing its NTSC license for Channel 53, WNVT will operate under its new "digital-only" status as WNVT-DT on DTV Channel 30. The anticipated date of the transitional switch to digital is November 1, 2003. This timeframe is three years ahead of schedule with regard to the FCC's mandate for all broadcasters to return the analog spectrum back to the government by 2006. First established in 1972, WNVT currently showcases Russian World TV, which airs 7 days a week and includes Russian movies of all genres, documentaries, news and educational shows. This global programming epitomizes MHz NETWORKS' broadcasting theory, as other cultures of the world can be brought to the communities that comprise them, locally. WNVT's sister station is WNVC-TV (MHz) which also delivers international programming, in addition to original productions including the Emmy-winning concert series, MHz Presents, and open.tv, an interactive technology show produced, created and hosted by teenagers. Through multicasting, another aspect of digital broadcasting, WNVT will be carrying WNVC's lineup as a separate digital stream. MHz NETWORKS is an independent, noncommercial, television network delivering international, educational and arts programming. MHz provides diverse cultural perspectives for a globally-minded audience. Serving the Washington DC area's 4.3 million residents, MHz NETWORKS features programs in 22 languages from 25 countries. For more information, visit www.mhznetworks.org.
SOURCE MHz NETWORKS