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FCC Chief Expects Pitchforks and Torches

WASHINGTON: FCC Acting Chairman Michael Copps expects to hear from a few fired-up folks on Friday when TV stations around the country go all-digital. More than 780 full-power TV stations have made the switch; another 970 or so will shut down analog transmitters on Friday.

“There’s going to be some angry consumers,” USA Today (opens in new tab) quoted Copps saying. The primary problems are expected to be antenna and channel-scanning issues, both of which have generated the most complaints from stations that have already transitioned and a recent soft test conducted in several large TV markets. At least count, Nielsen estimated that around 2.9 million homes will lose TV reception in the final analog shutdown. The FCC has gone gang-busters trying to get out the message.

Copps was in Los Angeles Monday and today, urging people to get prepared. L.A. is the second-largest TV market in the United States and among 49 identified by the commission as having the highest number of households at risk of losing TV service in the transition. The FCC reckons an estimated 15 percent of the city’s households--862,650 of them--rely exclusively on over-the-air television. Of those, the commission estimates 4.69 percent--40,458--are not prepared for the transition. -- Deborah D. McAdams