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Chicago Area Broadcasters to Participate in DTV Soft-Shutdown Tests on November 12, 2008
[November 04, 2008]

Chicago Area Broadcasters to Participate in DTV Soft-Shutdown Tests on November 12, 2008

CARTERVILLE, Ill., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- To help viewers be prepared for the federally mandated shutdown of television analog signals on February 17, 2009, nearly all of the over-the-air, full-power broadcast television stations in the Chicago Area, in conjunction with the Illinois Broadcasters Association, will participate in a soft-shutdown of their analog signal. The test will occur simultaneously across all broadcasters' channels at 6:53 a.m. and 5:23 p.m. on Wednesday, November 12th, 2008. The tests will last five minutes each. The test will alert television audiences who receive the analog signals that their television set(s) are not ready for the DTV transition with a full screen graphic and will give them resources that will inform them of the steps they must take. Stations will place a "crawling" message on the digital broadcast indicating that this television set is ready for digital but to check other sets in the home for readiness.

At exactly 6:53 a.m. on November 12th, three beeps will be heard and an on-screen graphic will appear on broadcast television stations informing the viewer if their television is "not ready" for the digital transition. The graphic will direct the viewer to call a DTV help line at 1-877-DTV-5353. Chicago 311 Call Center has been engaged to answer questions viewers may pose on the evening of the test. Many stations have their own DTV education efforts underway.

While recent reports indicate that the viewing public is learning about the transition, many have not yet taken any of the actions that will be required in order to continue viewing television after the conversion. The Chicago market has approximately 300,000 households that receive their TV exclusively over-the-air according to Nielsen's latest estimates.

An earlier test, conducted in September in Wilmington, North Carolina, showed that there was still a great deal of work to be done in educating the public about the conversion. The Chicago Area hopes to build upon those efforts in creating a cohesive DTV education plan that utilizes the resources of all of the stations in the broadcast area.

"The diversity and size of the Chicago market challenges us to communicate this upcoming change to digital television in every manner possible. While we have all done a thorough job of producing and airing countless public service announcements and conducting many consumer education programs throughout the community, it is our hope that this 'soft-test' will serve as the strongest possible reminder to all viewers that February 17, 2009 is right around the corner. By conducting this 5 minute test twice in one day, we believe we will provide viewers with a significant opportunity to test their readiness for digital television. Our collective mantra is to leave no viewer behind," stated Emily Barr, President and General Manager of ABC7 Television.

"This concentrated effort by the Chicago TV broadcasters speaks volumes to their commitment to alerting the public that over-the-air viewership can and will be interrupted come February 17, 2009 if simple proper steps aren't taken to update those TV sets that still rely on 'rabbit-ears' or roof antenna systems," remarked Dennis Lyle, President and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association. "It is better for viewers to identify and correct their problem now while stations continue to broadcast in both analog and digital than after February 17, 2009, when only digital transmission will exist," stated Dennis Lyle, president and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

Viewers who rely on antenna TVs and who do not have a pay service or a digital television must act in order to continue to receive free television after February 17, 2009. The FCC urges anyone who thinks they are affected to get your converter box today to enjoy the benefits of digital television now.

The DTV transition will enable consumers to receive a clearer picture, better sound and receive multiple channels from their local over-the-air broadcasters. The shutdown of the analog signal will allow for greater capacity on the airwaves for law enforcement and other emergency service providers signals and to use the wireless spectrum in a more efficient way.

Additional tests are being planned over the coming months.
DTV 101: Consumers who receive their television over the air -- with an antenna on their roof or a "rabbit ears" set-up must take one of three steps in order to continue to receive a signal after February 17, 2009:

1. Purchase a digital converter box. (A coupon is available from the
government to offset the cost.)
2. Buy a new digital-ready television.
3. Upgrade service to cable or satellite. (Cable and satellite systems
will handle the transition for their customers.)

Participating stations:
WFLD (Fox)
WGBO (Univision)
WPWR (My 50)
WSNS (Telemundo)

Illinois Broadcasters Association

CONTACT: Dennis Lyle of Illinois Broadcasters Association,+1-618-985-5555,

Web site:

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