Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Shane Brown
PORTALES – Eastern New Mexico University's public television station, KENW-TV, is converting to digital broadcasting by 2003. A 733-foot tower and antenna is being constructed near the ENMU football stadium, according to Duane Ryan, director of Broadcasting. The transmission facility will provide digital television services to KENW viewers within a radius of 30-40 miles of the tower.
The three public television stations in New Mexico (UNM, NMSU, and ENMU) have been working together toward converting the stations to digital by 2003. New Mexico residents have provided major funding for the tower by authorizing the sale of $7.2 million dollars in state General Obligation Bonds, according to Danny Earp, vice president for Business Affairs. Additional funding has been received through a grant from the Public Television Facilities Program of the U.S. Commerce Dept.
The estimated cost of the overall project at ENMU is $2,500,000, which includes a new equipment building at the tower site.
Why the digital tower? The FCC has mandated that all television stations will convert to digital. Eventually the present analog TV technology will be phased out. The new digital technology has many advantages over the old system. The picture and sound quality are far superior. Another great advantage is that the digital system will allow KENW to broadcast four to six different channels of video, where now only one can be broadcast. This will provide a wider variety of programming, along with better picture quality, according to Ryan.
Ryan says that the tower will be strong enough to support other television stations that wish to use the tower for digital transmissions. The tower should be completed by the end of July.
For more information, contact Ryan at 505-562-2112 or stop by the Broadcast Center at ENMU weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Broadcast Center has an operating digital set that can be viewed.
Construction of the new digital TV tower is taking place near Greyhound Field. The tower is one of the many necessities to convert KENW from analog to digital television.
(photo by Shane Brown)