A Big Step…

Capitol Broadcasting Co. (CBC) President and CEO Jim Goodmon came by WILM-TV to congratulate the staff, saying the switch was a big step for the station. “Are we multicasting yet?” he asked jokingly, before getting a piece of cake. John Greene, Vice President of Special Projects for CBC, was there to celebrate too.

Goodmon only let the station know four months ago that they would have to be ready for the switch on September 8th.

Twelve years ago, Goodmon and Greene led the push at WRAL-TV In Raleigh to become the first station in the country to broadcast digitally. Now they are finally seeing the first market to fully transition to DTV.

Before 4:30 PM, WILM-TV had only received calls from six different people. CBS didn’t work on their TVs. All of them relied solely on OTA television. They all knew about the switch and had purchased digital converter boxes well in advance. CBS was the only station to not work on their TV – all the other channels they were used to and even some new channels came in clearly.

WILM is a low power station whose analog signal was only broadcast in a 5-10 mile radius to some 3000 people. The new digital signal now reaches 300,000 people. WILM’s digital signal is still low power and is not as strong as the other stations’ signals, explaining why customers are picking up all of the other channels except for WILM CBS. The analog signal was broadcast across the street from WILM. The new digital signal is being transmitted from Delco, some 20 miles to the west of Wilmington. Low lying areas are having a lot of trouble picking up WILM, including the area where the station is located, and callers are being encouraged to raise their antennas as high as possible (ideally on the roof) and to point them to the west.

One angry caller who lives down the road from the station couldn’t understand why he could receive the CBS analog signal perfectly before but now couldn’t pick up the digital signal. “I think it’s a copout,” he said. It was explained to him that simple rabbit ears were not enough. He would likely need to get an amplified antenna and put it in his attic or roof. The caller didn’t want to go through the effort and determined that he would just “do without CBS”

/ Tristan Milder & Alison Hydrick

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2 responses to “A Big Step…

  1. You should add bylines to the stories, so folks know who to credit for the work. Good specific details in this.

  2. This entry has lots of good information. Alison Hydrick and Tristan Milder wrote the copy.

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