Groundbreaking Early Transition for Wilmington

WILMINGTON -- WECT is one of four commercial television stations taking part in a groundbreaking early transition to digital broadcasting on September 8, 2008.

Wilmington is the only market that stepped forward for the early transition to digital-only broadcasting.  The experiment will require the close cooperation of the broadcast, cable, satellite and retail industries, as well as the federal government and local government and civic organizations.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin made the announcement today in Washington, DC.

WECT Vice President and General Manager Gary McNair accompanied Raycom CEO Paul McTear at the event.  It was also attended by Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and President of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Connie Majure-Rhett, as well as other industry and governmental representatives.

The commercial full-power broadcasters plus the low-power CBS station serving the Wilmington television market have voluntarily agreed to turn off their analog signals on September 8, 2008.  Thereafter, the commercial television stations will broadcast only digital signals to their viewers in the five North Carolina counties that comprise the television market.

The DTV transition for the rest of the country will take place on February 17, 2009, when all full-power television stations must turn off their analog signals and transmit only their digital signals.  Over-the-air viewers (those who do not subscribe to cable or satellite) should apply to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for coupons to obtain converters for their analog sets. Please click on the link below to do so.

Raycom CEO Paul McTear said, "Raycom Media is pleased to participate in the early DTV transition in the Wilmington market. The information derived will be invaluable to the broadcast and cable industry as we strive to leave no TV behind."

WECT Vice President and General Manager Gary McNair said, "As the television market leader, WECT is honored and privileged to be part of broadcast history by participating in this opportunity.  We have the distinction and the responsibility to successfully complete the early DTV transition.  We look forward to working with our friends at the FCC and the National Association of Broadcasters."

For more information about the entire transition, members of the public should refer to the FCC's website

Written by General Manager Gary McNair