WILM-LD is the low-poweredCBS-affiliated television station for the Cape Fear area of Southeastern North Carolina, licensed to Wilmington. It broadcasts a digital signal on UHF channel 40 from a transmitter in Delco. Owned by the Capitol Broadcasting Company, WILM has studios on Wrightsville Avenue (US 76) in Wilmington. However, some internal operations are based at the facilities of sister station, NBC affiliate and company flagship WRAL-TV in Raleigh. At the end of 2016, WILM will lose its CBS affiliation to a new WWAY subchannel; its affiliation (if any) as of 2017 has yet to be announced.[2]

History

The station began on April 3, 1989 as independent outlet W10BZ. It aired an analog signal on VHF channel 10 from a transmitter near the studios. W10BZ changed its call sign to WSSN-LP in 1995 when it joined the UPN network. In 1999, Capitol Broadcasting acquired the station.

On March 23, 2000, it became a CBS affiliate, filling a void created when previous CBS affiliate WJKA changed its calls to WSFX-TV and dropped the network to join Fox. WSSN changed its call sign to WILM-LP on that date as well. Before WILM gained the CBS affiliation, programming from that network was seen in Wilmington on cable from WNCT-TV in Greenville, WBTW in Florence, South Carolina, or WRAL.

WILM retained its UPN affiliation on a secondary basis until the network shut down and merged with The WB. After UPN and The WB merged to form The CW on September 18, 2006, cable-only WB 100+ affiliate "WBW" joined the new network through The CW Plus cable group. Fox's sister network MyNetworkTV was formed around the same time and aligned with new sign-on W47CK, leaving WILM as a full-time CBS station.

The station's low-powered digital signal began broadcasting on UHF channel 40 in August 2008. This increased the station's effective radiated power from its former 75 W (analog VHF) to 15 kW (digital UHF) which is the highest power available for U.S. low-powerdigital television. WILM's new transmitter was no longer centrally located in Wilmington itself but located alongside other local broadcast sites in Delco. [3]

WILM is one of five Wilmington commercial television stations that agreed to end analog transmissions early and became digital-only on September 8, 2008. This move was intended to make the area the first all-digital market in the United States. [4] On that date, WILM shut down its analog signal along with four other Wilmington television stations as part of the voluntary early digital transition. If this agreement had not happened, the decision to shut off analog transmission at any time would have been voluntary for WILM because Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations exempted low-power television stations from the 2009 analog shutdown. Its analog channel 10 identification is still used as its virtual channel using PSIP.

In 2015, WILM signed on a translator on channel 24, WILT-LD, to better serve areas such as Monkey Junction, Carolina Beach, and Wrightsville Beach south to Southport and Oak Island.[5]

In January 2016, it was announced that WRAL would switch to NBC on February 29, 2016.[6] On March 30, 2016, it was announced that CBS would pull its affiliation from WILM and move to the second sub-channel of WWAY on January 1, 2017.

Digital channels

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP short nameProgramming
10.11080i16:9WILM-HDMain WILM-LD programming / CBS
10.2480i4:3MeTV

On December 1, 2013, WILM launched MeTV on 10.2.

Programming

Syndicated programming on WILM-LD includes Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Rachael Ray and The Big Bang Theory (which also airs its first-run episodes on WILM-LD through CBS).

Newscasts

WILM does not operate a news department of its own, unlike most big three stations. Its studios are not large enough to house a full-fledged news operation. Instead, it simulcasts WRAL's newscasts (with the exception of WRAL's newscasts weekday mornings from 4:30 until 5am, weekday afternoons at 12 noon, 12:30, 5:00 and 5:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7-8 am), with local weather inserts targeted toward Wilmington. From March 10, 2008 until February 27, 2009 through a news share agreement, ABC affiliate WWAY produced a prime time newscast weeknights at 7 on WILM that offered local coverage.