The Switch Goes Off Without A HitchJune 12th, 2009 at 11:24 am by woodtv under Inside WOOD TV8, News
We just witnessed broadcast television history. Our station, the first to go on the air in West Michigan, just marked another milestone. In 1949, when we started broadcasting, it was with the analog signal. Today, we just shut off that signal and from now on, we will broadcast in digital only. From our end, at our transmitters, the switch went off without a hitch.
In the photo to the left, I’m interviewing our Chief Engineer, Mike Laemers moments after the switch. See the screen by me…it’s snowy. That’s what tv sets look like if owners did not take the steps to go digital. The screen by Mike shows the digital signal.
Ten years ago, we became the first television station in the market to start broadcasting in High Definition. We’ve been putting out a digital signal for a decade. Now that is the only signal high-powered television stations in this country can broadcast in, so mandated by federal law. The old analog channels don’t die. They’re going to be auctioned off and will wind up being used by emergency personnel and phone/cell/internet coompanies. The feds will glean a good deal of money from the sale, money obviously this nation can use.
I just ran up to the engineering office at WOOD-TV-8. The phones are ringing off the wall. As soon as staff answers questions about why viewers aren’t seeing a picture on their screen, the next call comes in.
We have a toll-free number (1-877-FYI ASK8) and viewers are leaving messages with questions. We have engineers retrieving those messages and calling back to problem-solve.
I overheard our Chief Engineer, Mike Laemers, talk a viewer through the transition from analog to digital. When the viewer pulled in our signal and saw something on the screen, Laemers commented, “Isn’t that great? Isn’t it wonderful, digital?” The viewer responded that the channel was going to stay right on WOOD-TV- 8 through the Red Wings Game tonight and wouldn’t let anybody change it. That game begins at 8pm, by the way. We’ll all be watching too, and we’ll undoubtedly have a late 11pm newscast.
For the Red Wings game, our crews will be Live on the ice recording all the action. My co-anchor Brian Sterling will be there as well as one of our sports anchors, Larry Figurski. That will be great to see… tune in for 24-Hour News 8 at 5 and 6 and 10 and then stay with the game through the end. At 11ish, 11:30ish, we’ll have great highlights, interviews, hoopla, reaction. Here’s to a RED WINGS WIN. STANLEY CUP, HERE THEY COME. And now, everyone will be able to watch it in DIGITAL T.V. ENJOY!