updated 2/18/2009 4:46:51 PM ET 2009-02-18T21:46:51

The federal call center set up to help viewers through the shutdown of analog broadcast TV signals at many stations this week has been able to easily deal with the volume of calls so far, the Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday.

More than 28,000 people called 1-888-CALL-FCC on Tuesday for help getting their TV sets working, the commission said.

The call center was originally expected to handle 100,000 calls per day around Tuesday, when all U.S. full-power stations were supposed to give up on analog. The deadline was pushed to June 12, but 421 stations, a quarter of the total, elected to stay with the Feb. 17 date. Most big-city stations are holding off until June.

Since many of the 421 stations didn't shut down analog signals until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, more calls are expected on Wednesday. By 11 a.m. Wednesday, the volume was up 5 percent from the day before, the FCC said.

Many of the calls were from customers who didn't know they had to force their converter boxes or digital TV sets to "rescan" the airwaves to find stations that changed their channel assignments when dropping analog, the FCC said.

The abandonment of analog TV signals only affects sets that use antennas. Cable and satellite services are unaffected.

TV stations operated their own call centers or took calls from viewers on a less formal basis. None reported a storm of angry viewers. The National Association of Broadcasters said the DTV call center in Virginia, where two markets went digital, had only 150 calls on Tuesday.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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