November 26, 2008

WFAA/DT Set to Conduct Another Series of "Shut Off" Tests to Promote DTV Awareness


Are consumers prepared for the switch from analog to DTV? That is the questions that broadcasters and viewers are asking themselves as the February 17, 2009 nears: the date when broadcasters will transition from analog to digital television. WFAA has scheduled a new round of "shut off" tests in early December to provide consumers more opportunities to check their televisions and see if they are prepared for the switch.

The station is set to conduct a test inside the market's most watched local news broadcast, News 8 at 6 p.m., on Monday, December 1, and the following day, December 2, on the locally produced talk and information show Good Morning Texas at 9 a.m. During both tests WFAA will provide a free phone bank that viewers may call at 972-988-8888 and ask station engineers, technicians and digital experts questions about DTV.

"These December tests will mark the second and third time we have broadcast such 'shut off' tests for local viewers," said Mike Devlin, WFAA's president and general manager. "We will broadcast specific information that will help consumers know if they are prepared for the switch, or need to take additional steps."

"Our first shut off test was on October 15, and we heard from a number of consumers," added Devlin. "This new round of testing is another opportunity for north Texas television viewers to check and see if they are prepared for the switch in February. We encourage them to watch, and call our free phone bank if they have questions. There is a lot of good information available and we want to make the transition as smooth as possible for our viewers."

On Thursday, December 4, WFAA will participate in a market wide "shut off" test in which all local broadcast stations are slated to participate. WFAA will air special information during News 8 broadcasts at 6:25 a.m., 6:25 p.m. and 10:25 p.m. for 5 minutes each. The day of the test, viewers may call 1-877-388-5353 with questions about the switch. Information will be provided to local broadcasters to help them better target information and DTV educational efforts.

"This extended, 5-minute length of the December 4 test will give viewers enough time to check all the televisions in their homes and know where potential issues may be," said Devlin. He added that the station is planning more tests to air prior to the switch on February 17.

WFAA is a subsidiary of Belo Corp., one of the nation's largest pure-play, publicly traded television companies, with 2007 annual revenue of $777 million. The Company owns and operates 20 television stations, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV affiliates reaching more than 14 percent of U.S. television households, and their associated Web sites, in 15 highly-attractive markets across the United States. Belo stations consistently deliver distinguished journalism for which they have received significant industry recognition including nine Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Awards; eight George Foster Peabody Awards; and 19 national Edward R. Murrow Awards all since 2000, and in each case more than any other commercial station group in the nation. Nearly all Belo stations rank first or second in their local market. Belo owns stations in seven of the top 25 markets in the nation, with six stations located in the fast-growing, top-14 markets of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Seattle/Tacoma and Phoenix. Additionally, the Company has leveraged its local television assets to create regional cable news channels in Texas and the Northwest increasing its impact in those regions. Additional information is available at or by contacting Dave Muscari, WFAA vice president/product development, at 214.977.6490.