WABC New York and KTRK Houston have each received about 500 calls. The problem isn’t the volume of calls, but the length, says a spokesperson. “These aren’t 30-second calls.”
ABC joined the migration to DTV-only service today, pulling the plug on analog at nine of its 10 TV stations. The holdout, KGO San Francisco, is scheduled to make the move at midnight local time.
According to Julie Hoover, a spokesperson for ABC stations, WABC New York and KTRK Houston have had a “very manageable” volume of about 500 calls.
But the challenge isn’t the volume, she said. It’s about the length of the calls, typically about five minutes each.
“These aren’t 30-second calls,” said Hoover. “The vast majority have converter boxes and just have to be walked through re-scanning the channels or adjusting the antenna. It’s very rare that anyone is calling wondering what happened. They just don’t know that if they scanned once before and need to scan again now.”
According to Hoover, the heaviest call volume is in Chicago. At WLS, college students and electronics stores employees are volunteering on the phones alongside the station staff.
Apparently, below-average cable penetration in the DMA is the cause of the above-average volume of OTA viewers seeking assistance.
Elsewhere, at Media General, about half of its stations have made the transition. So far, the call volume from viewers is well within expectations, according to Ardell Hill, senior vice president, broadcast operations. “This is looking like a non-event to us, a Y2K repeat,” he said.