WJZY’s Ed McKay turns off the analog signal for the Charlotte station.
On the morning of July 8, 1987, Broadcast Engineer Ed McKay pushed the button to turn on the NTSC transmitter for Charlotte’s newest television station, WJZY-TV. And on July 6, 2009…almost 22 years to the day…McKay had the honor of pushing the button to end transmission of Charlotte’s last analog television station.
As the official FCC Nightlight station for the Charlotte television market, WJZY-TV had continued to broadcast in analog mode for three weeks past the nationwide DTV transition date of June 12, as a public service to provide straggling viewers with the information needed to make the conversion to digital.
Now Assistant Chief Engineer for WJZY-TV and WMYT-TV, McKay remembers the excitement of firing up a new over-the-air television station. “It was like a dream come true. I remember telling my friends what a unique opportunity it was to build a new station without having to leave my home and move the family to a new city somewhere in another part of the country,” McKay says.
WJZY-TV signed-on with some of the most modern technical equipment available in 1987. Ed remembers that “The Society of Broadcast Engineers received permission to hold a meeting at the station so the members could tour the facility and see our state-of-the-art automation system in action. It was one of the best-attended meetings the local chapter ever had.”
He never dreamed that he would also be the person pushing the button to end the analog broadcasting era in Charlotte. “Time sure goes by fast,” says McKay.
Thanks to WJZY’s Crystal Rose for this capcom story & photo.