KBTX-TV Signs Off Analog Early

KBTX-TV, the Gray Television-owned CBS affiliate serving College Station, Texas, made its digital transition last night. The station went all-digital with a low-power signals and plans to power up to a full megawatt in three weeks.

General Manager Mike Wright said the station was originally scheduled to shut down its analog operation Dec. 1, but tower crews were delayed by bad weather. The work is now underway on the tower, where the analog transmitter antenna must be swapped for the digital version. KBTX’s low-power transmitter is at another site and will be used as a back-up once the full-power transmitter is up and running. The full-power signal is expected to increase the station’s coverage from around 1.6 million to more than 3.6 million people.

The station made the leap last night after its 10 p.m. newscast, replacing it’s programming with a rotating billboard. “If you receive a picture containing… these three items airing over and over, you know you need to convert to digital,” Wright wrote in the KBTX’s blog. Wright also noted that "despite our best efforts to make sure everyone is up to speed, it is still confusing--even for some of us in the business. Many callers to KBTX who saw our countdown clock online or the message about or analog transmitter shut-off tonight at 10:35 p.m. have asked, "why now? We thought the deadline was Feb. 17th!"