First In Flight, First in Digital
WILM & CBC staffers stand by as the switch is flipped making Wilmington a completely digital television market.
On Monday September 8, 2008 at exactly 12 noon Wilmington officially made the “Big Switch” to digital television. All stations in the Wilmington area turned off their analog signals and broadcast only in digital.
The event took place at the Historic Thalian Hall in Downtown Wilmington. Speakers for the even included: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, NTIA Acting Assistant Secretary Meredith Baker, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, NAB President and CEO David Rehr, and General Manager of WECT Gary McNair. President of the NCAB, Hank Price served as Master of Ceremonies.
WILM staffers enjoy a congratulatory cake right after they make history.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stated,” This is the biggest change since television going from black and white to color.”
As of September 8, 2008 the NAB survey shows that 97% of Wilmington residences were aware of the digital transition. 69,000 coupons were requested in the Wilmington DMA and 28,000 coupons were redeemed as of 9/7/2008.
WRAL.com carried LIVE coverage of the switch from WILM in Wilmington beginning at 10:30am.
WILM-TV would like to thank Capital Broadcasting Company CEO Jim Goodmon and VP of Special Projects John Greene for attending this exciting event in Wilmington. Also, huge congratulations on a job well done to the hard working WILM members that invested a lot of time and perfection to the switch. Connie Knox, Steve Klem, and Shawn Fayle, along with WRAL’s Pete Sockett and the WRAL Engineering team. Great job!
The DTV transition goes into effect for the entire country on Feb. 17, 2009. However, the nation will be watching as Wilmington makes the first test run.
Thanks to WILM’s Jenny Grady for this capcom story & to WILM’s Nicole Stone for these capcom photos.