Bonten Media Group announced that its local news for the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, NC market launched in high-definition (HD) this week. The three stations owned or serviced by Bonten are the first in the DMA, #103, to offer local news in HD.
Just a week earlier Bonten became the first in market #93, the Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia, to have local news in HD, on KCYB-TV (NBC) and Esteem Broadcasting’s WEMT-TV (Fox), for which Bonten provides news programming under a shared services agreement.
Likewise in the Eastern Carolina market, Bonten owns WCTI-TV (ABC) and provides news programming to a pair of Fox affiliates owned by Esteem, WFXI-TV and WYDO-TV.
“This new technology is a big step forward in the digital television evolution and means that we will now be airing a minimum of 97 hours of HD programming per week, including 24 hours of local news on WCTI-TV. The 6 hours of Fox Eastern Carolina News at 10 pm in HD coupled with Fox Prime and Fox Sports form the backbone of that station’s HD offerings. For the approximately 1.1 million people in our total viewing area, having local news broadcast in high definition will be a welcome enhancement to their viewing experience. Our stations have long led the way with innovation in Eastern North Carolina and we are pleased to be first once again,” says Vice President and General Manager Jim McKernan.
WCTI was the first station in the market to broadcast a digital signal, beginning in December 1999; and the first in the market to broadcast in HD with the 2003 Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXXVII, on ABC on January 26, 2003.
“Our substantial investment in being the first to bring local HD news to the Greenville/New Bern/Jacksonville market is yet another example of Bonten’s ongoing commitment to leadership and to meeting the needs of Eastern Carolina viewers,” said Bonten Media Group President and CEO Randy Bongarten.
For the upgrade to HD local news, the stations chose Panasonic P2 HD cameras and the Bitcentral news editing system. Grass Valley provided the production switcher and studio cameras.
“The equipment vendors we chose met the stringent requirements we established for the HD build out and committed their entire resources in achieving the process and result,” according to WCTI/WFXI/WYDO Chief Engineer Ken Hughes.