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3,000 Viewer Calls After Milwaukee Soft DTV Test

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association said the marketwide "soft" analog cutoff test in Milwaukee Sept. 15 drew 3,000 viewer calls in less than three hours.

Four stations in the market pulled the plug on their analog signal for one minute at 5:10 p.m., while others ran crawls or graphics at the same time with digital-TV-education information and a referral to a live, three-hour phone bank that was set up to answer viewer questions.

WBA president Michelle Vetterkind said the eight stations that did not pull the plug had "certain technical issues" that prevented them from doing so at this time. She did not elaborate, but she said this was the first of several tests and she expected that all would ultimately test pulling the plug, as well.

She added that viewers "truly appreciated" the phone bank and had "all types of questions," including about coupons, converter boxes and antennas.

According to Vetterkind, 23% of Milwaukee's viewership is analog-only.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.