Congress is going to take another whack at delaying the DTV transition date from February 17th to June 12th.  Its reasoning: as many as 6.5 million people are not ready, many of them poor, rural and/or elderly.  Today’s NY Times reports on what stations in Houston are doing.  And what they are doing is happening here in West Michigan and across the country.

No one wants millions of Americans to be without local television.  Yet I am not sure the deadline move is going to guarantee that.  First of all, there are estimates of more than 3.3 MILLION people on the waiting list for coupons.  How long will it take to clear that backlog, and help the rest of the people in need?

I help field phone calls at WZZM most Tuesdays when we host several segments with our VP of Technology called ‘Ask Chuck.’  Many of them have no clue how to hook up their converter box and are relying on sons, sons-in-law, neighbors, etc. for help.

This is one way to hook up the box, VCR and TV

This is one way to hook up the box, VCR and TV

And those are the lucky ones who have someone to call.  I hope every community follows Houston’s lead and use outreach group like Meals on Wheels to reach everyone.

To me, true success means on February 18th — or June 13th — no one knows analog television disappeared.


Welcome to my blog, which I hope to get to at least once a day.

Today I wanted to start with a topic that will only get bigger over the next 6 weeks or so: the DTV transition.

If you or someone you know needs a coupon for their analog, non-cable or satellite TV, tell them to order it tomorrow.  This article is one of many that is saying the program could run out of money before everyone who needs a coupon gets one – or you may not get the coupon before the February 17th deadline.  People also don’t realize the coupons expire!  If they do, you can’t order any more from your address. Find a family member or friend who does not need any coupons and ask them to order for you.

I work at WZZM, the ABC station in West Michigan.  We will be doing multiple tests in almost every key daypart on Wednesdays, starting again January 7th.  If you live in another market, check with your TV station to make sure you can ‘Test Your TV’ before the deadline.