Local TV Stations to Participate in “Soft Shutdown”

Local stations will join a national voluntary “soft shutdown” of over-the-air service during fringe primetime December 17 to demonstrate the upcoming loss of analog service. In reality, local TV broadcasters decided to playback at 6:58 PM a two-minute announcement regarding shutdown of analog broadcasting February 17.

Local channels 8, 10, 15, 39, 51, and 69 are due to sign-off permanently in February. Channel 6, XETV Tijuana, will participate in the demonstration to help promote viewership on the digital channel, but will not be shutting down permanently in February.

Those stations are expected to make the announcement on their analog service only, saying that viewers may be ill-prepared for the February service shutdown.The announcement, prepared locally and shared among the stations, will explain the availability of cable and satellite as well as low-cost digital converters and about where they can find information about the transition on the internet.

Of course, with Congress still considering bills to extend analog TV over-the-air service both in general and along the Mexican border, the entire exercise and recent on-air announcement series may serve only to further confuse the public.

Bill Zears at the San Diego FCC office had said that most full power analog TV stations would sign-off for five minutes on December 17, but that was rejected by local broadcast managers.