Wilmington Verdict Is In
At least, the verdict is in from the perspective of the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC released details today about how prepared viewers in Wilmington, N.C., really were for Monday's switch to digital programming.
Wilmington was the first market in the country to through the digital transition as a trial run so the agency could get a better understanding of how to make the process go smoothly when every other market makes the switch in February.
During the first day of the transition, about 800 residents called the FCC's helpline asking questions and looking for help with the switch. About 14,000 households in the Wilmington market rely solely on over-the-air TV broadcasts. On the second day of the transition, 424 people called the hotline looking for help.
The vast majority of callers were aware of the transition, and most were also prepared. But a lot of callers were having trouble setting up converter boxes correctly or were having reception problems.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said the feedback showed that more information about how to set up converter boxes should be incorporated in the consumer education campaigns.
More than 200 calls were related to viewers' inability to receive the Wilmington NBC affiliate. Prior to the digital switch, the Wilmington NBC affiliate signal was available to viewers outside the television market as far south as Myrtle Beach, S.C., and as far north as Raleigh, N.C.. The Wilmington NBC station's new coverage area does not include these areas, based on the coverage footprint the station had requested.
Wilmington got the benefit of a lot of extra personal attention--so much that some critics have said it gave Wilmington residents an advantage over viewers in other markets. But Martin said that, while Wilmington got additional help from the FCC, it did not have the benefit of the $1 billion education campaign put on by the broadcasters that will soon kick into high gear. The FCC has said it will give extra attention to the 80 markets with the most over-the-air viewers.
The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will be holding a hearing next Tuesday, Sept. 16, to assess the status of the digital transition for the rest of the country. The Senate will hold a hearing on the issue the following week.
Get This Widget >>
Blogs That Reference This Entry
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Hemisphire | September 11, 2008 11:32 AM
Posted by: J Shaf | September 12, 2008 8:05 AM
Posted by: Denice Rhodes | September 14, 2008 1:35 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.