WNVT-TV Becomes First 'Digital-Only' Broadcast Station in Washington, DC

Sep 12, 2003, 01:00 ET from MHz NETWORKS

    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