Viewers Not Happy With What They See After Yuma Stations Put Under One Roof

By Kevin Eck 

npg_304The plan to put all the Yuma, Ariz. market stations owned or operated by News-Press & Gazette under one roof has not gone as smoothly as planned.

According to the Yuma Sun, viewers started noticing signal problems after NBC affiliate KYMA, CBS affiliate KSWT, FOX, ABC, CW and Telemundo affiliate KECY were consolidated as part of a shared services agreement between Blackhawk Broadcasting and NP&G in July.

About six weeks ago, and “without any warning whatsoever, stations 11 and 13… started pixelating, started cutting programs and commercials in the middle of the program, having un-synchronous video and audio, and literally having frozen video with audio underneath,” Frederic B. Brown told the Yuma Sun recently.

George Lopez, chief engineer for the stations said it’s complicated.

“One of the things that made it a little more difficult is NBC requires us to have their own satellite equipment. CBS also was a little challenging, because KSWT was operated remotely from a place in Texas. So all the receiving equipment for the network was in Texas at the time. We took some of the equipment and shipped it cross country, but in the meantime, we had to operate on a semi-temporary basis. We just now are getting over that hump – getting the equipment from CBS, and putting it up.”

Brown wants the city to get involved.

“Is the local government, which is supposed to answer to its citizens, prepared to do anything about it?”

The city is “aware of it, and we are monitoring it,” Deputy Administrator Ricky Rinehart told the Yuma Sun.

However, the city has no direct authority over the local affiliates because they fall under the jurisdiction of the FCC.

The city has “absolutely nothing” to do with the transition, Rinehart said. “We have no control over that whatsoever.”

The FCC did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the issue from the Yuma Sun.

Despite the setbacks, [GM of the stations Paul] Heebink believes the final product will be of superior quality when the transition is complete and renovations to the news building on 4th Avenue have been finished.

“That is probably the pill that is hardest to swallow, because we have been telling viewers (their) viewing experience is going to improve because it is all going to be in HD,” he said. “That also causes some hurdles for us. If we send it out in standard definition, we wouldn’t have as many hurdles to jump. But because we are sending in high definition, that creates a little bit more complications for us.”