Messenger-Inquirer from Owensboro, Kentucky on October 26, 1979 · 33
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Messenger-Inquirer from Owensboro, Kentucky · 33

Owensboro, Kentucky
Issue Date:
Friday, October 26, 1979
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ssnigerdnqutrer Abby- 4-d Calendar 2-0 Local scene Z!!""!"..2 to 4-D Music 5to7-D OWENSBORO, KY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1979 SECTON I - - : p t; r " --Ooug Pijac, MitMngw-lnqulrar Workmen adjust a microwave transmission unit atnn a tmur at n.n,. r blevislon on U.S. M in Owensboro. The tower is being readied to send television signals to a new HawesviUe cable network (ranschise which is expected to open in week to ten days. Old-time music fest Break out your fiddle By KEITH LAWRENCE MMngr -Inquirer National banjo champion Gary Davis of Hixon, Tenn., and several regional fiddle champions are expected to be among the bluegrass musicians arriving in town today for the first Owensboro Old-Time Fiddling Convention this weekend at Towne Square Mall. Seventeen-year-old Jimmy Mattingly of Grayson County, a former Kentucky and Tennessee junior fiddling champion; Clyde Hartman of Columbia, Tenn., a former Tennessee Valley champion fiddler; and J. T. Perkins of Arab, Ala., a former Kentucky and Tennessee Valley champion fiddler have said that they plan to compete in the Owensboro tournament. Irvin Royal of Owensboro, the current Tennessee and Alabama harmonica champion, says he will try to take his hometown title in French harp competition. Don Ralph of Caneyville, convention coordinator, has said he expects approximately 150 musicians from Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee to compete in 11 musical contests tonight and Saturday. "My son's an old-time fiddler and we've made the circuit of these contests throughout the southeast this year leaving flyers about the (Owensboro) convention," he said. "I expect a good turnout." A total of $3,500 in prize money will be awarded along with trophies to winners of the various contests. The Owensboro prize money is a little higher than that found in most of the old-time fiddling conventions, Ralph said, and is expected to attract "a lot of good musicians." Gay Gipe, marketing director at the mall, said she has no way of anticipating how many people the music convention might attract because registration doesn't begin until 3 p.m. today. "I've got 500 chairs set up (for spectators)," she said . "But I'm afraid this thing could outgrow the mall in a few years if it's successful." Contests elminations begin at 6 tonight with bluegrass bands, harmonica players and buck dancers squaring off on the stage near the mall entrance to Sears. At 10 a.m. Saturday, eliminations will begin in flat top guitar, fiddle band, senior fiddle (age 60 and older), mandolin, beginner fiddle (through age 15), bluegrass banjo, junior fffldle (through age 59) and rhythm guitar competition. Finals in all 11 categories are scheduled Jr. to start at 6 p.m. Saturday. The convention finale will feature a "fiddle-off" between the first place winners in the junior and senior fiddle categories. Winner of the "fiddle-off" will receive $100 and a trophy. First-place prize money is $200 in the junior fiddle, senior fiddle, fiddle band and bluegrass band categories and $100 in all other categories except buckdancing, where first place is worth $40. Most categories carry prize money down to fourth place but bluegrass and fiddle bands only go to third place and the rhythm guitar contest has prize money only for first place ($100). Electric instruments and drums are not permitted in the competition. Area musicians can register for, the competition as late as Saturday morning in those categories that do not have eliminations tonight. There is no admission charge. Right on the beam. . . After 5 years KET's coming on strong in Owensboro By JOHN BROSKY Mingr-lnquirr When the Daviess County Vocational School was torn down in 1974, most Daviess County television viewers lost Kentucky Educational Television, too. But weather and engineers willing, KET should be beaming back into the area by Christmas. Except for those viewers with rahlp nr exceptionally strong antennas, there has been a five-year lapse in service from the state-owned and tax-financed network to the state's third most populous region. Len Press, executive director for KET, explains: "The translator, with a maximum (signal) of 1,000 watts was not satisfactory . . .compared to a transmitter with half a million watts. And at that time we had no money to do anything else." The translator, which merely boosted the signal from KET's Madisonville transmitter, was originally installed on the vocational school's tower because "it would do something," to improve the weak signal, according to Press. "When the system was built, the idea was to cover the entire state in the most cost-efficient manner. We couldn't put a transmitter in every community of size . . .there are so many of them. There was not enough money to do them all. And rural areas are just as important from the state's point of view,1 he said. The transmitters were strategically