At least one market has decided to stick with the 2/17/09 DTV switchover date. The sprawling La Crosse-Eau Claire WI DMA will enter the digital area on the original deadline day, citing a miniscule percentage of endangered OTAs. According to Twincities.com/La Crosse Tribune, the six major network stations believe that less than 1% of television households are still unprepared for the switch.
Quincy Newspapers has ABC affiliates WXOW-TV in La Crosse and WQOW-TV in Eau Claire; Grant Communications has Fox stations WLAX-TV in La Crosse and WEUX-TV in Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls; Morgan Murphy has only on full-powered station, CBS WKBT-TV La Crosse; and Gray Television has only one, NBC WEAU-TV in Eau Claire.
Meanwhile, Quincy announced that it was also going all digital in the Rochester MN-Mason City IA-Austin MN DMA, where it owns NBC KTTC-TV and operates Sagamore Hill’s Fox KXLT-TV.
RBR/TVBR observation: We’ve had DTV previews in two markets now – Wilmington NC, which benefitted from the full attention of all stakeholders at once, and Honolulu HI, which benefitted from a very low percentage of at-risk viewers. We can probably expect to see mini-tests such as these – and La Crosse-Eau Claire – all the way to June. The most challenged markets should have plenty of real-life case studies to learn from by then.