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FARMINGTON – New Mexico’s PBS stations are getting the word out to make sure viewers who use “rabbit ears” antennas atop their televisions can still find their programming after some new digital equipment is turned on soon.

Evy Todd of New Mexico PBS said new digital translators are going on line Feb. 13 in the Aztec area, and Feb 20 in the Farmington area.

People who use external antennas to receive TV programming had to install converter boxes or digital signal receivers in June of 2009 to receive digital TV signals. Todd said this is the equipment that will have to be used to scan for the new channel locations.

Todd said a lot of people in New Mexico use external antennas to get TV programming, “including myself.”

Nationwide, PBS says about 20 percent of TV viewers take advantage of the digital signals.

New Mexico PBS Director of Engineering Dan Zillich of station KNME in Albuquerque estimates that as many as 20,000 Four Corners-area viewers use external antennas. He said the station gets quite a few calls from this area if something goes wrong with the digital signal. 

As for locating the new signals, Zillich said it’s a simple matter using the remote control to rescan the channels. 

“It takes a couple of minutes is all,” he said.

“The following digital translators for public television station KNME / New Mexico PBS will continue to be seen on Channel 5.1, but you must rescan your converter box, if you receive your TV signal over-the-air, via an antenna,” Todd said in a press release.

The move does not impact any cable or satellite TV subscribers.

Aztec-area residents who currently see their PBS programs on Translator signal K38DA-D, which is Channel 38, will have to move to K22NT-D Channel 22) on Feb. 13, Todd said.

Viewers of the Farmington area’s Channel 43 (translator signal K43AI-D) will have to migrate to Channel 10 (translator signal K10CG-D) on Feb. 20.

There are still three PBS channels available, and they will appear as Channel 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3:

♦ KNME 5.1: Core PBS Programming, which includes locally-produced programs, and the children’s daytime schedule

♦ KNME 5.2: NM PBS Kids – 24/7 Kids Programming 

♦ KNME 5.3: FNX First Nations Experience – Native American and World Indigenous programming

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