placed "to encompass the greatest geographical area," he said. The state strung the towers along the length of the state so that the signal from Lexington-based KET "could just about reach the borders. That is essentially how it was built," Press said. Now, KET is older and wiser for the experience and expense. But while the signals do reach a large geographical area on the map, there are practical considerations, that is, "a couple of things we were misled on." For instance, Press explains that, "the FCC insisted (at that time) there is no difference between the low-band (VHF) and high-band UHF (signals)." All KET transmitters are in the high-band frequency; the lowest signal is Channel 21 in May-field and the highest is Channel 53 near Bowling Green. But, Press said KET has since found a significant difference. The UHF signal any channel above 14 is generally weaker than VHF, requiring more power to cover the same area as VHF, and is more susceptible to interference. Also, the higher a station is located on the UHF band, the worse the problem becomes. KET's problems were compounded a few years ago when, according to Press, the FCC allowed commercial broadcast stations to increase their power allocations by "four-fold." For example, a station that had been broadcastine at a half- million watts of power was able to boost its signal to 2 million watts of power. A second problem where KET was "misled," according to Press, is called "antenna orientation." For Owensboro, most television signals come from Evansville. Thus, the problem of a weak signal from Madisonville is compounded by the fact that most antennas are pointed away from it. According to Darrell Burton, a KET engineer, antenna-orientation was one of the biggest factors in locating the new KET tower for Owensboro WKOH, Channel 31 near Reed. Area viewers may have been without KET for many years some have never been able to receive the signal but most have been able to pick up public television broadcasts through WNIN, Channel 9, in Evansville. Now, KET's new tower in Reed not only will have the same antenna orientation as WNIN, but also will overlap a majority of WNIN's coverage area, including five Indiana counties. Additionally, PBS-affiliated stations, which include WNIN and KET, for the first time, will be providing "common-carriage" of the network's prime-time programs this year. This means that be sides naving approximately the same coverage area, the two stations also will have the same programming during evening hours. How will this affect viewership? "WNIN has a much higher viewership in this area and I don't think that's going to change," said Press. "Our main thrust is more and more Kentucky programs. WNIN does a lot of popular missions. "To an extent, locally, on a continuing basis they can probably do a better job than us," he said. Vincent Saele, president and general manager for WNIN, agrees: "The difference is in local Droeramminc. We are rw- tain there will be a realignment of viewers' habits, but because Owensboro has a transmitter doesn't mean that KET will have Owensboro programming. "We are the only public television and soon radio that is headquartered here," said Saele. "The people who work here live here. We have a commitment of brick and mortar ... we have a direct interest unlike KET which is all the way across the state. Students from Kentucky Wesleyan College and Brescia (College) work in various parts of our program. We live here. "I feel we have built a loyal audience (in Owensboro). They know we are interested in their response. ... our livelihood is our people. For us, the viewers are the life of this station. For KET it's a tax assessment." Not all public television stations are alike. Besides different approaches to funding, their purposes are different as well. Established and funded by the Ken- cucKy ueneral Assembly. KET is directed by statute to produce and broadcast "television programs and related services in the aid of education." WNIN, on the other hand, is a "community licensee" meaning it was established as a non-profit, non-commercial television station Southwest Indiana Public Broadcasting Inc. broadcasting in the public interest. A "community board" of 37 members from the coverage area hold the license, sets policy and hires a president to manage operations. The station is funded for the most part by viewer donations. So, where KET's purpose is mandated by legislative fiat to be primarily instructional, WNIN has more discretion. This, according to Press, is the reason the stations won't be carbon copies. "There are enough discreet functions for both of us." And Saele agrees: "All of public television must live together. I think there is a healthy balance among the types of entities. We are not in competition for viewers; we like to think we're partners. "Anytime the public has an opportunity to view public television programs, it raises the level of awareness of public television . . ." KET committees reveal future plans By JAMIE LUCRE Miwngr-lnquirr The great debate got rave reviews, but the theme song from "Comment on Kentucky" received a chorus of boos when the KET advisory committee