Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 29, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Eight's Analog TV Shutoff

  |   Video
  • Find out what Eight’s April 29th shutoff of its analog television signal means to you.
Guests:
  • Gil Aykroyd - Chief Engineer, Eight/KAET
  • Art Brooks - President and CEO, Arizona Broadcasters Association


View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> At midnight tonight, Channel Eight will turn off its analog signal. Here's what that means for you tomorrow.

David Majure
>> Are you ready for digital television? Well, ready or not, here it comes. June 12th is the deadline for most stations to turn off the analog signals leaving only their digital broadcasts. Here at eight we're shutting down analog transmission at midnight, Wednesday, April 29th.

Eight
>> Pioneers, yes.

David Majure
>> And like all pioneers, we're heading into unchartered territory.

Eight
>> Eight will be shutting off our analog channel.

David Majure
>> Eight has been airing spots like these to help viewers in the Phoenix area prepare for digital T.V. Viewers of cable or satellite television shouldn't be affected at all.

Gil Aykroyd
>> It is people watching over an antenna, if they haven't done the preparation we have been telling people for a long time what they need to do, if they haven't prepared, I can simulate what they will see. They will see something like that.

David Majure
>> Your analog television may look like this until you connect it to your antenna through a converter box. Even if you have a converter box or brand new digital television there is more you need to know --

Gil Aykroyd
>> When we change frequencies on Thursday morning, some sets, most sets will probably lose the ability to receive us. They will lose their memory, and at that point, viewers will have to rescan their sets, do a channel scan, auto search, whatever it is called on your set.

Eight
>> It is important to rescan your digital T.V. or converter box to ensure you get all channels available to you.

Gil Aykroyd
>> You should be familiar how to do that so come Thursday morning you don't have to be without channel eight.

David Majure
>> Channel eight viewers living outside of Maricopa and Pinal counties will continue to receive analog like always. Prescott, Williams, Show Low, viewers will lose channel eight but only temporarily.

Gil Aykroyd
>> People on the outskirts that watch us on translators, they will be off the air for a day or two, we hope no more than that, some of the areas, but we have to go up there and change out some equipment at those translators, but within a day or two, we should be back on the air on those analog translators, and those people won't have to do anything either. They will continue watching the translators over the antenna just as they are now.

David Majure
>> Make sure that you are prepared for digital T.V. by visiting our web site at azpbs.org/digital.

Ted Simons
>> Here to tell us if Arizona is ready for digital television is Art Brooks. Are we ready

Art Brooks
>> Yeah, we're ready. We were ready February 17th.

Ted Simons
>> Why didn't it happen then?
Art Brooks
>> The governing agency who oversees the coupon program ran out of funding. They received a major gift from the stimulus package of $650 million to boot it back up again.

Ted Simons
>> Let's reiterate again, make it as clear as we can. You receive over the air signal, you need a converter box. If you have rabbit ears or antenna on the roof, that's all you have got, you need a converter box.

Art Brooks
>> Or a new T.V. set. The converter box is what you need.

Ted Simons
>> How much do the boxes cost?

Art Brooks
>> $40 to $80.

Ted Simons
>> Where do you get them?

Art Brooks
>> Any retail store, any place you can buy electronics.

Ted Simons
>> How much of a migraine is it to hook these up?

Art Brooks
>> This is simple. On the back of the box, antenna in, whatever you are using rabbit ears, roof top, goes into that little slot, and then it says out to T.V. So it is really that simple.

Ted Simons
>> So simple a cave man can do it.

Art Brooks
>> I don't know if you and I could.

Ted Simons
>> Yeah. So, again, if you had a new television, really new -- the new television that are digitally --

Art Brooks
>> In my office I have a 42 inch Samsung high-def T.V., up to an antenna, beautiful high-def pictures.

Ted Simons
>> You're fine.

Ted Simons
>> Cable?

Art Brooks
>> Fine.

Ted Simons
>> Satellite?

Art Brooks
>> Done.

Ted Simons
>> Are you fine or do you need to rescan? Those of us with cable, do we rescan?

Art Brooks
>> After June 12th, and tonight at midnight I suggest rescanning that you are receiving eight on eight. What happens a lot of the digital channel stations are not there over the air channel.

Ted Simons
>> What does rescanning mean?

Art Brooks
>> It means that your T.V. will automatically seek out and find those channels correctly.

Ted Simons
>> So, again, why is this being done?

