Kentucky Fox Station Drops $5.5 million on HD

LOUISVILLE, KY.: Fox affiliate WDRB-TV became the first TV station in its market to take its local news hi-def, the Louisville Business Journal reports. The station, owned by Block Communications of Toledo, Ohio, invested a reported $5.5 million to take its studio and ENG operations HD. The sum is in addition to $4 million the station spent to comply with the digital transition. WDRB started transmitting its local newscasts in the format April 17, and is offering HD recording services to its advertisers.

Block’s Fox affiliate in Boise, Idaho, KTRV-TV, has been converted for local high-definition production, while it’s Decatur, Ill., NBC affiliate, WAND-TV, is on track for conversion next year.

WDRB first experimented with HD production in 2007 with its coverage of “Thunder Over Louisville,” the opening ceremonies of the Kentucky Derby Festival. The station rented a mobile unit to do the production in 2007 and again in 2008. It purchased HD pass-through gear last year.

The Journal said other local stations are following suit. WAVE-TV, the local NBC affiliate, was said to have invested $500,000 to convert its studio for HD. WLKY-TV, the CBS affiliate, was also mentioned, but no specifics were provided.