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Nevada Broadcasters Pass DTV Test

The Nevada Broadcasters Association (NBA) is calling its statewide Dec. 17 digital TV test a success, despite some call center hiccups. According to NBA President/CEO Bob Fisher, the call center’s AT&T phone lines were servicing multiple states involved in simultaneous DTV tests (dozens of states shut off analog signals Dec. 17), and became overwhelmed during Nevada’s 7:30 p.m. test. In-state viewing was very high at that time due to the evening daypart and interest in the region’s unexpected blizzard. As Nevada’s 7:30 test fell during other markets’ primetimes, the call center jammed, citing “unanticipated volumes” that meant hundreds of Nevada calls did not get through.

Fisher says the call center received 1,800 calls from Nevada residents; he figures the total would be double that if all had gotten through.

Nevada stations had five two-minute tests Wednesday and early Thursday. The Nevada Broadcasters Association’s phone number was also given at the end of the call center’s automated message. Fisher says 30-35 calls came in to the Association, primarily about antennas and coupons for DTV converters. “We expected more calls,” said Fisher. Station managers he spoke with had similarly modest tallies, he adds.  

Nevada isn’t done reaching out to viewers. The state will conduct another test Jan. 12, says Fisher, at which point KOLO Reno shuts off analog for good. Broadcasters will use radio spots to get the word out to those who are still unready for the DTV switch, which happens nationwide Feb. 17. Fisher says the message is a gentle nudge to the holdouts: “We will make sure your needs are met--please be patient, because we’re all in this together,” he says. “I believe the way we’re going to be successful with this is one person at a time.”