Analog extension legislation in the works?


Raycom’s NBC WECT-TV in Wilmington NC is broadcasting a show they hope few viewers will see. It’s all about what to do in the unfortunate event that you are in fact able to view the program. That’s because it’s being aired on the station’s all-but-abandoned analog channel. The show stars GM Gary McNair and CE Dan Ullmer, who explain the possible reasons the digital signal isn’t making it to the viewer’s household and what to do about it. WECT experienced more problems than is likely for most stations due to differing analog and digital contours. McNair and Ullmer offer advice on restoring service for those who lost it, including steps to get maximum strength possible. The program will run until the end of the month.

Unfortunately, such as service will not be available from stations in the other 209 Nielsen DMAs after the main DTV conversion takes place 2/17/09. As it stands now, all analog service will be shut off by law.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would provide a mechanism to keep analog signals operating for a relatively short time after the 2/17/09 , to provide both DTV and emergency info to those left behind.

RBR/TVBR observation: Making information available on otherwise deceased analog stations pointing abandoned viewers to competent help seems to be most valuable lesson from Wilmington. We’ve already been calling for just such a plan, although we envisioned keeping every station’s analog signal alive for at least a week or two. But anything would be better than nothing.