On 12/17/08, the television stations in Jacksonville FL will interrupt their 6PM newscasts, or other programming, to demonstrate what will happen to local viewers. Those who lose reception will get a wakeup call, with a live explanation of what happened and what steps to take when analog resumes after a two-minute digital-only interlude.
According to the local Times-Union, the test will run from 6:25 through 6:27. The idea is to clue in those consumers who need to take action well before the 2/17/09 DTV deadline. Similar tests are planned in many if not most DMAs, and they have been made a prominent feature of the plans sending FCC commissioners on personal visits to the 80 most-at-risk markets.
RBR/TVBR observation: Early warning and early problem resolution will be a key to a successful transition. The 200+ DMAs that are not Wilmington NC will not have the 100% of the attention of government agencies and stakeholder associations when the deadline hits. The more upfront knowledge imparted and early problem resolution accomplished, the better.