To Whom It May Concern:
Having grown up in Arkansas, I know how important it is to keep up with severe weather. My family relies on the local television stations to keep us apprised of what is going on when severe weather hits. We live in a rural area and since the switch to digital television we are unable to get a good digital signal even with an antenna 15 feet above our roofline, especially in stormy weather. We can also no longer rely on our emergency portable TV because it doesn’t pick up a digital signal.
On the night of August 4, 2009, strong wings, hail and rain awakened us. We turned on the television to see what was happening. The signal came in long enough for us to see that we were under a tornado warning. Then we lost the signal and the television went blank. At least with analog TV, we could still hear what was happening even if the picture went fuzzy. I called to warn my sister and her family that bad storms were approaching. Since the switch to digital, they can no longer get a signal even with a converter box and antenna. They were able to take shelter just as the storm hit.
It was so frustrating not being able to know what was going on. The media implores us to pay attention to severe weather bulletins, but no concessions have been made for those of us who cannot get a digital signal. I wonder how many other families in rural areas have the same problem.
Luckily both my sister’s family and my family made it through the storm unscathed; however, we both worry about the next time severe weather strikes. Is there not a way to broadcast an analog signal in times of emergency for those of us who were not considered when the switch to digital was made? I appeal to you to consider those of us who depend on you to keep our families safe. Consider ways to broadcast to those of us who cannot get a digital signal.