It appears that FCC’s Kevin Martin (R) and Michael Copps (D) are getting their wish: A television DMA has volunteered to kick off its DTV conversion early to test the system. Nobody is against a test, but there was a NIMBY problem getting an actual volunteer until now, with Wilmington NC stepping to the forefront. Mayor Bill Saffo (D) is accepting credit and anticipating a kick-off of 9/7/08, according to Multichannel News. The market has full power network affiliates owned by Morris Multimedia (ABC WWAY); Raycom (NBC WECT and an LMA of Fox WSFX, owned by Southeastern Media Holdings); and the University of North Carolina (PBS WUNJ). There are also three key low power stations, owned by Capitol Broadcasting (CBS WILM-LP); Carolina Christian Broadcasting (MNT W47CK); and Trinity Broadcasting Network (W51CW, airing its own network). Multichannel notes that about 7.5% of the locals are over-the-air only households.
RBR/TVBR observation: There has been no official word on this from the FCC, but Martin has just scheduled a press conference for this afternoon that looks suspiciously like it will address this very topic.