Hank in Glendale, Texas listens on 97.5 KTBB and asked:
“I’m a little techno challenged. I live way out in the country. We have a TV antenna on the roof because there’s no cable service out there and there’s nothing really worth buying on TV. Are we gonna lose this service in the future?”
It’s hard to say. In 2013 (the last year we have data for) a poll was conducted that showed that almost 10% of the population relied on over-the-air TV alone for their TV content, you’d think that number would mean that OTA broadcasts would be safe, but that’s not necessarily the case.
The FCC is currently in the process of trying to buy back broadband that was given to broadcasters for free decades ago. The idea is to free up bandwidth that mobile internet providers can use to keep up with demand.
While that doesn’t look great for free TV, keep in mind that the numbers are old, and very few young people have any interest in paying for cable. Free TV and mostly internet streaming are the preferred options of the newer generations.
Also, no one really expects big network affiliates to be selling their frequencies yet, the FCC is hoping smaller stations local stations, and foreign language broadcasters might consider it, but no one is expecting that suddenly a network like CBS, or ABC for example, will decide to go off the air.
For now you should be just fine, over-the-air TV is not going anywhere in the short term, in the long term, who knows… but you will get plenty of signs that their time is coming to an end.
While it’s there just enjoy your free TV and, worst case, years and years down the line you may have to tune in online, but by then you may not even notice the change if you’re already streaming or accessing the content some other way.