Art Brooks
>> Well, it started in '96, but you don't want to go back that far.

Ted Simons
>> No, not that far.

Art Brooks
>> To remain relevant technically, T.V. had to do this. They had to go digital from analog, because it is such a better picture than ever, and they can do more with it. You get more channels, more bang for the buck.

Ted Simons
>> We're making this switch at midnight.

Art Brooks
>> Yeah, right.

Ted Simons
>> Other stations not necessarily so.

Art Brooks
>> No, everybody else will be June 12th.

Ted Simons
>> Okay. Last question. Which question have you heard the most?

Art Brooks
>>Do I need a new antenna? And the answer is hook up your present antenna first, and then if you have antenna problems go to dtvanswers.com, put in your area code or zip code, and it will tell you what antenna is best for you.

Ted Simons
>> All right. I hope we made it simple. I mean it has been going on and people have so many questions. Thank you for coming on.

Art Brooks
>> Channel eight, they have three additional channels.

Ted Simons
>> We do. More of eight to go around. Good to see you.

Art Brooks
>> Good to see you.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small has the latest legislative news from the state capitol.
Guests:
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times


View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> After weeks of waiting, Republicans have finally released a budget proposal for 2010. Here to tell us what's on it Is "Arizona Capitol Times" reporter Jim Small.

Ted Simons
>> Good to have you here.

Jim Small
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons
>> Alright the proposal, what is it showing?

Jim Small
>> It shows about $670 million or so in cuts, about a billion dollars in stimulus money for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, and it takes about $400 million from dedicated funds, more fund sweeps that have been used the past couple of years to balance the budget deficits. The interesting thing, things that are drawing the most criticism are a couple of components to raise revenue without raising taxes. One of those would be to take excess funding given to school districts and lawmakers feel is being unused and to take that money and take it back from the school districts and get about $300 million that way. And another one would be cities collect impact fees when new development goes up, when homes are built, when construction is completed to pay for infrastructure needs and not all of that money is spent. There is extra money lying around there and some lawmakers want to take that money as well.

Ted Simons
>> Start with education. Along with, what, $280 some odd million in cuts, they want $300 some in savings that schools had saved for times like these?

Jim Small
>> That's one of the arguments that school districts and advocacy groups are saying. We saved this up for a rainy day. Saved it to be responsible for our budgeting, make large cash expenditures on projects instead of financing them and have it cost more in the long run. There is an argument that that penalizes those who were more responsible with their money and handled their budgeting better and those who spent every last dime that they had, spent down to the last penny, well, they don't get really hurt in this because they don't have money to get taken away.

Ted Simons
>> Is it legal?

Jim Small
>> Well, it seems like it is going to be legal. I think the rules attorneys in the house and Senate have signed off on it. And, you know, there is a way to do it. I think that basically the way that they would do it is, I don't know if they can directly sweep that money right in the general fund, but they might reduce the amount of state aid, funding that goes to school and say, okay, we are going to take the strings off this other money and allow you to go ahead and use it. We take an extra $300 million, but we will free up $300 million that you can use.

Ted Simons
>> City and town argument, idea that these are supposed to be developer impact fees. Can you move that money around any way you choose or is it supposed to go to infrastructure?

Jim Small
>> It is supposed to go to infrastructure, delineates what kinds of projects to be paid for with this. In certain cases, how much impact fees has to go for certain things, formulas on the books that say how much money has to go for certain projects. The idea is to somehow get this money, about $210 million was the estimate in the budget proposal, and, you know, there is -- a lot of this money has been collected, and lawmakers are looking at it and saying well, it's not all spent. It is sitting there. Even if it is pledged to be spent down the road in five or six years, there is no contract with it. It is money we can use in the short term to balance the budget. Cities came out and said you can't do this. This will hurt us, we need this for waste water treatment plants, roads, sewer, fire hydrants, things like that. And there is a spat going on behind the scenes at the capitol, house republicans are pushing this idea, and a lot of talk that the league of cities and towns, the main lobbying group for cities, was in negotiations with republicans. The league says that wasn't the case. We are trying to sort out exactly what happened. All anyone knows is that this thing came out and it seems like it has blown up, at least publicly.

Ted Simons
>> Quickly, before I let you go, it seems to me like the state is saying we will do anything not to raise taxes, including sweeping things from city and towns who as a result may have to raise their own taxes.

