CHARLOTTE -- After years of public information campaigns and months of predictions that not enough people would be ready for the switch, some Charlotte-area TV stations switched to digital-only broadcasting Wednesday.
The result? A collective yawn.
"It's been pretty quiet," said Joseph Pomilla, general manager of WAXN, which turned off its old analog transmitter at 15 seconds to midnight Tuesday.
Feb. 17 had been set as the date for the switchover nationally. But the federal government decided to extend the switchover deadline to June 12.
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WAXN made the switch this week because it broadcasts on a frequency that Homeland Security wants to use for communications. Two public television stations serving the area also made the switch. The rest of Charlotte's commercial stations, including the major network affiliates, will switch in June.
WTVI took about 250 calls earlier this week from viewers, but only about six after the switch on Wednesday, said Elsie Garner, the station's president.
South Carolina's public broadcast network, which serves Charlotte with Rock Hill's WNSC, set up a statewide call center and logged about 500 inquiries since Monday, spokesman Rob Schaller said. Early in the week most calls were about how to obtain a converter box or discount coupon and on Wednesday most were about how to get reception, he said.
Most of those calls were resolved by instructing viewers to hit the "scan" button on the converter, which locks it into digital broadcast signals.
Nielsen estimated this week that about 5 million U.S. households --or 4.4 percent of all homes -- had not taken steps to receive digital broadcasts. That was an improvement of more than 800,000 homes since the beginning of February, Nielsen reported. In the 22-county Charlotte market, fewer than 3.7 percent of homes are believed to be without digital equipment.
Here are the stations that have made the switch to digital-only broadcasts:
• WHKY, Hickory, N.C.
• WNSC, PBS in Rock Hill (Comporium cable Channel 7 in Rock Hill)
• WTVI, PBS in Charlotte (cable Channel 9 in Rock Hill)
• WAXN, Charlotte independent (cable Channel 10 in Rock Hill)
Stations planning to make the switch in June:
• WBTV, CBS (Comporium cable Channel 5 in Rock Hill)
• WSOC, ABC (cable Channel 4 in Rock Hill)
• WCCB, Fox (cable Channel 11 in Rock Hill)
• WCNC, NBC (cable Channel 6 in Rock Hill)
• WJZY, CW (cable Channel 8 in Rock Hill)
• WMYT, MyTV (cable Channel 12 in Rock Hill)
For technical help
A toll-free, 24-hour hot line is available for viewers with questions about the digital transition or need advice on hooking up converter boxes.
• In North Carolina: 888-388-1733T
• In South Carolina: 877-388-8992