Chicago Shuts Down for Five Minutes

Folks watching Chicago’s WGN-TV yesterday on analog sets with rabbit ears got an eyeful of Bozo the Clown. WGN ran a screen of the venerable icon during an analog shutdown test across the nation’s No. 3 market. At least 13 TV stations in that market cut analog signals for five minutes at 6:53 a.m. and 5:23 p.m. local time.

Bozo informed viewers that if they could see him, they weren’t ready for the transition. Joanne Stern, WGN director of creative services told The Chicago Sun-Times that the station considered the clown the “ideal spokesman” for the DTV readiness test.

The Illinois Broadcasters Association, which organized the tests, estimates that about 300,000 households in Chicago rely exclusively on over-the-air television. Additional tests will be done, according to a press release from WLS-TV, the ABC affiliate in the Windy City.