Lessons Learned: Wilmington, NC

As we reported earlier, Wilmington, North Carolina was the first city to test the switch to digital as their analog signal went black. While for the most part, it was a success, there were some interesting lessons to learn.

When the switch was flipped at high noon, the FCC hotline and local TV stations in the area were "inundated" with calls from residents who were having problems. A detailed report in The Wall Street Journal said that about 74 calls were placed to two local stations, and 100 were placed to the FCC. Not exactly a panic rush, if you ask me. Most people needed help setting up their digital converter boxes.

What can be learned?

Even though the FCC is offering $40 vouchers for converter boxes, many people still weren't prepared. Cable and satellite subscribers don't need to do a thing, but even with millions spent on educating the public, people still don't get it.

Perhaps instead of just telling folks the switch is  coming, how about tutorials on how to set up the converter boxes? How about an example of what will happen to your picture without the converter. You can bet that local Wilmington news was all over the switch, since they were the first, but even with that enhanced coverage, people were still unprepared.

Dtvdputy Know anyone who relies on broadcast TV? Do them a favor. Show them how to get a box - www.dtv.gov - become a DTV Deputy, or just sign them up for satellite TV. Who watches broadcast TV anyway? -Leslie Shapiro