Maybe he just got his coupon. Maybe he forgot about the spare TV in the back room which is not hooked up to cable/sat. Maybe he has a digital TV, but didn't realize that he would need a converter to record OTA on his VCR or DVD recorder.
I think you are giving the guy far too much credit.
Yesterday, one of the local stations here in Boise (KTVB 7) ran announcements ALL DAY LONG that they had a phone bank set up to answer questions. When the 10 PM news broadcast began, the anchor was standing behind a table, where 8 people were sitting in front of phones, none of which were ringing. He once again announced that the phone bank was open, and gave out the number. Within 10 seconds of him giving out the number, all 8 of the phones lit up, and stayed that way for the rest of the broadcast.
That station was also the only one to make any kind of fanfare out of the transition. They talked about it throughout most of the newscast, including an interview with a retired station manager who had started with the company in 1956 as a young guy, and worked his way up until he ran the station until 1996. Then, they had one of the oldest surviving emeritus employees do the honors of "pushing the button" at the end of the newscast. After the button had been pressed, the anchor said "if you can still see us, I guess you're OK!"
Ironically, this was the only local station that was changing frequency. About 10 minutes after the newscast ended, they went dark (on both OTA and Dish, both SD and HD) for about an hour while they made the switch, leading me to believe that Dish doesn't get their feeds through fiber optics.
All of the other stations made their transitions very quietly, and I didn't notice any disruptions.