I really enjoyed your post but need to set the record straight on the aspect ratio and psip issues. You were close on some of your suppositions about how these decisions are made but let me elaborate.
We had a massive power failure about 4:20pm New Years Eve. Lost both P.E. lines. The generators started and KYW was back on the air in seconds. WPSG had no audio for about 15 minutes caused by a tray of audio DA's being inadvertantly pluged into normal power.
At this time most of the KYW-DT and WPSG-DT equipment is not on emergency power. I'm sure you can imagine that most of our technical effort went into getting KYW back up for a news program scheduled at 5:00pm. With KYW and WPSG back up we checked out the digital stations and left to enjoy the holiday.
Now fast forward a couple days and I am just getting comfortable at home ( you were pretty close except it was a diet coke ) and fire up the computer to check the AVS forum. Search on KYW and WPSG and find the thread about the loss of PSIP mapping. OH crap, didn't check the PSIP computers. Can't remember if they are on emergency power. Call the station and get the maint. tech. to check them out. Good, now we have the correct PSIP mapping back. I read on and stumble on the 14x9 vs. 4x3 discussion. OH crap, the upconverter must be screwed up. I hate that Rhode & Schwartz upconverter. Another call and we're back to 4x3 on WPSG-TV. Gotta be more carefull with this stuff next time the power goes off.
Regarding the aspect ratio issue. There is no controversy at KYW, or CBS for that matter. I consider the alteration of the original aspect ratio nothing more than picture distortion which is avoided at all cost. You will never see that on my stations. The deviation from the 4x3 aspect ratio on WPSG was caused by a very unusual set of circumstances. Stuff like that doesn't happen to me twice!!!
If you ever notice any abnormal operation on either station please e-mail me right away.
Marc Howard's new office is just two doors down the hall from mine so I'll watch out for him running down the hall!!!!
James M. Chase
Director Broadcast Operations & Engineering
KYW-TV / WPSG-TV
101 South Independence Mall East
Philadelphia PA, firstname.lastname@example.org