August 25, 2012 9:04:40 PM
A new fall television season is set to begin next month, but viewers in the Golden Triangle might have to find an alternative means of catching shows like "Modern Family" and "Dancing With The Stars" and other ABC hits.
Local ABC affiliate WKDH will cease broadcasts midnight Aug. 31.
Officials with WKDH could not be reached, but the station, located in Houston, provided a statement on their website.
"It is with extreme regret, remorse, and disappointment that we must make the following announcement. Due to financial conditions in recent years, effective at 11:59 p.m. on August 31, 2012, WKDH will terminate operations for the foreseeable future," the statement said.
Southern Broadcasting Inc. has held the station's license since 2001.
Stuart Kellogg, president of Jackson-based ABC affiliate WAPT, said cable users might have the opportunity to catch ABC programming, if the company decides to operate on what he called a Digital Two, D2, channel.
When cable companies switched over to digital cable, increased bandwidth accompanied the change, giving cable providers the ability to run approximately 10 standard definition channels or two digital high definition channels.
There are only a certain number of full power channels available in a particular area, such as WTVA, which assisted with WKDH's broadcasting, and WCBI. If a station is forced off the air, the network it is carrying has the option to broadcast on one of the cable providers D2 channels.
Kellogg said this has happened and will likely continue to happen across the state.
"They would at least get coverage," Kellogg said. "What has happened in Hattiesburg, they have an ABC affiliate that they have never had before and it has it on a D2 channel. The Gulf Coast has CBS and NBC the same way, they never had them before D2."
But Kellogg added the same does not apply to satellite or even all cable providers.
"The downside is satellite doesn't carry these channels, and some cable providers don't," he said.
Repeated attempts to speak with local Metrocast officials about whether or not they carry D2 channels were unsuccessful.
No decisions have been made yet.
"ABC gave me a courtesy call and told me nothing has been decided yet," Kellogg said. "But this is happening to a lot of markets, including here in Mississippi. If I was a betting man, I would say that is probably what will happen.''