The big four network affiliates in Eastern Iowa are switching off analog 2/17/09; a CW affiliate and an Ion O&O are undecided; and a pair of PBS stations are riding out the transition with dual streams all the way to 6/12/09. The stations are in another sprawling DMA, including the cities of Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City and Dubuque (to get an idea of just how sprawling the DMA is, it translates into three separate and distinct Arbitron radio markets).
Making the switch, according to GazetteOnline.com, are Gazette’s own ABC KCRG-TV; another Quincy Newspaper station – NBC KWWL-TV; Sinclair’s CBS KGAN-TV; and Second Generation TV’s Fox KFXA-TV. Still mulling their options are KM Communications’ CW KWKB-TV; and Ion Media O&O KPXR-TV.
Iowa Public Television has two stations in the DMA, KIIN-TV and KRIN-TV, both of which will maintain side-by-side analog and digital streams through the duration of the deadline extension.
KCRG’ s GM told Gazette that although it’s hard to know how many citizens in the DMA are unprepared, the number is believed to be very small.
RBR/TVBR observation: Markets that eat up a lot of geography are more likely to have a high level of MVPD use, so we expect such markets will be among the early DTV adopters. The good news is that the nation’s densest urban centers, where it is possible to get TV via rabbit ears, are the very same markets where big television groups that have pledged to keep analog alive to the very end of the transition.