62 Stations Plan Early December Analog Shutoff Tests

In the largest batch of analog shutoff “soft” tests yet, 62 television stations in five markets will simulate the end of analog as part of the ongoing campaign to prepare over-the-air viewers for the DTV transition.

The tests are planned for Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Hartford and Dallas-Fort Worth Dec. 2-4. The tests, in which over-the-air viewers will see regular programming replaced with a message about the Feb .17 shutoff, will last for two minutes in Washington, Los Angeles and New York and five minutes in Dallas-Fort Worth. Hartford broadcasters have 30-minute tests planned. For New York, it’s the second test.

"With less than 85 days until the DTV transition, it is more important than ever that broadcasters do everything in our power to make sure that the country is fully prepared to achieve DTV readiness," said John Lawson, executive vice president for policy and strategic initiatives at ION Media Networks. "These carefully planned exercises are alerting at-risk consumers and generating very valuable data to help guide us for the real thing in February.

The schedule tests will run at the following times:

Washington.......Dec. 2, 5:28-5:30 p.m.
Los Angeles.......Dec. 2, 5:28-5:30 p.m. and (KCAL only) 9:28-9:30 p.m.
New York........Dec. 2, 6:57-6:59 a.m.
Hartford...........Dec. 3, Noon-12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Dallas..............Dec. 4, 6:25 a.m.-6:30 a.m., 6:25-6:30 p.m. and 10:25-10:30 p.m.