Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WNEO Analog Shutoff

The second Northeast Ohio full-power analog signal to leave the airwaves is about to do so.

As scheduled, Western Reserve PBS' WNEO/45 Alliance, the Youngstown market half of the Kent-based public TV operation, will shut down the analog Channel 45 transmitter on Wednesday morning - for good - to prepare for an upgrade to the digital WNEO signal, which will move from digital channel 46 to digital channel 45.

OMW hears from our friends at Western Reserve PBS that the analog 45 signal will go dark at around 7:30 to 8 AM on Wednesday. That means for two days, both the WNEO analog and digital signals will be off the air.

The station's programming will continue to be available during those two days to Youngstown market viewers who subscribe to all of the major cable systems serving the Mahoning Valley - Time Warner, Comcast, and Armstrong - and to subscribers of both major satellite TV services.

DirecTV had already made arrangements to keep the station's programming available to Youngstown market viewers while both WNEO signals are off for the required transmitter work.

And now, OMW hears that Dish Network has confirmed it will do the same. The satellite and cable companies will serve WNEO viewers via the signal of Akron-based WEAO/49.

For newcomers to the area, or those reading from outside Northeast Ohio, WNEO and WEAO (until recently known as "PBS 45 & 49") simulcast 24/7, so satellite and cable viewers will notice no change in Western Reserve PBS' programming.

The move tomorrow won't affect Western Reserve PBS viewers in the Cleveland/Akron/Canton area. WEAO/49 will continue to operate its full-power analog signal until the national digital TV transition (February 17, 2009), and will continue to operate its full-power digital WEAO-DT both before and after the transition.

Finally, on Friday, November 21, WNEO-DT is expected to return with a more powerful signal...after the analog rides off into the TV sunset.

For those who haven't followed every step of this, as we alluded, WNEO is actually the second analog station in Northeast Ohio to go silent early.

Mansfield's WMFD/68 did so earlier this year, and only WMFD-DT (68.1, RF 12) remains. Though Mansfield is more North Central Ohio than Northeast Ohio, it counts technically for this report since Mansfield is in the Cleveland TV market...

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