Commentary: Answers about Selective TV's temporary loss of channels
By Lonnie Wing, Selective TV board member/office manager
The following commentary reflects my own thoughts and does not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual board member or the view of the Selective TV board of directors as a whole.
First of all, let me reassure everyone that Selective TV is not in any danger of imminent financial collapse. I want that to be clear because I do get questions from people who are considering cutting the cable and switching to over-the-air television provided by Selective TV. They want to be sure that Selective TV will be there for them. Rest assured it will. Current revenue is sufficient to pay the bills. In fact Selective TV enlists new members regularly; three more were just added on Tuesday, March 31.
From 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 28 through noon on Tuesday, March 31, for a total of 70 hours, Selective TV was unable to broadcast all four major television networks and a number of other stations.
This equipment failure and resulting channel loss could not have come at a worse time for a couple of reasons. First of all, we are all at home social distancing, and secondly because it happened on a weekend, it delayed the arrival of replacement equipment.
On more than one occasion it has been suggested that Selective TV intentionally shut down in an effort to motivate non-contributing viewers to become contributing viewers. For a number of reasons this is not an action the board of directors would ever consider taking. We have contractual obligations we have to honor and perhaps more to the point, it wouldn’t work. While this recent 70-hour outage was totally unexpected, and resolved quickly given the circumstances, it gave us all a sense of what it would be like if Selective TV and local low cost over-the-air television did not exist. It wasn’t fun. Based on the shear number of phone calls, e-mails, and text messages received at the Selective TV office and by individual board members, it was abundantly clear that the service Selective TV provides is extremely important, and for some essential.
As a locally built, operated, and funded nonprofit entity, Selective TV relies on the voluntary contributions and memberships of everyone who uses the system, that includes full-time residents, summer residents, apartment building occupants and owners, condominiums and businesses.
The question of whether or not to become a contributor/member is both a practical, and a moral question. At $120 a year for 60 channels I think it’s an easy question to answer.
The more members/contributors Selective TV has the better and more reliably it can do the job of providing low cost over-the-air television now and into the future. To learn more, visit selectivetv.org, or call the Selective TV office at 320-763-5924.