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Wilmington Opts for Second Soft Test

As the September 8 date approaches for Wilmington, NC broadcasters to shut off their analog signals, station managers there have decided to conduct a second pre-test to make sure the message is getting out to viewers. The stations shut off the analog signal for a minute August 19, with affected viewers seeing an on-screen message informing them they’re not digitally connected--and giving them a phone number to call.

 Calls from affected parties were essentially non-existent, but station managers wonder if they allowed viewers ample time to read the entire message, and jot down the phone number. “We may not have given readers enough time to read the whole message, and the phone number was at the end,” says WECT VP/General Manager Gary McNair.

 The second test, set for 7:30 p.m. September 2nd, will run for five minutes. Stations can present the on-screen message any way they like, but McNair says WECT’s will probably feature larger type, a more digestible presentation, such as a scroll, and perhaps the continuous display of the phone number.

 Managers again expect minimal feedback from affected viewers. “Hopefully nobody sees the message,” says McNair, “and hopefully nobody has to read it.”