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Pioneer Public TV going digital on Tuesday

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APPLETON -- Pioneer Public Television Channel 10 in Appleton is among the over-the-air broadcasters planning to shut off its analog transmitters and go digital at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17.

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Less Heen, director of Pioneer Public Television said the station is keeping the Tuesday transition date. It has been working hard to inform viewers about it and what they need to do to prepare.

The station has turned off its analog transmission on three different occasions so that viewers who are relying on it would know it, he said.

Heen said the station has also offered 20 different programs to date informing people about the transition and what to do. It will also be holding call-in programs at 12 to 1 p.m. and again from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday for those who still have questions.

The station will also be keeping the phone lines open and staff at hand to field questions on Wednesday after the transition has occurred.

Heen said it is impossible to know just how many viewers in the station's service area rely on its over-the-air signal, and how many receive channel 10 through cable or low-power UHF systems. Those receiving television via cable or UHF do not need to make any changes. The low power, UHF systems serving the Willmar, Bird Island and Alexandria areas will continue their analog broadcasts.

The transition to digital has allowed Pioneer TV to expand its offering to four channels. The additional channels have been well received, said Heen.

He anticipates that overall, most viewers will be very pleased with the change to digital television. If there is confusion over the change, he expects most of it will be in those areas farthest from the Appleton broadcast tower. Viewers relying on a weak analog signal will discover that they need a better antenna to receive digital, he said.

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