July 29, 2020

Antennaweb.org came about quite by accident. I was attending a conference in Los Angeles when one of the keynote speakers held up a paper map which, he explained, would help consumers purchase the optimal off-air antenna to get free, over-the-air digital broadcasts. He intended to have one produced and distributed for every DMA in the country. It was a great idea, though I knew it would not work.

The average household in the U.S. gets 12.3 FREE broadcast channels (with an antenna)

The paper maps were DMA-centric. While DMAs are loosely based on over-the-air television, the minute you use them for antenna selection is the minute they are wrong. I instantly knew that. I also instantly saw the pure genius of helping people get the right antenna and I had the keynote speaker to thank for that.

Before the keynote even ended, I had started working on AntennaSelector.com

I did not want to offend the keynote speaker by leaving for no reason, so I stood up and pretended to take an urgent call on my cell phone. Trying not to be too disruptive, I tiptoed out the back talking to my imaginary friend. When I got to the hotel lobby, I made two calls. First, I called our IT person and said, “Get me the web address anntennaselector.com.” He did.

After securing antennaselector.com I called the venerable Ken Franken, ace engineer

Ken agreed we could develop an actual antenna selector technology that worked right down to the individual household level. No need for paper maps. And, with what we had both learned about antenna polar patterns in the last half-hour, we could even recommend the exact right antenna. Bam! We were on to something.

My antenna selector technology still exists today over at antennaweb.org, though it looks more like a NASCAR full of advertisements than it did before I sold it (I am so sorry about that). Never the less, over the years it has helped millions of consumers make the transition from analog to digital television and I am proud of that.