came to Owensboro this week to meet with network executives and programmers. Although the citizen-advisers offered some friendly recommendations, the meeting was mainly an update by network officials on what will be happening on Kentucky Educational Television in the next year. Among the programs planned is "This Other Eden," a series about Kentucky's history, narrated by actress Patricia Neal. KET has been working for more than two years on the $400,000 project. The series is expected to air next fall, according to program director Sandy Welch. The McLain Family Big Hill Bluegrass Festival, a gathering of family Bluegrass bands from all over the world last summer near Berea, will be featured in four hour-long programs which KET hopes to air in December, according to Ms. Welch. With a bit of luck, the pickin' and sing-in' will be delivered in stereo. KET is working on having the program simulcast. That means the sound would be broadcast by FM stereo stations across the state at the same time the program is aired by KET. We've never tried it before " said Ms Welch. The simulcast would probably be limited to the National Public Radio stations in Kentucky although there is a possibility commercial FM stations would be asked to participate, she said. Other musical programs such as "Live from the Met" and "Austin City Limits" may eventually be simulcast on KET, officials said. In the area of public affairs programming, KET will offer "The Peoples' Voice," a new series of hour-long programs. "We're trying to be places where things are happening and stay there long enough to let people say something. The first couple of programs will look like investigative reporting. But what we're trying to get at is public opinion rather than a search for hidden facts," said Sid Webb, director of production. He said topics for "The Peoples' Voice" include the tobacco and coal industries and energy issues affecting Kentucky, such as coal conversion. Several committee members mourned the loss of Al Smith which they said puts a gap in KET's public affairs coverage. Smith, a newspaper publisher from Rus-selville who hosts "Comment on Kentucky," a weekly discussion of the week's news, has requested a leave of absence from KET after being appointed federal co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission by President Carter earlier this month. Smith also organized and moderated the debates between gubernatorial candi- aates in 1975 and most recently between John Y. Brown Jr. and Louie Nunn. "For the time being we'll be rotating hosts (on "Comment on Kentucky,)" said Virginia Fox, associate executive director for broadcasting. The Oct. 17 joint appearance by Nunn and Brown on KET was roundly praised by advisory committee members, as was KET's coverage of the candidates for other state offices. KET is hosting joint appearances by all the candidates for minor state office. While "Comment on Kentucky, was well-received, conference participants were less than enthusiastic about the new theme song, saying that it was "forgeta-ble." For the first time this year, KET will provide election night coverage this year. That announcement was enthusiastically received by committee member Joy Bale Boone of Elkton who said many Kentucky residents often wait a day or two before learning election outcomes from other areas of the state because the only commercial TV broadcasts they receive are from bordering states. Although most adult viewers are familiar with KET's evening programming, a major thrust and the network's original purpose is instructional. Parents who wish to see the programs being piped into Kentucky schools can do so by turning their sets to KET during the day. Nadine Jenkins, director of instruc tional television, hopes parents will do uiai iov. is and 20 when KET previews instructional programming under consideration for next year. "We d like to hear responses from the parents," she said. Eighty-eight percent of all Kentucky pub-lie schools use KET, according to Ms. Jenkins. Although most of the discussion was about what you'll be seeing on KET, mention was also made of how it will get to you in the future. Satellites have "truly mind-boggling implications" for television, according to KET executive director Leonard Press. "It now takes us 15 transmitters, approximately $1 million per transmitter, to reach three million Kentuckians. If we had one satellite transmitter, at less than half the cost of one broadcast transmitter, we would reach most cable subscribers in Kentucky and perhaps not incidentally, we'd potentially reach ever cable subscriber in the U.S. at no additional cost since satellites are distance-blind," Press said. A satellite would provide KET with a second channel, according to Press, who said, "We could double our offerings of children's programs and continuing and adult education programs and we could begin experimentation in two-way interaction with out audience. Coincidentally we'd be talking to the nation. I'm sure we could find something to say." KET is seeking funds for a satellite in its budget request to the 1980 legislature. )

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