Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the television transmitters in the New Orleans area.
Those channels who had their transmitters destroyed made a priority of getting an analog transmitter set up and running.
Right now, only the CBS affiliate has their digital transmitter operating. With a combination of good design and luck, they took the least damage to their transmitters (translation, virtually none).
Others were not so lucky.
The NBC affiliate lost both their analog and digital transmitters to flood waters (their transmitters were in St. Bernard Parish, where the Industrial Canal breach wiped out everything). They have NO TIMETABLE for getting them back on line. The PAX affiliate has taken over providing NBC programming to the New Orleans area. But only on analog, the PAX affiliate's digital transmitter is still transmitting PAX programming!!
In short CBS is the only one of the "big 4" networks in New Orleans with a digital transmitter operating.
I called each of the others and was told the following:
ABC: "It will be months [before we have a digital transmitter back on line]."
NBC: "Digital (and analog) down indefinitely."
FOX: "Mid to late 2006 before digital is back on line."
So, I called D* and, when the first CSR was being totally zoomed by what I was talking about, he transferred me to a "distant networks" specialist.
I told him that, for the fairly long future New Orleans has no digital NBC, ABC, and FOX affiliate! So, could I get those networks as HD distants?
He has applied for waivers for me.
The local affiliates would be quite the jerks to deny the wavers, since they have no HD for the foreseeable future!
This will be an interesting experiment.
Wish me luck!