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Retailers Inundated by DTV Callers

DANVILLE, VA.: The collective cry for DTV-transition help may be far smaller than what’s being reflected by the number of calls to the FCC’s help line. Retailers in this Southern Virginia community reported being overwhelmed with calls.

“I’m up to my neck and totally frustrated,” Raymond Haley, owner of Haley’s Television Sales and Service, told the Danville News. “It’s been a hectic thing the last two or three days since they shut it off. Most of it is they don’t get certain channels they’ve been used to getting, and that gets them totally confused.”

Most of Haley’s callers were from rural areas where people hadn’t yet installed the gear necessary to pick up digital TV signals. The manager of the local RadioShack, Adam Gann, said he was down to two ‘digital’ antennas from about 70 in stock. He, too, had been inundated with calls from people who couldn’t get the same channels with digital-to-analog converter boxes as they could with analog reception.

Business appears to have picked up at several Radio Shacks around the country. The Shack in Harrisonburg, Va., had a last-minute rush, WHSV-TV reported. A Shack franchise in the Nashau, N.H. area had “a ton of last-minute shoppers,” the assistant manager told The Telegraph. The Deseret News indicated a similar phenomenon in Salt Lake City, though one individual said he was waiting until he could afford a converter. Trevor Woodford, a 26-year-old resident said he had limited funds and would rent movies for the time being. Woodford works at a local Radio Shack.

The general sales uptick for Radio Shack hasn’t buffered the company’s stock from a wider market drop pinned on other retailers, including Best Buy. Shack (NYSE: RSH) ended Friday at more than $15 a share. It was trading at around $13.92 at mid-afternoon EST today. -- Deborah D. McAdams