Once Wausau flipped, I thought it would only be a matter of time before one of Green Bay's TV stations made the leap to HD news. I never, in a million years, figured WBAY would be first to jump.
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, WBAY is gearing up to be the first Green Bay station to flip to HD newscasts. The switch, expected to happen by year's end, will come in three phases. First is HD field equipment, then renovating master control, and finally converting news production to HD -- sets, graphics and all. All told, it'll be a $1.6 million job.
While most of the local stations have now at least begun airing HD syndication and/or producing local commercials and promos in HD, this will be Green Bay's first foray into high-definition news. I figured one of the other major four stations beat WBAY to the punch. WFRV did a big master control renovation a year or two ago and they produce a lot of promos and commercials in HD already, but it's hard to tell how they'll fare under new ownership. FOX 11 also airs HD syndication, and has just begun airing HD promos for their weather team. I figured they may be stretched a bit thin with CW14 under their wing. I can't really attest to what NBC26 is doing because I rarely watch them (poor reception and stunningly lousy news). I don't remember if they ever flipped to HD syndication, but I don't think they upgraded to HD graphics. Always bugged me that they windowboxed SD for weather and election CG's, but with Journal pressing for bigger fees in their next go-round of retransmission negotiations, I thought at least they might make some noise.
Admittedly, I don't watch WBAY a great deal either, but I never ever thought they'd be first to flip to HD news. Firstly, their parent company has been more or less in dire straights financially in the past few years. Secondly, WBAY hasn't exactly been the technological leader in the area. Not sure if they ever made it happen, but they long had issues pushing 5.1 surround sound on network programming. We'll have to wait and see how the transition goes.