So far so good in Wilmington, N.C., the first TV market to flip the switch to all-digital broadcasting nearly six months ahead of the Feb. 17, 2009 mandated deadline. The market's four commercial TV stations, WECT, Raycom Media's NBC affiliate; WILM, Capitol Broadcasting's CBS affiliate; WSFX, Southwestern Media's Fox affiliate; and WWAY, Morris Network's ABC affiliate, received a total of 226 calls to their station switchboards from viewers with questions about the transition to digital.
Most of the calls were from viewers who set up converter boxes incorrectly or needed help adjusting or moving antennas. Only one call was from a viewer who was caught by surprise by the switch that occurred at noon, Sept. 8.
"By and large, the consumer education campaign run by Wilmington stations and the FCC got the job done," said Andy Combs, general manager of WWAY. "A simple truth from Wilmington is that stations need to urge their viewers to upgrade early, so that they can have their converter box ready to go and determine whether signal reception will be an issue in their household. Many reception issues are generally easy to resolve, but in some cases in some areas, folks may need a better antenna."
Through the end of the September, stations are airing several paragraphs with instructions on how to make the transition to digital, for those viewers who failed to upgrade and can no longer receive programming.