What's going on with this TV station?
April 28, 2008 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone explain what's going on with this TV station feed?

I took a little video of what I'm asking about, because I can't explain it well.

This is taken from channel 114 in Seattle, apparently a Christian network because this video features John Hagee.

The feed seems to have "stuck" and has been like this for a month. A month!

How could a TV station let this go on, and why wouldn't someone fix it? What about the usual programming?

I am completely baffled, and hope someone has a good theory.
posted by tristeza to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Do you know if this is happening for everyone? It doesn't seem likely but maybe it's your set-top box tat's messing it up?
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: I don't have cable, is that what you mean? This is just broadcast TV.
posted by tristeza at 3:39 PM on April 28, 2008

Ah. Very odd.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:40 PM on April 28, 2008

Have you seen it occur on another tv set?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:42 PM on April 28, 2008

There is no channel 114 in broadcast TV in the US. UHF only goes up to 69 (although it did go to 83 in the past). Here's a table.

You're sure you just have a TV directly connected to an antenna?
posted by xil at 3:43 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, someone else tipped me off to who saw it, now it's making us BOTH insane!
posted by tristeza at 3:45 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: Hm, weird, could I be picking up a cable channel with my regular TV and rabbit ears? I'm positive there's no cable attached physically.
posted by tristeza at 3:49 PM on April 28, 2008

Although I suppose it's possible your TV is set to cable station 114 (according to this table, around 733.25 MHz), and you're picking up something close to normal broadcast channel 57 or 58 (based on this table). It's probably channel 58, KUSE.
posted by xil at 3:53 PM on April 28, 2008

...which is run by Equity Broadcasting, who are apparently having business problems, at least according to Wikipedia.

My (totally unfounded) guess is that they stopped paying their techs, who left the job, and nobody is maintaining the equipment. Either that, or somebody deliberately stuck it in that mode before leaving.
posted by xil at 3:58 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: You seem to be right, it is channel 58, Equity/Daystar. My friend's TV has it on 58, mine for whatever reason is 114. Still so weird.

(An aside, my friend hears him saying "beaverbeaverbeaverbeaver..." and i hear "peoplepeoplepeoplepeople..." - what's your call?)
posted by tristeza at 4:08 PM on April 28, 2008

You could probably rat them out to the FCC, since they're not doing channel idents.
posted by smackfu at 4:31 PM on April 28, 2008

The "peoplepeoplepeople" sound sounds to me like an inadvertent example of the "phantom words" illusion, described more fully here (at number 2 on the list) with an example here. I say inadvertent because it sounds to me, upon closer listening, like a very short excerpt of speech getting repeated over and over. It would seem that these two syllables just happen to create phantom words when played this way. I have no idea what could cause such a thing to happen, however. It is also entirely possible that someone is playing a very bizarre joke.

I myself hear "beetlebeetlebeetlebeetle..."
posted by Commander Rachek at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2008

But in all seriousness, it reminds me of when Windows does a kernel panic when audio is playing. The screen stays static while the last quarter-second or so of whatever audio was playing repeats indefinitely.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:08 PM on April 28, 2008

I would seriously consider making comment to the FCC and rounding up a lot of people to do the same. Don't just send in form letters. It's a disgrace that Equity has managed to do this for so long, and also a disgrace that a media company involved in television could not find a way to make money from leased access programming - which is a goldmine for small UHF outfits (just watch your local CW affiliate on Sunday mornings or on weekday afternoons).
posted by parmanparman at 5:18 PM on April 28, 2008

The repeated sound sample is probably caused by the sound "card" of the play-out machine looping around its internal circular sample buffer. As the play-out machine has crashed, nothing's being written into the sample buffer to update it, so the sound chip loops merrily around what's still in there.
posted by Neon at 5:53 PM on April 28, 2008

I have Comcast cable, and Daystar is channel 18 on my lineup. It's boringly normal. No peoplepeoplepeoplepeoplepeoplepeople. Just people.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:57 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: I'm wondering why Hagee Ministries themselves wouldn't do something to fix this.
posted by tristeza at 6:08 PM on April 28, 2008

OK, that's awesome. And, possibly not related, but I have heard of stations playing anything in order to keep their license active. Note: I have no clue about the laws regarding this. However, there were a couple "low power" stations in my town that, at different times, played rotating Christian music videos while awaiting real programming. Someone I knew who was obliquely involved with one of the stations told me about the licensing rules requiring a certain amount of continuous programming. Also, a local radio station played Hot Hot Hot over and over for days, while getting up and running. This was partly publicity I'm sure, since the station finally introduced itself as Hot 107 FM.

But, the "abandoned station" explanation is very likely. Many Christian stations are literally run by one person, swapping out tapes or DVDs, and letting them run unattended. That station gets a cut of the donations brought in from that area. The operator returns only when needed. The station in question may be one of many owned by the same interest. Someone walked off the job, and they haven't noticed yet.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:48 PM on April 28, 2008

I have heard of stations playing anything in order to keep their license active

Yeah, isn't there some absurd fee if they broadcast dead air? I recall a station in Detroit back in the early '90s using a speech-synthesized countdown while they changed ownership and formats. (Was it CIDR? I think it might have been.)
posted by kindall at 11:28 PM on April 28, 2008

Mod note: a few comments removed - question is "what is this" not "do you not know what this is but just think it's teh awesome?!"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:43 AM on April 29, 2008

« Older Safety for a 401K   |   I just wanna know where da gold Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.