KBMT launches local HD news after unexpected circumstances complicate transition

Last week, KBMT, the ABC affiliate in Beaumont, Texas, launched its local newscast in HD, which isn't particularly remarkable at this point in the history of high definition and local broadcasting.

However, being in DMA 141, the station's move to local HD news appeared from a distance as if it might offer an interesting example of how a broadcaster in a smaller TV market with a presumably smaller budget has approached the HD challenge.

As is often the case, preconceived notions about the direction of a story are far from where reality leads. The story of the station's transition to local HD news is much more interesting.

Having endured the loss of its roof in 2005 from a tornado spawned by Hurricane Rita and subsequent damage from two other hurricanes, KBMT was left scrambling just to resume normal operations. Hurried technology acquisitions to respond to the damage, an ownership change, and taking on operations of three additional stations — including the local NBC affiliate — transformed the station's straightforward goal of launching local HD news into one that was full of many twists and turns.

In this podcast interview, KBMT chief engineer Mark Cormier talks about those challenges and the station's launch of local high-def news.