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Three Charlotte-area TV stations will drop analog signal tonight

Only 10 North Carolina TV stations - including three in the Charlotte area - will pull the plug on their analog broadcasts and go completely digital tonight. Midnight tonight was the original deadline for analog television to go dark across America. But customer confusion and problems with the government's converter box coupon program prompted Congress to delay the transition until June 12th. Most stations in the Charlotte area plan to wait until then to begin broadcasting only in digital. The exceptions are WAXN and WTVI in Charlotte and WHKY in Hickory, which will yank the band aid off now, rather than prolong the pain. "Putting it off a few months is not going to necessarily make it any more fun," says WTVI President Elsie Gardner. "And I'm expecting that if there are some technical glitches in some of the communities, that this will give us the opportunity to start working one by one with those people." Gardner points to new data from The Nielsen Company which estimates 96 percent of Charlotte-area viewers are ready for the transition. People who subscribe to cable or satellite TV - and those who purchased a new television in the last two years - will not be affected by the switch. Others will need a converter box to continue receiving a signal.