August 21, 2008

Louisville Broadcasters Unite to Provide Innovative Digital Transition Tests

LOUISVILLE, KY -- In an unprecedented alliance, 5 Louisville television stations have united to conduct an innovative DTV transition test program designed to prepare viewers for the end of analog television on February 17, 2009. On that date, all full-power television stations in the country are required to terminate their analog broadcast signals and deliver only digital signals (an event referred to as the "digital transition").

The first test is scheduled for September 3, 2008, at 7:58 p.m. This test will be broadcast for approximately 90 seconds. All participating stations will broadcast this test at the same time. In advance of this test, all participating stations will promote the test and will broadcast information explaining the test. During each test, the stations will first alert viewers and explain the test. Each station will then simulate the termination of analog broadcasting by removing the video signal that feeds the analog transmitter for a few seconds causing the screen to go dark. On each participating station's digital broadcasts, and on cable and satellite systems that receive direct feeds from the station, the station will notify viewers that they have successfully passed the test. At the conclusion of each test, stations will notify viewers that if their screen went blank they need to take corrective action. Also, during the test broadcast, each station will provide information to help viewers who need to take corrective action and resources for additional DTV transition assistance.

Local stations partnering to provide the tests are WAVE-TV, Channel 3 (Raycom Media Inc.), WDRB-TV, Channel 41 (Block Communications, Inc.), WHAS-TV, Channel 11 (Belo Corporation), WLKY-TV, Channel 32 (Hearst-Argyle Television Inc.) and WMYO-TV, Channel 58 (Block Communications, Inc.). To participate in the test, viewers must watch one of the participating stations during the scheduled test time.

An on-going issue with the digital transition is confusion over what viewers need to do to ensure they will continue to receive television service after the transition. An additional issue facing small multichannel TV service providers (such as community antenna systems, apartment complexes, retirement homes, and hotels) is that some have not yet made necessary equipment changes to continue to deliver programming after February 17, 2009. Both of these concerns led the Louisville, Kentucky broadcast consortium to develop the test program to help viewers determine if their television sets require converter boxes or other adjustments in advance of the digital transition. The test program will also help small multichannel TV service providers determine whether additional equipment is necessary in order to provide a station's digital signal to their customers.

Digital broadcasting provides a clearer picture and more programming options. The digital transition will also free up airwaves for use by emergency responders and other wireless services. Viewers with televisions connected to major cable providers or satellite systems should not be affected by the change. Viewers may get more information on the digital transition by logging onto www.dtv2009.gov or calling 1-888-DTV-2009.

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WAVE-TV became the area's first local television station to broadcast local news in High Definition on June 30, 2008. This continued a long standing tradition of broadcasting firsts for WAVE-TV which began on November 24, 1948 when WAVE-TV became the first television station to sign on-the-air in the state of Kentucky. In 1949 WAVE-TV was first in the nation to present a live telecast of the Kentucky Derby. The NBC affiliate was the first to show network color programming in the Louisville area in 1954 and first with the transmission of live local programming in color in 1962. WAVE 3 News has been honored with numerous awards for journalistic excellence including station of the year by the National Press Photographers Association and Best Newscast by the Associated Press. WAVE 3 News presents more than 34 hours a week of award winning news coverage in addition to the area's only live local talk show weekdays at 10:00am called WAVE 3 Listens Live! WAVE-TV also presents Weather Plus, a 24-hour weather channel on www.wave3.com and on digital television channel 3.2. WAVE-TV is owned by Raycom Media an employee-owned company which is now one of the nation's largest broadcasters. Currently the company owns and/or operates 42 television stations in 18 states. Raycom Media stations cover more than 10.6% of the U.S. television households and employs 3,500 individuals in full and part-time positions. Through Raycom Sports, the company owns and operates the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte and two LPGA golf tournaments, as well as produces pre-season NFL football games for non-owned stations. Additional information is available at www.raycommedia.com and at www.wave3.com.
Contacts: Steve Langford General Manager, Jim Sears Engineering

WDRB signed on the air on February 28, 1971 as the Louisville area's first independent television station. Owned by Block Communications, Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, it entered the ranks of network affiliates when it became a charter affiliate of the then-new Fox Network in 1986.In 1990, WDRB experienced perhaps its most significant evolution with the creation of a News Department and the introduction of "Fox News @ 10", the area's first local prime time newscast and one of the first local newscasts in the nation to be produced by a Fox affiliate. The News Department added "Fox in the Morning" (5-9AM) and "Fox News @ 11:30" (11:30AM-Noon) to its offerings in 1998, and in 2001 "Fox News @ 4" debuted, providing the final element of WDRB's local news presence in all dayparts. Since its inception, WDRB's News Department has been consistently recognized for excellence, having received numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists as well as several Emmy Awards. WMYO, Channel 58, made its debut in March 1994 as an independent station with the original call letters WFTE, and became a charter affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN) when it debuted in January 1995. In September 2006, the station changed networks and call letters, becoming a charter affiliate of the Fox-owned MyNetworkTV.Also owned by Block Communications, Inc. in Salem, Indiana, the station shares sales and other support staff with WDRB.
Contacts: Bill Lamb General Manager, Gary Schroeder Engineering

WHAS11 is built on journalistic excellence and a commitment to improve the communities we serve. One of America's top performing ABC network affiliates , WHAS11 is Kentuckiana's first choice for news, quality programming, and community involvement. WHAS11 is part of Belo Corp., one of the nation's largest pure-play, publicly-traded television companies, with annual revenue of approximately $775 million. The Company owns and operates 20 television stations reaching more than 14 percent of U.S. television households, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV affiliates, and their associated Web sites, in 15 highly-attractive markets across the United States. Belo stations consistently deliver distinguished journalism for which they have received significant industry recognition including nine Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Awards; nine George Foster Peabody Awards; and 23 national Edward R. Murrow Awards all since 2000, and in each case more than any other commercial station group in the nation. Nearly all Belo stations rank first or second in their local market. Belo owns stations in seven of the top 25 markets in the nation, with six stations located in the fast-growing, top-14 markets of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Seattle/Tacoma and Phoenix. Additionally, the Company has created regional cable news channels in Texas and the Northwest increasing its impact in those regions. Additional information is available at www.belo.com or by contacting Kirk Szesny, Director of Marketing and Creative Services at 502-582-7870.
Contacts: Mark Pimentel General Manager, Bill Brown Engineering

WLKY is a digital multi-media company providing content to WLKY32 and www.WLKY.com. WLKY 32 produces thirty-three and a half hours of local news per week in Greater Louisville and has won the prestigious NABEF Service to America award along with many other awards for outstanding journalism. WLKY 32, the CBS station in Louisville, is owned by Hearst-Argyle Television. Hearst-Argyle owns 26 television stations, and manages an additional three television and two radio stations, in geographically diverse U.S. markets.
Contacts: Glenn Haygood General Manager, Jim Stanley Engineering, 502-893-3671.