NAB Says DTV Calls Aren't Flooding Switchboards

Early signs on stations that dropped analog are encouraging

The National Association of Broadcasters says its early read on stations that pulled the plug on analog earlier in the day Tuesday (Feb. 17) was encouraging.

According to Jonathan Collegio, NAB's VP for the DTV switch and point person for DTV education, there were relatively few viewer calls in markets in Virginia, Illinois and Kansas that had made the switch early enough for the association to get a read on them.

In two Virginia markets, for example, there had only been 150 calls by the time the NAB put out an e-mail at 9:45 Tuesday night. Stations in Rockford, Ill., had received 200 calls, while Topeka stations had received about 300 calls.

NAB said stations were able to resolve most of the problems over the phone. "We are pleased that thus far call volume appears relatively low in markets where stations switched earlier in the day," said Collegio in a statement. "Awareness of the transition is saturated in every market nationwide as a result of the broadcast industry's $1.2 billion consumer education campaign," he said, a campaign for which he was the point person at the NAB.

A quick check Wednesday morning with an aide to a Democratic senator concerned about the transition suggested that early read was still holding. "We haven't gotten any calls" to our office, he said. "Nobody is burning down the switchboard and saying they don't have their television...yet."

The FCC allowed 421 stations to pull the plug on analog Feb. 17, with 220 having already done so and the rest allowed to pull the plug between March 14 and June 12, the current, final hard date for all but so-called "nightlight" analog broadcasts of emergency and DTV transition information.