11 Central Florida television stations have united to conduct a DTV transition test program designed to prepare viewers for the end of analog television on February 17, 2009. The test program will involve three test broadcasts by the 11 stations between June and the end of the year. The first test is scheduled for June 25, 2008, at 7:59 p.m. Each of the three tests will be broadcast for approximately 1 minute. All participating stations will broadcast each test at the same time. In advance of each test, all participating stations will promote the test and will broadcast information explaining the test. During each test, the stations will first alert viewers and explain the test. Each station will then simulate the termination of analog broadcasting by removing the video signal that feeds the analog transmitter for a few seconds causing the screen to go dark. On each participating station’s digital broadcasts, and on cable and satellite systems that receive direct feeds from the station, the station will notify viewers that they have successfully passed the test. At the conclusion of each test, stations will notify viewers that if their screen went blank they need to take corrective action and should try again during the next scheduled test. Also, during the test broadcasts, each station will provide information to help viewers who need to take corrective action and resources for additional DTV transition assistance.
Local stations partnering to provide the tests are WESH-TV (Hearst-Argyle Television), WKMG-TV (Post-Newsweek), WFTV-TV (Cox Enterprises), WCEU-TV (Daytona Beach Community College District), WKCF-TV (Hearst-Argyle Television), WMFE-TV (Community Communications), WVEN-TV (Entravision Communications), WRDQ-TV (Cox Enterprises), WOTF-TV (Univision), WTGL-TV (Good Life Broadcasting) and WBCC-TV (Brevard Community College). To participate in the tests, viewers must watch one of the participating stations during the scheduled test times.
RBR/TVBR observation: This sort of a program should be held in markets across the country—this way no one will miss it. There are still plenty of over-the-air viewers and studies have shown that in many markets ethnic, elderly and poor residents are unaware of the upcoming transition and will likely be watching static on the screen next year. Not good—especially if there are local emergencies.