The downward trajectory of consumers calling the FCC in the aftermath of the Wilmington NC DTV transition continued on the fourth and fifth days. Only seven were added to the ranks of consumers caught unawares, and not a single one of them was completely unaware. Two got the date wrong and five thought the switch did not apply to their favorite stations. Starting with day one, the total number of related calls going to the FCC have been 797, 424, 281, 205 and 121. The biggest categories going forward were calls from people outside the market who no longer get certain Wilmington stations, with 118, and those experiencing reception/technical problems, with 94.
During the two days, 20 calls came from procrastinators, 44 from people having problems with converter box coupons, and 32 from people having trouble hooking up a converter box.
RBR/TVBR observation: Last week, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps put forward a nine-point program to put in place for the big DTV transition 2/17/09. One of these, “Find a way to broadcast an analog message to consumers following the transition,” is a direct reflection of what the FCC has done here for Wilmington. Residents of that market aren’t getting a blank screen when they try to tune in a digital station with an analog receiver – they’re getting instructions on how to get reception. This certainly makes a great deal of sense, and is definitely worth a rapid act of Congress to put in place. Hearings are scheduled in the House today and in the Senate next week – we’d advise spending some time on this issue.