Monday, June 08, 2009

News: Cleveland Behind On DTV Readiness

Special to the Director's Cut
By Mike O'Mara

If you are watching Channel 3 using a trusty old TV with a rabbit ears antenna, time is running out.

Friday June 12, we're switching to the new all digital TV format, along with all major TV stations across the country.

John Gensel, a DTV expert at hhgregg is pumped up. "Its finally here, it's the switch over we've all been waiting for and we're finally moving from analog into digital."

But Gensel warns that thousands of people in the Cleveland area are still unprepared for the end of analog when those old sets that have no converter box and no digital antenna suddenly go to hash instead of video.

On Cleveland's near west side, community activists say that several thousand people could be out of luck when DTV takes effect.

Irma Colon runs the DTV walk in center at Lin's Omni Square on Fulton Road.

"Honestly, I thought I would be done with my job in a month", Colon said, "but I think I'm going to be here longer than a month because the people around here are not ready."

Mark Wojciechowski walks up to the help desk and says to Irma, "I have antenna TV and I'm looking to update to something digital. I've heard about those government coupons."

Karen Shepard is next in line with her grandchildren, Tiffany and Sammy. "I ordered a converter box and they sent a coupon," said Shepard, "but the coupon was already expired. What do I do now?".

"Quatro, quatro, quatro," Irma says in Spanish to Maria Rivera, reminding her that there are only four days left to get a converter box. Cleveland is one of the least prepared cities in the country.

Said Colon, "there are so many who aren't ready, especially Spanish speaking people. Many don't speak English very well and they don't understand all the warnings. I am trying to help."

If you need help:

The Cleveland walk in center contact number is (216) 323-3981.


Unless noted below, here are the hours for the following locations.

Now until June 19: Monday - Sunday, Noon - 8 p.m. June 20 - July 31: Friday 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.


  • Lin's Omni Square 3167 Fulton Road Cleveland, OH 44109 (Bilingual)

  • Five Points Community Center 813 E. 152nd Street Cleveland, OH 44140

  • Fatima Family Center 6700 Lexington Ave Cleveland, OH 44103

  • Harvard Community Services Center 18240 Harvard Avenue Cleveland, OH 44128

  • Merrick House 1050 Starkweather Cleveland, OH 44113

  • Cleveland Public Library Woodland Branch 5806 Woodland Avenue Cleveland, OH 44104

  • City of Lakewood Division of Aging 16024 Madison Lakewood, OH 44107

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