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WRAL Gets On The (Cell) Phone

In keeping with its tradition of cutting an edge, WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C. started broadcasting content to cell phones this week. WRAL is distributing news, weather and traffic information to Sprint PCS Vision wireless users. The application, dubbed "NOW," for "News Over Wireless," was designed by WRAL sibling company, DTV Plus, with wireless application assistance from Air2Web.

WRAL thus becomes the first local TV station in the country to offer its news, traffic, and weather content over cell phones. WRAL is widely known as the first station to construct an HD newsgathering operation.

"This new mobile phone application gives us yet another way to better serve the public, and makes sense in an increasingly wireless world," said Jim Hefner, vice president and general manager of WRAL.

NOW, designed for use on J2ME-enabled devices, is flexible in the sense that new content categories can be added "on the fly," according to the news release announcing the service.

Sprint PCS Vision customers can register for WRAL service by visitingWRAL or Sprint, or they can download the application from the download menu on their handset. The monthly fee is $3.99 in addition to the service plan.