Back in 2009 the US moved from analog to digital for television broadcasts, both cable based and over-the-air. All VHF and UHF signals were to be digitized and a chunk of the old spectrum would be put to use for other purposes (almost exclusively sold to cellular phone service providers). Like any change, it was not without controversy.
Thankfully, it's all worked out, and has even led to a renaissance of over-the-air TV. In "Digital Tv Party!" I'll be exploring the new channels that have popped up in the last decade, and come in on my own television here in Columbus, Ohio.
32.3 Dalmar TV:
Dalmar TV is the first (only?) Somali language television station in the US, and is based here in Columbus where we have a large Somali population. Heck, we're the homebase of Somaliwood.
Content: When I first turned to Dalmar I caught the last few minutes of a Somali-language pop music video that was decent enough, if not very innovated. A woman sings in an urban setting. After a few commercials, including Somali-language commercials for local realtors and Raisin Rack, a local natural foods grocery store, we started some sort of news conference/presentation. Seemingly religious in nature, and being presented from an Islamic Center, I have no idea what's being said and it is literally just a man with an impressive beard sitting at a table addressing an unseen audience.
Maybe I should come back to this later.
32.5 GuideUS TV
I really love this. Not only is GuideUS TV an English language Islamic station, it's seemingly got the exact format of something like CBN, TBN, or EWTN, Christian stations that have been around for decades. Format, quality, and content all feel like I'm watching any of those channels.
Content: In the past I've caught childrens' shows with puppets, and Imans spitting anti-gay sermons, which would be par for the course on CBN, as well. Currently though I've caught the tail end of GuideUS's version of The 700 Club, though the host seems perhaps a bit more reasonable than Pat Robertson but perhaps I've just not watched enough. Even Ol' Pat is reasonable on occasion. As the show ends, the host takes a phone call from someone wishing to pledge their financial support. Like I said, very much The 700 Club. Next up is an apparently hand-drawn image of a mosque, clouds slowly moving through the sky above it, as a voice sings in Arabic and then another reads in English what I assume to be the same passages from the Quran. Afterward, a commercial for a Friday night gameshow that promises not just prizes, but an increased insight into the Quran ("Memorization without understanding? PROBLEM" which is good advice whatever your holy book.)
32.8 Diya TV:
Diya touts itself as America's only 24/7 South Asian broadcast station providing news and entertainment programs.
Content: Timing is everything. I have been watching a solid half-hour commercial-free block of dance remixes of Bollywood musical numbers with absolutely no breaks between songs. Bollywood musical film is incredibly vibrant and over-the-top, and dance remixes just compound that. Complete sensory overload in the best ways.
If I can stop watching Diya we'll do this again soon with another set of channels!