AETN pumps up the digital 

Fans of AETN who have been bemoaning the channel's low signal strength (or absence from the dial, depending on how far you are from their makeshift analog transmitter) since their tower fell back in January should have reason to smile by the time you read this – if, that is, their TV is newfangled enough to pick up a digital signal. Up to four new digital AETN channels are now on the air. Officials at the station say the pictures produced will be higher resolution and interference free.

AETN has been broadcasting its analog signal from the 900-foot KASN tower in Redfield since its 1,700-foot antenna there fell on Jan. 11. According to the AETN website, the station has been broadcasting its analog signal at 1 percent of original strength since coming back on the air a couple of weeks after the collapse. The digital signal, which originates from the Clear Channel Communications complex in Little Rock, was unaffected.

Starting Monday, Sept. 1, AETN went on the air with an additional high definition digital channel and two standard definition digital channels.

AETN Ch. 1 has been on the air for months, and will remain identical to AETN's analog signal. AETN 2 will feature AETN Create/World, a learning channel featuring do-it-yourself projects like painting, cooking, car repair, and other classes. AETN 3 will be AETN Scholar, a channel with distance learning courses for students seeking college credits and general learning programs for children. AETN 4 will be AETN Kids, with learning and animated programs aimed at preschoolers and children in kindergarten through seventh grade.

AETN plans to cease broadcasting its analog signal on Feb. 17, 2009, in compliance with an FCC mandated, nationwide shift to all-digital programming. 

Northwest Arkansas's KUOA 1290 AM, one of the oldest continuously broadcasting stations in the state, was approved for sale by the FCC in August and will adopt an all-sports format. The buyer was Hog Radio Inc., owned by Jay Bunyard of DeQueen.

KUOA was originally started by the University of Arkansas in the 1920s. Bunyard said that the station will be the only 24-hour sports station in Northwest Arkansas to broadcast on both AM and FM bands. The new station, headquartered in Springdale, will be an affiliate of the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network, and will broadcast Dallas Cowboys football. Programming will also be simulcast in Berryville on KRHS 1480 AM, a station Bunyard purchased in 2005. More information can be found at their new website, hogsnow.com.

I hate to give them even the slightest shred of publicity, but the online schedule of a certain group of shameless, homophobic attention-whores from Kansas says they plan to picket both days of this year's National Conference of Editorial Writers, which will be held at Little Rock's Peabody Hotel Sept. 19-20. In addition, the professional picketers plan on bringing their traveling freak show to the Clinton Library and the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville while in town.

Something tells me that God doesn't hate fags nearly as much as He hates smug, self-satisfied losers who go around mentally clubbing people in His name.

Correction: In the last media column, we reported that a wage and hiring freeze announced at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in August extended to all 13 WEHCO Media papers owned by Walter Hussman, including the Hot Springs Sentinel Record and the El Dorado News Times.

Paul Smith, president of Arkansas Democrat Gazette Inc., has phoned to say that while employee wages at WEHCO papers will indeed be frozen for the foreseeable future, the company will hire new employees, but only if they are absolutely necessary. That means, of course, that Hussman papers will not experience a hiring freeze per se, just a halt on any non-essential new hires. Sorry about the error.

Smith said that the rising cost of gasoline, newsprint and other essentials, coupled with a decline in advertising revenue, has put WEHCO in a financial bind. Though the family-owned company has been able to roll with ups and downs in the economy in the past without resorting to the harsh cost-cutting measures seen at publicly held papers, Smith said, “this time it's different,” and called the national financial crisis the worst since the Great Depression.


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