According to Bloomberg Technology, the remains of KlowdTV OTT service have been resurrected by the owners of the One America News Network, a conservative news channel. The new KlowdTV looks a lot like the old version, which OANN owner Charles Herring purchased after it ceased operations in June.

In addition to OANN, KlowdTV also carries conservative channels TheBlaze and Newsmax. Herring told Bloomberg, “We know there’s a demand, but there wasn’t a single place where you can pick up all three of these channels.” Other channels in the $8/month bundle include The Now Network, AWE, two GolTV channels, the Fight Network and FNTSY Sports.

It’s always nice to have choices, and I enjoy GolTV, but I liked the old KlowdTV for eScapes and other sports. Let’s see if this version of KlowdTV does any better than its predecessor.

The reasons are a little sad. A baseball team leverages its value on a TV network that’s too expensive for most cable systems. A Hall-of-Fame announcer approaches retirement. A huge metropolis has no good way to watch the final games of a local celebrity.

But I’m really happy with the results. For the first time since 2001, Los Angeles TV station KTLA will broadcast Dodgers games, six from their final month of the season, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. The first will be September 23, “Vin Scully Appreciation Day” at Dodger Stadium.

As I’ve often written, baseball teams are losing future fans by blacking out entire seasons from over-the-air TV. Some folks can’t or don’t want to pay for TV, and the number of cord-cutters seems to be growing. Putting a few games on OTA is a good first step. Now let’s see if they can find a half-dozen games to broadcast free every month in 2017.

And this is one extra perk for us few Dish subscribers who are grandfathered in to the KTLA and the other four FCC-defined Superstations. Baseball was once a big reason to watch them (and still is for WPIX), so it’s nice to see it return, even for just a month.

CC BY by b_schmidt

An auction sign that’s not so depressing. Photo by b_schmidt

I haven’t been writing about this much because, frankly, I find it too depressing. The federal government is auctioning chunks of the spectrum that broadcast TV is using to serve the public today so that wireless services can use them for their subscribers tomorrow. Some of that money goes to the broadcasters who have been using it essentially free for all these years. The rest goes to pay down the national debt, a one-time payment so Congress will buy more time to not balance the budget. Viewers will probably have fewer free channels to watch, and wireless subscribers will keep on paying for wireless. If you want more details, there’s a pretty good explainer here.

The process is complicated. Basically the FCC will try to auction a very large band of TV spectrum, and if that fails, it will try again with a slightly smaller band. As TV Technology reports, that first round failed, and the FCC is reloading for Round Two.

To say that the first round failed is an understatement. The target was $88 billion, but bidders offered less than $23 billion. The second round will include less spectrum for a local target, yet to be determined. For more information, including a great chart to show the round-by-round possibilities, go check out that TV Technology article.

Looking at that grid of possibilities, it looks like each new round of the auction saves one or two UHF TV slots. I sure hope that the auction continues for a very long time so we can keep as much free TV as we can.

Folks ask me questions about free-to-air satellite TV all the time, typically through the contact page at FTAList.com. So I’ll answer some of them here from time to time, especially if I can find a good video explanation.

A really common question is whether an old Dish Network or DirecTV dish can be converted to FTA. My standard answer is no, partly because the smaller versions of those dishes really are too small, partly because most folks asking the question lack the technical chops to go full MacGyver on an old dish. But if you’ve got the right kind of wide oval dish, the steps in this video seem to work. Enjoy!

Classic train wreck photoFor reasons that are too involved, embarrassing, and tedious to explain, a lot of the graphics from the old FTABlog have gone missing. The blog theme decorations and layout were also affected. The good news is that the content, those letters and spaces that often make sense, managed to survive.

If you’ll recall, FTABlog.com was the home of this blog before the beginning of the year. The name FreeTVBlog explains the purpose and coverage here in a way that non-insiders can readily understand, so I switched to this domain when it became available. I posted a friendly note to explain where to find the latest in free (as in speech) TV news, and just expected that my visitors would make the jump with me.

Thanks to Google Analytics, I learned that as the months rolled by, some web surfers continued to show up at FTABlog. This worried me. Did they gloss over the note with the forwarding address? Were they disappointed that there wasn’t any new content on the old site? So I thought I would help them by adding an auto-forwarding page to the FTABlog front door. That sort of worked, but the result somehow locked away all of my old posts and permanently blew away all of the graphics. You know, I don’t think I read the procedure manual right.

Thanks to the patient assistance of HostGator tech support, I restored everything but the original layout and graphics. Mostly as a test of concept, I pulled a couple of the last graphics from the Internet Archive‘s Wayback Machine, so if there’s something you really want to see, it’s possibly restorable. Finally, I grabbed all the graphics from FTABlog’s previous host before I moved it years ago.

So that’s my mea culpa. Now I’ve got to go off and run backups for the next time I accidentally run the train through the station wall.