Jim Small
>> And that is one of the arguments against both of the items we are talking about, the schools as well. If you take this money from schools on top of the other cuts they're facing, they made to raise their property taxes.

Ted Simons
>> We will see where it goes. Always good stuff. Thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

Jim Small
>> Thanks for having me, Ted.

Solar Business Incentives

  |   Video
  • Details of a bill, awaiting action by state lawmakers, that’s designed to encourage renewable energy manufacturers to move to Arizona.
Guests:
  • Barry Broome - Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Byron Schlomach - The Goldwater Institute
Category: Sustainability

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> Arizona has plenty of sunshine, but very little of it is being converted to electrical energy. State lawmakers are hoping to help change that with a bill that would give tax incentives to companies that make renewable energy equipment in our state. We'll hear from both sides of the issue on the bill, but, first Mike Sauceda tells us about one company in the Valley that would benefit if such a bill were to be passed.

Mike Sauceda
>> Every day enough energy falls on the earth to provide all of our electrical needs, a Phoenix solar manufacturing company is hoping to catch some of the sun's rays and turn them into electricity. N.T.R. recently invested $100 million in the company and plans a similar investment to over the next year to install a sun catcher, a solar energy device.

Steve Cowman
>> This is talk about renewable energy, huge strides made, wind has become a very attractive form of renewable energy, geothermal, well established, and solar has been the great white hope because of the amount of sun in the southwest, and Arizona, the sun capitol of North American.

Mike Sauceda
>> The sun catchers uses a parabolic heat sources coming from the outside of the engine instead of from the inside like a car engine. The sun catcher tracks the sun's movements. The pistons movements are used to generate electricity. One can generate 25 kilowatts of electricity. Cowman says sterling energy systems is currently working on installing multiple sun catchers in the San Diego area.

Steve Cowman
>> We have secured a number of contracts. If you take our first contract, San Diego gas and electric, it is for 300 megawatts of power, potential to expand up to 700 megawatts of power. That would provide enough power for three-quarters of a million homes in the San Diego area.

Steve Cowman
>> If you take different technologies, photovoltaic, typically 12%, energy efficiency, effectively taken, input power from sunlight and converting it into electricity, a lot of the concentrating solar thermal technologies, 15- 20%, we consistently have the record solar to grid scale electricity, numbers in excess of 30%, 25% sun to energy efficiency, which is amazing, taking sunlight and getting 25% of that power.

Mike Sauceda
>> A bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature to give companies like Sterling incentives to locate in Arizona.

Steve Cowman
>> I think Arizona is definitely committed to renewable energy. I think there has been a lot of positive soundings that have come out. This is a very tangible piece of evidence that Arizona is really serious about establishing itself as a renewable energy center. Not just for deploying it, but also manufacturing.
Mike Sauceda
>> A rainbow is sunlight broken down into component colors. He thinks a sun catcher will help his company find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Steve Cowman
>> You're using the sun, enough energy falls on the earth in one hour from the sun that would provide enough energy, if you could harness it to provide all electricity needs for the whole world. It is a free energy source. The question is how do you harness it. We believe we have a solution here that would work really well in that application.

Ted Simons
>> Here to discuss Senate Bill 1403, which would offer Tax incentives to renewable energy companies, is Barry Broome of the greater Phoenix Economic Council and Byron Schlomach of the Goldwater Institute. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizon."

Ted Simons
>> We just saw this company here, why should they be eligible for incentives?

Berry Broome
>> Well, first off, you know, like any economic policy, the question is what is the interest of the state of Arizona. Whenever we have a discussion about economic development strategies or programs, it is never about the company. It is about the state's competitiveness and creating wealth and jobs for residents in Arizona. This is a company that has a trajectory to be possibly a global player in solar. We don't want the same thing to happen with first solar, headquarters here, one of the greatest companies in the world, and it makes its investments in places like Malaysia, Germany, and Ohio where there are specific programs designed to reduce the cost of capital -- we want to see a company like Sterling expand in Arizona beyond its headquarters. We have to offer the same support to this industry like competitor states like Texas, Colorado and Utah are doing today.

Ted Simons
>> Possible global player here, why is it not a good idea to help them a little bit?

Byron Schlomach
>> I don't have anything against solar energy obviously. I think it is a technology that is going to eventually be very competitive. The problem I have with government subsidies, you ultimately have the government deciding who are the winners, who are the losers. It might be that this technology is the technology of the future. It might be though that a different company just a couple of years from now or six months from now would have the technology of the future. Yet if you put these tax incentives in place, you could actually preclude other companies from developing their technologies further. This is something that needs to be market driven, rather than government driven.

