Digital Transition is the ninth overall entry in the Local 58 video series. The episode shows technical interruptions that occur as the station makes the switch from analog to digital broadcasting at midnight on July 13th, 2021.
The broadcast begins at the end of an episode of One Step Beyond while text scrolling from right to left notifies watchers of a major change regarding the channel:
"REMINDER: WCLV-TV LOCAL 58 IS 'MAKING THE SWITCH' TO DIGITAL BROADCASTING TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT HTTP://LOCAL58.TV/DIGITAL"
After the television show concludes, a 3D Local 58 logo appears on the screen. Notices appear further elaborating on how Local 58 is switching to digital broadcasting at midnight on July 13, 2021 to adhere to FCG regulations. They inform watchers that older TV models will experience service interruptions as this change occurs. They also offer resources like a phone number and the aforementioned website that owners of analog TVs can contact to request free digital conversion kits.
Less than a minute before midnight, the station airs a recap of their logos and programming from 1938 to present day similarly to A Look Back. Afterwards, a new logo for the station appears on the screen, just before the broadcast starts experiencing technical difficulties shortly after midnight.
A barely visible announcement using the 2002 station ID appears stating that the station will not currently be moving to digital broadcasting at all. Another message, this time using the new 2021 station ID, overlays over the previous announcement and states that the specific TV that we're using to watch the channel hasn't been configured to receive digital broadcasts. While this new message plays, the previous announcement that it is obscuring changes its text to say:
I the one you watched
I the always here
They make you thought from pieces
They cut the thoughts I am
All knife all knife
Thoughts shape in needles
They dream themselves in knifes"
The text that says "BETRAYAL" changes twice more to read "I COME IN" "THRU THE WINDOW".
Further technical difficulties ensue, including messages from Weather Service like "GO OUTSIDE NOW" appearing behind the 2021 announcement. More ominous messages appear across the screen, some being typed out in real time:
"UNTHINKING THEY MOVE
TO CUT HIS THROAT
ONLY TO MAKE
A THOUSAND MOUTHS
IF HE IS SILENCED
WE WILL SPEAK FOR HIM
SIGNS AND WONDERS
FLOOD OUR LITTLE SKY
NO STARS ABOVE US
WAITING TO OPEN
THERE ARE OTHER RECEIVERS"
With this last message, what appears to be a distorted face unhinging its mouth appears as it and the text begin to melt. The entire broadcast cuts out momentarily before a warning from the FCG notifies watchers that it is a federal crime to receive analog frequencies that once played on broadcast television without authorization. Doing so results in a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
This episode contains many callbacks to previous episodes of the series, including:
- A brief clip from the show One Step Beyond also appeared in A Look Back, although it is a different clip than the one used in this episode.
- As the 3D station ID from 2011 appears for the second time, many split-second messages flash by on the screen, including:
- The 2002 station ID from episodes like Weather Service, You Are On The Fastest Available Route, STATION ID, A Look Back, and Real Sleep.
- The messages "IF YOU ARE AFRAID" and "WE WILL LOOK TOGETHER," which appeared in Weather Service but are displayed in the red font that was used in Skywatching.
- The message "HIS THRONE" from Skywatching.
- During the montage of the station's previous programming, more references can be seen, including:
- The Emergency Alert System weather warning card and the phrase "GO OUTSIDE NOW" from Weather Service appear behind the new 2021 station ID.
- "THERE ARE OTHER RECEIVERS" is a phrase used in STATION ID and on http://LOCAL58.tv/digital.
- The distorted face shown near the end is reminiscent of those shown in Real Sleep.
- The FCG warning stating that disobeying the station's orders is illegal has similar messaging to the notices shown from the U.S. Department for the Preservation of American Dignity that appear in Contingency.
- The clip used at the beginning of the episode comes from a paranormal-themed anthology series called One Step Beyond. The specific episode used is season 1, episode 4, "The Dark Room". Its host and director, John Newland, is parodied in this episode as John Neumond.
- The FCG is a parody of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a federal agency that oversees and controls television and other media communications across the United States.
- The phone number and the website provided in the "NEED ASSISTANCE?" card are both functional in real life.
- Calling [622-5580|(845) 622-5580] will play an audio track of garbled noises, among which is a Morse code message that says, "There are other receivers".
- Going to local58.tv/digital will show a webpage that begins by telling readers how they can obtain a free digital conversion kit, but scrolling down quickly devolves into a mess of garbled screenshots from Local 58 broadcasts. The last legible line of text from the informational portion says, "There are other receivers".
- The montage of the channel's past programming omits the station ID that was shown in between the 1977 and 1988 IDs in A Look Back. There's a possibility that the missing ID has been retconned out of Local 58's lore.
- Kris Straub has stated that the station IDs match broadly with the years they are seen with in the montage, but not exactly. This explains why in You Are On The Fastest Available Route, the 2002 ID is used in 2014 despite the 3D station ID debuting around 2011.