Wilmington Got Message Out About Early Switch, FCC Says

Sep 10, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Of 797 calls to the Federal Communications Commission helpline, only 23 came from residents of the Wilmington, N.C., area who were unaware that the digital TV transition in their market was going to happen Sept. 8, five months ahead of the rest of the country.
By the day after the switch, the calls to the FCC helpline had decreased by nearly 50% to 424.
According to information released Wednesday by the FCC, more than 160 calls were from people who were not getting a picture after the old analog signal was pulled because they had trouble understanding the instructions and setting up their converter boxes. The FCC said call-takers were able to talk 75 of those callers through the procedure and resolve the picture problem.
Another 178 calls were from people having reception and/or other technical issues. Twenty-two of those problems were resolved over the phone and arrangements are being made to work with the others to resolve their problems.
There were 232 calls from people who live well outside the Wilmington market in, say, Raleigh, N.C., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. They had been able to see WECT-TV, Wilmington’s Raycom-owned NBC affiliate, before the switch, but could no longer receive the signal. According to the FCC, some of those people will continue to get their local NBC affiliates’ signals. Meanwhile, the FCC is working with the others who do have unresolved reception problems.
Of nearly 180,000 TV homes in the five-county Wilmington market, nearly 14,000 receive only free over-the-air TV programming.
FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said in a release Wednesday: “The results of the digital television switch in Wilmington shows that the collective efforts of the commission, the community and industry to inform viewers of the early transition in this local market were effective.”
Mr. Martin said the “vast majority of Wilmington-area viewers” were aware of the switch and more than 28,000 coupons were redeemed for government-subsidized discounts on converter boxes.
“While we believe that the transition in Wilmington is going smoothly, the measure of success in Wilmington is what is going to happen next February, and what we are able to learn from this experience and how we apply those lessons as we move this effort across the country,” Mr. Martin said.


  1. Tv stations can do more, it shouldn’t just be up to the viewers.
    All my stations in the New York city are UHF. I never had analog VHF problems.
    I had to replace my twin lead with coaxial,
    raise my antenna and get a preamplifier . My antenna is already a medium/fringe antenna in fine shape.
    But I still at times get ‘loss signal’ or pixel
    dancing .
    Need to go back to VHF, boost the level and
    maybe even install some repeaters for the rural
    folks. If they can’t raise the power then the dam
    FCC should change the rulings .

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