For twenty-five years, KJEP-TV has been broadcasting to homes in southwest Arkansas. Etheline Westbrook had the original vision for the station, and that vision was picked up and made a reality by Glen Power. The primary purpose was to provide a way for local church services and community events to be broadcast.
In the next couple of weeks, the KNVL-TV board, which operates KJEP, will be making a decision about the future of the station. The board believes the church services and local programs should be made available through whatever technology is best for the viewers and can reach the most viewers. So we are evaluating whether or not broadcast television is still the best technology for the communities in our area.
When the station first started, most people in our viewing area received their television signal by cable TV or aerial antenna. KJEP was on several cable systems, and anyone with an aerial antenna within thirty to forty miles of Nashville could pick up the station’s signal.
Most of KJEP’s viewers today watch us on cable. Many of the cable systems which once carried us no longer exist, and many people are choosing satellite over cable where cable systems do still exist. Those who switch to satellite can still receive KJEP’s signal through a small antenna if they live close enough to the tower. But the station continues to lose viewers as more people switch from cable to satellite.
The Federal Communications Commission will require KJEP to convert to a digital signal by September 15, 2015. This conversion will be expensive, but the station’s finances are stable and we believe we would be able to obtain the funds needed to do this. But we also believe we should make sure changing technology has not made us obsolete before we spend this money.
Many of our churches now put their services online. The other church services and local events could easily be put online for anyone to watch at whatever time they choose, provided someone films those events. So this brings us to the question of whether or not it is time for newer technology to replace KJEP.
We would like to hear from anyone who is interested. Anyone wanting to express an opinion should feel free to contact me or any of the other board members: Donny Woods, Tim Pinkerton, Kim Millwood, Deb Kinkade, James Huddleston, Larry Elrod, David Blase, Anna Blase.