Ted Simons
>> Market driven rather than government driven.

Barry Broome
>> I think he is correct. One of the reasons that Sterling is operational and successful, it has compelling technology, and money out of Europe to take the company to scale. It is an example of a company that is where it is at today because it is market driven. There is more interest in the technology on the capital market side than ever before. The question isn’t whether or not they will succeed -- the question is going to be is Sterling going to succeed in Arizona or are they going to succeed in another state that focuses more aggressively on supporting investment. Public policy is part of the market driven market place. Right now the Arizona Corporation Commission is close to negotiating transmission capabilities to California. That will shift solar export capabilities to the State of Arizona. From a policy standpoint, you only want to back market driven successful companies. Will they be in Arizona, will they be in Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Texas?

Ted Simons
>> Market driven policies here, is that how you see this?

Byron Schlomach
>> Not when the government is creating an unlevel playing field. It is deciding winners and losers at this point. The key to true market driven economic development strategy, one of very low taxes, low regulation, a good business friendly state, economic development friendly state, and Arizona, for example, part of the reason I think people are looking for these kinds of tax policies is because Arizona is just behind Texas, a very high property tax state when it comes to commercial property taxes. Our commercial property taxes are very high in this state. That does preclude investment. It does prevent people from making investments here that they would make otherwise. We have work to do on our tax policy, but it needs to be on a global basis for everyone in the state, not just for any particular industry.

Ted Simons
>> Would it be wiser to go look at tax reform in general as opposed to targeting certain industries?

Barry Broome
>> You need to do both. This is one of those moments where you say we're in agreement. If you look at Arizona's tax policy on real and personal property taxes, it is the second highest tax rate in the western half of the United States, second only to Texas. When you look at a company that is making a half a billion or a billion dollar investment, so if you normalize Arizona's tax policy and made it more competitive, on a one or $2 billion investment, you will still compete with other states like Texas who are going to use programs like the enterprise zone, eliminate property taxes completely on that investment. Sometimes this comes down to simple things, because I think there are good arguments on both sides. Intel announced $3 billion out in Chandler, Arizona. Intel has a special tax treatment around a foreign trade zone. They get a tax treatment that very few companies get in Arizona. In return, Arizona has 11,000 jobs that pay $122,000 a year. You have to ask yourself in a state plagued by low wages, economy built around simple economic models like construction and retail, is Intel a bad or good deal for Arizona?

Ted Simons
>> I want to ask that question as well. Is Arizona playing winners and losers when so much is at stake with an Intel, for example?

Byron Schlomach
>> Well, I think we end up playing sort of mercantilist type game when we get into this competition between governments trying to snap up companies from another state or from another country, versus -- and then doing exactly the same thing. You do get into a government level of competition that skews the market system overall. I understand the argument that we don't want to unilaterally disarm, while the way we don't unilaterally disarm is to recognize that we have certain comparative advantages in this state. I'm not sure why it is we think we need to run out and grab a solar company with government advantages when we already have natural advantages.

Ted Simons
>> Why does Arizona need incentives when we walk outside and the sun is always shining?

Barry Broome
>> Well, you know, where is most of the engineering and manufacturing occurring right now in the United States in solar? It is occurring in Oregon, and it is occurring actually in California where the innovation occurs, first round of manufacturing activity is parallel to the innovation. When you look at Arizona, the ability to create a demand equation for solar technology is the natural strength. We obviously buy plenty of cars in Arizona, and we don't exactly have an automotive industry presence. Some of that would be good right now. If you look at Arizona into the future for solar, sets the stage for consumerism, does not -- building a state policy strategy around that is imperative. We have proven losing all of the opportunities to competitive states, we have proven in the marketplace that Arizona is in a position of competitive disadvantage right now because it doesn't have economic policy addressing this.

Ted Simons
>> Very quickly.

Byron Schlomach
>> We will never be able to duplicate the economy of California, Oregon. We are blessed with different comparative advantages, natural advantages, located fundamentally differently. The population center of the United States is in Indiana. We're a long way from it. We do have comparative disadvantages, and because of that our overall tax and business policy needs to be as generous toward economic development as possible. I agree with that. We just don't need to be differentially favoring certain industries over others.

Ted Simons
>> We have to stop it right there. Great discussion. Thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents