It’s Official: CBC Television Stations are Digital

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It’s Official:  CBC Television Stations are Digital

“The broadcasting industry is going from analog to digital.  Now that’s really good news.  That’s good news for the broadcasters and good news for our viewers.”
– CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon

Jim Goodmon
CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon turns off WRAL’s analog signal on Friday, June 12, 2009.

The Big 5 is no more, technically speaking.  WRAL-TV turned off the station’s analog signal on Friday, June 12, 2009, at 12:55pm.   The historic event closed WRAL’s Noon News broadcast.

WRAL-TV Executive Producer & 5 On Your Side Reporter Monica Laliberte joined CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon at the WRAL Transmitter in Auburn, NC, to officially complete the conversion to digital.

The conversion went “smooth as silk” according to WRAL-TV Chief Engineer Pete Sockett.  He joined a handful of other employees key to the conversion at the transmitter to watch Goodmon turn off the analog signal.

An event over 20 years in the making, the end of analog is the biggest event in television since the advent of color TV. 

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“Things went VERY smoothly thanks to great communication between all Departments—and clear communication with our viewers,” said WRAL-TV Vice President & General Manager Steve Hammel.

After Goodmon & Laliberte flipped the switch, WRAL-TV went off the air for five minutes for all viewers but those watching via Time Warner Cable.  During the break, viewers simply needed to unplug their television sets and converter boxes for five minutes, so the sets would automatically rescan their channels when plugged back in.

“We’re gone,” said Goodmon after turning off analog.  “It’s off.  Channel 5 is gone.” 

A thirteen-year-old Goodmon stood by his grandfather to watch the Big 5 go on the air in December 1956.  It was momentous for him to see the “official” frequency go.  But he looked forward with optimism.

“As I’ve always said, the digital transition allows broadcasters to be a part of the future,” said Goodmon. “We’re leading the digital revolution with all of our technology.  This is sad to turn off the Big 5, but I’m really excited about digital and I’m looking forward to the future.”

A key in the future will be in mobile technology, according to Goodmon. 

“I think the next thing is going to be our digital mobile service,” he said.  “We’re going to really tie ourselves into the community with mobile and that’s going to be our emphasis.” 

The Final Word on Going Digital

Monica Laliberte & Jim Goodmon
WRAL-TV’s Monica Laliberte (left) interviews Corp’s Jim Goodmon moments before analog turns to snow.

Going digital is good for viewers.  Why?  “Perfect picture, no ghosts, no snow,” CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon listed the attributes of digital.  “We have actually improved our coverage, wide screen, 16×9, surround sound, and the big one, high definition.”

What is the best way to get a high definition signal?
“To get the best high-definition, you get it off the air,” said Goodmon.  “It’s a perfect picture.  I thought I was at the Masters.  And I feel like I’m in the car, you know, when FOX does a car race.  The other thing we can do is multiple channels…and the real cap here is….we’ve gone mobile.”

Thanks to WRAL.com for this capcom graphic & to Corp’s Angie Emerline for these capcom photos.

WRAL-TV’s Digital Transition

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