An era, nearly 60 years in the making, came to an end at 11:59pm on February 17th when KFMB-TV ceased analog broadcasting. KFMB was San Diego’s first television station when it went on the air in May of 1949 and is one of three broadcast stations in the nation’s 28th market, to transition to full time digital operations.
“The transition went smoothly, and just as we planned it” says Rich Lochmann, Director of Engineering for the KFMB Stations. Shortly before 11pm, Lochmann and Rick Bosscher, RF Systems Manager, were joined at the Mt Soledad transmitter site by former KFMB Engineer Frank Aamodt, and Chris Aamodt, current Senior Broadcast Maintenance Engineer at KFMB.
The Aamodts are father and son and represent two generations of engineers who have served the KFMB Stations. Frank Aamodt, who is 87, started at KFMB in 1948 even before the station was on the air and worked there for two decades as Assistant Chief Engineer.
Following a tour of the current broadcast facility, at 11:59pm, the senior Aamodt pressed the “off” button on the station’s analog transmitter. Following the rerouting of transmissions line, Aamodt then placed the new digital station on the air, by pressing the “on” button for the digital channel 8 VHF transmitter at around 12:20am, signaling a new era in San Diego television history. Aamodt called the event “exciting” and very different from the time he worked with transmitters and broadcast equipment. “In those days we didn’t have a lot of money so we had to make everything ourselves” says Aamodt who added that the digital broadcast technology is “amazing”.