GBC and Metro TV blame each other for poor quality of Obama visit transmission

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A blame game has ensued between the incumbent public broadcaster, GBC and one of its private sector challengers, Metro TV over the poor quality production of the coverage of US President Barack Obama's 21-hour visit to the country.

The coverage was characterized by short breaks in sound transmission and poor quality pictures. The fracas started on a radio talk show on which Metro TV provided an unflattering commentary on the issue. A peeved GBC fired a strongly-worded letter off expressing its disgust at Metro TV's passing of the buck to its doorstep.

In a letter signed by Doris A. Kuwornu, Corporate Affairs Director of GBC, the incumbent expressed dismay at what it described as Metro TV's accusation that it (GBC) was responsible for the poor sound and picture quality coverage of the Obama visit when it was transmitted worldwide from the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).

Explaining its position, GBC revealed that Metro TV covered the delivery of the US President to Parliament and special dignitaries at the AICC, sending signals to its (GBC's) microwave link equipment. GBC noted however that the signals which were routed to it for onward distribution to other stations were below the standard level of “one volt peak-to-peak”. Under these circumstances, poor video signals, below the standard level, would produce poor pictures and sound quality on TV, GBC explained. Metro TV satellite technicians, GBC stressed, can attest to the fact that the microwave equipment on location kept on warning of a low signal level during transmission.

GBC, the corporation pointed out, “finds it rather strange that Metro TV is saying that they sent the feed on their KU Band uplink equipment” adding that “these parameters are normally given out at least 24 hours before an event, and nothing of that sort was communicated to the GBC.”

Delving into the deal reached about the coverage at the Technical Sub-Committee meeting chaired by Nat Lomo Manu of the Ministry of Information, GBC explained that it was decided that they cover the arrival and departure ceremonies, the breakfast meeting and the durbar of chiefs at Cape Coast. Metro TV, GBC went on, was required to send the signals to GBC's microwave equipment and not to its KU Band uplink. GBC therefore expressed surprise that “Metro TV now wants to blame the GBC for the lapses that occurred during the live coverage of the event at AICC.”

While some attributed the anomaly to GBC, others preferred to lay the blame on the doorsteps of the Ministry of Information which has already apologized for any inconveniences that may have been encountered in the course of the programmes.

Alhaji Haruna Alhassan, Deputy Managing Director of Metro TV, when contacted by Daily Guide, dismissed the GBC accusation, explaining that the station picked its signals on the programmes from DSTV which he added was unstable and therefore producing unstable pictures.

Alhaji Haruna Alhassan said at a maiden meeting over the apportioning of the coverage, it was decided that Metro should manage the departure and the La Polyclinic segments. The Metro Outside Broadcast (OB) van, because of its long cable system, was tasked to cover the conference centre assignment, he continued.

Transmissions went through the KU and C bands and then DSTV in Spain and then South Africa. “We gave GBC the coordinates. All they needed to do was the KU and not the DSTV which was unstable and therefore providing unstable pictures,” he said.
There was also an American system outside the conference centre which he said was interfering with the transmissions.

The Minister for Information, Mrs. Sabah , on her part, rendered a government apology over the inconveniences that occurred in Accra and Cape Coast segments of the programmes.Some of the inconveniences had to do with the closure of major roads in Accra and diversions between July 10 and 11th.
Modern Ghana