About the same time that the FCC announced its trial analog shutoff experiment in the Wilmington, N.C. market, an alliance of 11 Orlando, Fla. stations announced that they too will do their own analog shutoff test this summer.
Starting in June and lasting through the end of the year, 11 participating stations will be involved in three separate tests. The first one is scheduled for June 25, 2008 at 7:59 p.m.; each test will last approximately one minute and all broadcast stations will participate simultaneously. The tests will be promoted on air prior to the test, and during each test, and, in the tradition of emergency alert system tests, the stations will first alert viewers and explain the test. The screens will then go dark for several seconds, as each station simulates the termination of the analog broadcast by removing the video signal that feeds the analog transmitter.
Viewers watching the signal on each station’s digital broadcasts and on cable and satellite systems, will be notified onscreen that they have successfully passed the test. At the test’s conclusion, viewers who were greeted with a blank screen will be notified that they need to take corrective action and try again during the next scheduled test. In addition, during the tests, each station will provide information to help viewers who need to take corrective action and resources for additional DTV transition assistance.
Stations participating in the tests include:
- WESH-TV, Channel 2 (Hearst-Argyle Television)
- WKMG-TV, Channel 6 (Post Newsweek)
- WFTV-TV, Channel 9 (Cox Enterprises)
- WCEU-TV, Channel 15 (Daytona Beach Community College District)
- WKCF-TV, Channel 18 (Hearst-Argyle Television)
- WMFE-TV, Channel 24 (Community Communications, Inc.)
- WVEN-TV, Channel 26, Entravision Communications Corp.)
- WRDQ-TV, Channel 27 (Cox Enterprises)
- WOTF-TV, Channel 43 (Univision)
- WTGL-TV, Channel 45 (Good Life Broadcasting)
- WBCC-TV, Channel 68 (Brevard Community College)
Richard Mann, consortium spokesperson and chief engineer with WESH/WKCF-TV, said the test will provide members with the information needed to assess the potential success of the February 2009 scheduled shutoff.
“One of the biggest questions viewers have is ‘will this affect me?’” Mann said. “This test will answer that. To the best of our knowledge, the market-wide test we’re proposing has not been utilized or attempted by any other alliance of broadcasters in the country.”