Sunday, June 08, 2008

What's Up In Wilmington? It's Now Just THREE Months to the Transition Test.

Today is June 8th, which means that there are only three months remaining until Wilmington, N.C. becomes the first TV market in the country to run a full test (other than two stations, see below) of the digital transition. It's also been one month since that was announced (and covered just about everywhere). So what's happened since?

It doesn't appear that all that much has happened yet. However, it was learned early on that FCC representatives will meet with government and community groups in the areas affected to help smooth the path. The linked article also implies that there may be other small tests sites announced later. An official of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (Anthony G. Wilhelm, their director of consumer education and public information) has already visited.

The online edition of The Star-News, Wilmington's daily newspaper, has also set up a page summarizing the situation as of May 30th. One of the matters dealt with there is the concern over the fact that this is happening during hurricane season (and the possibility that the FCC might postpone this if there was imminent danger at the time). This concern is why public station WUNJ-TV (part of the UNC-TV network) is sitting the test out (they're the official source for emergency info). The linked article in the second paragraph above also mentions the concern that an important past source of emergency info (battery-operated sets) will no longer function (although it occurs to me that they should still be able to get WUNJ).

According to Wilmington's Wikipedia entry, low-power station W47CK will also not participate (they're not required to, as LP stations are exempt from the transition) although their fellow LP stations WILM-LP and W51CW will be taking part.

That's all the solid news I have on this story for now. I expect to have more to report at this time next month.

UPDATE - I inadvertently left out what will become a crucial source of locally-generated info - wilmingtondtv.com

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