Stations Prepare For Soft Analog Shut-Off Test Thursday

Related: The DTV Countdown: Complete Coverage of the DTV Transition

The National Association of Broadcasters says stations are gearing up for tomorrow's soft analog shut-off test. All the networks and their owned stations are participating, as are stations in all but a handful of markets, according to the FCC's database, with the rest still "pending."

Most stations will simulate the analog shut-off--happening for real on June 12--three times during the day, airing either a text slate or a video explaining the transition. Generally the tests will come at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and will last from two to five minutes.

NAB says 400 stations have already conducted soft cut-off tests. According to Shermaze Ingram, NAB's senior director of media relations for the DTV transition, the tale of the DTV transition tape breaks down this way: 972 stations will transition on June 12, while 788 stations have already made the transition. Of those 788, 213 went before Feb. 17, the original analog cut-off date, 416 pulled the plug on Feb. 17, and 159 will have done so sometime between Feb. 17 and June 12.

The FCC said Tuesday that the test would be a "wake-up" call.

John Eggerton

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.