WAVE 3 ends 60 years of analog broadcasting

By Connie Leonard - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The days of analog TV are history. The so called Big Switch to digital is now complete. There is no question that the Big Switch is a big change for many folks and WAVE 3 is here to help if you or someone you know is still trying to get a signal off an old antenna.

"I watched them build this building," said Jack Crowner, the former WAVE 3 farm director of the current WAVE-TV location at Floyd and Broadway. "Brick by brick and stone by stone, we were so proud of it at the time."

Crowner and other former employees really understand the changes throughout the golden age of television. Recently, a group of former WAVE 3 engineers got together. They all put WAVE-TV on the map, making it television station the first on the air in Kentucky when it signed on the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 25, 1948.

"The day we went on the air for live programming, we did the Male-Manual game in November at Male High School," remembered Norm Preston, a former WAVE engineer.

But getting WAVE-TV on the air wasn't easy because all they had ever known was radio.

"The biggest issue was that nobody knew much about television although, a few of us had training in radar in the Navy," said former WAVE 3 engineer Bernie Holtman.

It was only fitting that more than 50-years after Kentucky TV made its debut, the official and long awaited switch from analog to digital was helped along by Holtman. He had the honor of hitting the switch at exactly 11 a.m. Friday, June 12, 2009 to end the era of analog television broadcasting.

Despite government vouchers and months of information to help consumers switch from old rabbit ears to a new converter box to get the digital signal, there are still plenty of questions out there. To help you or someone you know go digital, there are two new help centers in the Louisville area to answer your questions.

"I've had customers come to me and say that it's been a lot of help and they've gone straight to their house and have now been able to hook up their converter box," said Christian Harper, assistant manager at the center set up inside Big Lots at 5318 Bardstown Road, at the intersection of Hurstbourne Parkway.

If you need help making the switch to digital TV, check out one of the two DTV help centers in the Louisville area. The Big Lots location on Bardstown Road is open every day through July 14 from 12 Noon to 8 p.m. The other location is Best Buy, 4251 Outer Loop. That help center will be staffed from 12 Noon to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday's until June 21st.

(Copyright 2009 WAVE-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)