WILM & CBC staffers stand by as the switch is flipped making Wilmington a completely digital television market on Sept 8, 2008
This week CBC’s coastal television station WILM and the entire Wilmington television market are celebrating the 5th anniversary of their transition to digital. On September 8, 2008, all four television broadcast stations in Wilmington made the digital switch, becoming the first market in the country to go to all digital broadcasting.
WRAL-TV Chief Engineer Pete Sockett looked back to remember the time for capcom.
“It was a cool time. It was the end of analog,” said Sockett. “Wilmington was the first market in the country to be only digital, and we were a part of it.”
Sockett said that CBC built a whole new transmitter site out in Delco.
“It was a lot of work to get it on,” he said of the preparations for the all-digital operation.
Sockett worked with former CBC Vice President of Special Projects John Greene, WRAL-TV Transmitter Supervisor Matt Brandes, WRAL-TV Transmitter Engineer Rick Congleton, and WILM General Manager Connie Knox as the project team.
“We pulled off a very robust low-power TV station, taking it fully digital,” said Sockett. “It’s one of the nicest low-power facilities out there.”
Sockett said he felt nostalgic as analog phased out but looked toward the future.
“It was a cool time, with lots of energy in the air,” he said. “It was television growing up. Even though stations like WILM are low power, they still have the same fabulous HD picture that a larger station would have. The digital transition made that happen.”
Check out the news from 2008:
- WRAL.com: Wilmington debuts DTV transition
- USA Today: Pioneer Wilmington N.C., flips switch to all-digital TV
As WILM reaches the fifth anniversary of this ground-breaking transition, the Wilmington market has another reason to celebrate. The Wilmington market recently grew to the 131st market in the country, from 132nd.