When the transmitter at Journal Broadcast Group's WTMJ Milwaukee was hit with lightning Friday morning, its over the air signal was knocked off the air. That's when Weigel's WBME stepped in and offered to air WTMJ, an NBC affiliate, on its digital channel 49.2.
WBME, known as METV, is an independent sister station to WDJT. General Manager Jim Hall says WBME simulcasted the WTMJ feed from around noon Friday until WTMJ got its transmitter issues worked out around 7 p.m. Saturday. Hall says around 20% of the market watches over the air, and satellite TV subscribers were affected too.
He says the helping hand was an extension of the teamwork the stations had done showed during the buildup to the analog shutoff. "We all worked together on the digital transition," Hall says. "We held phone banks together and aired PSAs together."
WTMJ Executive VP Steve Wexler said he was grateful for the assist. "Through the use of new digital technology, we were able to continue to provide our programming to ‘over-the-air' viewers," he says. "Jim Hall and his staff were quick to offer their assistance and I appreciate their professionalism."