Monday, May 12, 2008

WVIZ Heads For New Tower

It's complaint number one among Cleveland market digital television viewers...the temporary low-power digital signal of ideaStream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25, on an antenna that just clears the roof of the station's former Brookpark Road studios in Parma, is almost impossible to receive any distance from that suburb.

The station has been in a long dispute over placement of its permanent full-power digital antenna on the tower where its analog antenna is now, a North Royalton structure owned by CBS Radio and used for classic rock WNCX/98.5.

It looks like WVIZ has given up that fight - and has come up with a better solution.

ideaStream has a new digital TV construction permit in hand - that will instead place the full-power DT channel 26 antenna on the tower used by Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3. The engineering exhibit for the construction permit says the stations will have a combined, top-mounted antenna on the WKYC stick.

The move is scheduled to happen with the analog-to-digital transition on February 17, 2009.

WKYC is already going to be up there on the tower moving around antennas anyway - the station needs to install its new DT channel 17 facility. That allocation will take the RF space abandoned at the transition by Trinity Broadcasting O&O WDLI/17 Canton, which will stay on DT 39 from its newer tower in the Akron TV/FM antenna farm near Rolling Acres Mall.

WVIZ/ideaStream has had a long legal battle with CBS Radio over the modifications needed to install the PBS affiliate's digital antenna on the WNCX tower. After the legal stuff ended, negotiations for a lease modification for the antenna apparently went on long enough to drive WVIZ to WKYC's tower.

The side effect of this? It moves WVIZ's post-transition digital signal to the same place as WKYC's post-transition digital signal, and could simplify some antenna aiming in the process. Though the WVIZ analog antenna is still in the same general part of the region, digital antenna aiming is a more exact science...

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