Susan Dahlin Brings Wall Street Journal Readers Up To Speed On Digital Television

Susan Dahlin Brings Wall Street Journal Readers Up To Speed On Digital

Susan Dahlin, marketing director for WRAL Digital, was interviewed by Joe Flint, staff writer for the Wall Street Journal for an article entitled: Stay Tuned High-definition TV was going to reinvent the medium. So, where is it? released on March 20, 2000. In it, she discusses some of the strategies WRAL Digital is taking to promote digital television to mainstream America.

In the article, Dahlin discussed many of WRAL’s efforts to bring High Definition Television to the viewer, knowing that once someone saw the difference, they would be hooked—seeing really is believing.

Dahlin is quoted as saying, “We do public demonstrations at Rotary clubs, Kiwanis Club meetings and shopping malls. Broadcasters have to explain to the viewer why they should be excited. Until they see it and say ‘Wow, what an incredible picture,’ they’re just annoyed that the government wants them to switch television sets.”

Flint covers the basic issues facing the digital take-over in this country, including the content vs. hardware issues. Like the proverbial chicken or the egg: Viewers won’t buy sets because they are too expensive and there is not a large variety of content to watch; Manufacturers won’t make more sets until people start buying them; and networks and stations don’t want to spend the money on producing programing until there are more viewers to watch them.

Two other issues that come into play are 1. Most markets are behind the FCC’s mandated schedule for going on the air and 2. Multi-channels—do we really need more channels when cable and satellite can’t fill all of their open slots?

Throughout the article, WRAL Digital is portrayed as the industry leader it is, not only in engineering, but in the promotion and production end as well. When talking about the delays and fears of the TV industry as a whole, Flint says,“But WRAL is the exception to the rule. Most of the TV industry hasn’t made the required upgrades to its stations and is still debating whether high-definition TV will turn out to be the New Coke of the 21st century.”

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