Hawaii Attempts DTV Switch: Rocky but Weird and Entertaining

Every once in a while my environmental interests and advertising business collide and such was the case when I was in Hawaii last week to do publicity for the Hawaii Bridal Expo. While I was there, Hawaii made the DTV switch.

Here's one version of the story courtesy of Dan Nosowitz of Gizmodo

"Even though our Savior-Elect is pushing back the DTV transition, his beloved Hawaii took a test drive a month early. This odder-than-expected story includes mass confusion, Grey's Anatomy, and the rare Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel. Hawaii took the DTV plunge this past Thursday at noon, broadcasting a message with a looped announcement and a help line the legions of confused islanders could call. As expected, pretty much nobody understood what's actually going on, and many have left buying a converter box until they were forced to do so. Apparently there were angry phone calls streamed in about missing primetime Thursday shows like Grey's Anatomy and CSI."

From my perspective, standing there and staring at the TV set, it was the biggest NON-EVENT since Y2K and the day Geraldo opened Al Capone's tomb.

But why did Hawaii choose to go digital a full month before the original proposed date? Turns out the endangered Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel, a small nesting bird, was the deciding factor in the change. The analog transmission towers on the slopes of Maui's Haleakala volcano obstruct their nesting grounds, and tearing them down before the birds' mating season is an attempt to buck up the dwindling population.