Fayette County

KET, WKYT go digital on Thursday

The switch to digital television continues this week with PBS member network KET and CBS affiliate WKYT-27 converting.

KET will turn off its analog signals at 12:01 a.m. local time on Thursday. (KET operates in the Eastern and Central time zones.) WKYT-27 will convert at 1 p.m. Thursday. Read more on WKYT's conversion in Thursday's Herald-Leader.

KET will offer several ways for viewers unable to see programming to request help, said spokesman Tim Bischoff. They can call a help line at 1-866-291-8189, e-mail dtvhelp@ket.org or visit www.ket.org/dtv. The federal government also has a guide to everything from converter boxes to coupons at www.dtv2009.gov.

KET has been operating its telephone help line for more than a year and has served more than 7,000 viewers, Bischoff said.

KET and other stations were set to convert Feb. 17, but Congress, concerned about the public's preparedness, agreed to allow stations to switch as late as June 12.

Only ABC affiliate WTVQ-36 and Hazard CBS affiliate WYMT-57 have switched in Central and Eastern Kentucky and did so Feb. 17.

KET planned to change then, too, but held off because of the ice storm that crippled Western Kentucky.

"The last thing you want is for people without power to have it turned back on and then, all of a sudden, KET's not there," Bischoff said.

But it costs so much to run the analog transmitters — $15,000 a month, Bischoff said — that KET can't afford to delay longer.

"Especially in these lean budget times where we're counting every penny, we've got to be diligent with that," he said.