Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Analog Bites The Dust

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO -- We're live from the Wheeling/Steubenville TV market this afternoon.

OMW can confirm directly that West Virginia Media CBS affiliate WTRF/7 Wheeling shut down its analog channel 7 transmitter this afternoon. We can further confirm that the station's digital operation has indeed moved into that channel 7 space...the first time WTRF has been at full-power in either analog or digital for some time.

Unfortunately, we were still on the road to the Ohio Valley at 12:30 this afternoon when WTRF cut the analog transmitter. We tried to catch it from our position, but we weren't quite close enough to the station's Bridgeport OH transmitter site... remember, WTRF's now-silenced analog operation has been using a low-power STA for some time.

Since WTRF-DT is now operating on channel 7, that means there is no analog "nightlight" or "enhanced nightlight" service...which is an apparent error in the most recent FCC list of stations silencing analog early before today's original deadline.

The move by the market's CBS affiliate leaves WTOV/9 Steubenville's analog side as the only analog full-power station now operating in the Wheeling/Steubenville market.

It also gives primary over-air (now digital) coverage - and somewhat expanded coverage - to WTRF's two digital network affiliate subchannels, "Fox Ohio Valley" and "ABC Ohio Valley". The former has analog cable carriage in the region, but the relatively-new ABC subchannel is hidden by Comcast up in the 200s in digital cable.

The WTRF-DT signal, at first blush from our location a few miles west of the station's tower site, seems easier to catch on our temporary setup, though it is obviously no indication of market-wide reality.

An OMW reader commenting on our earlier item reports receiving the station at "75%" signal level from as far away as Canton, though we don't know what kind of antenna the reader is using...


emery_r said...

Bet there are lots of Nightlight mistakes on the FCC list, just based on the two cases in the Ohio region I know of -- WTRF, as reported here, and WOWK-13 (Huntington/Charleston), whose analog transmitter died some weeks ago, forcing an early and complete digital transition. As with WTRF, they've already flashed back to their original analog channel 13 spot -- kind of impossible to be analog on channel 13 too!

oldcrooner said...

The WTRF-DT signal at 75% received in Canton is being pulled in via a Winegard HD8200P antenna with preamplifier atop a 50' tower, so may not be a typical reception setup.

Matt said...

Here in Columbus Ohio at 12:00

Fox 28 WTTE Columbus faded into the nightlight program in spanish at the time about how to use a DTV converter...

CW 53 WWHO Chillicothe Ohio is showing a a slide that says "If you see this your tv isn't ready for DTV! WWHO-TV is now transmitting only on it's digital signal Channel 46" and has their mailing address, phone # and web URL on screen.

Tim Lones said...

WOAC Canton showed a crawl explaining thay were about to go off the air and mentioning they were originally licensed in 1981. Interestingly, right before they went off the air, there was an ad for an upcoming local program that used the old original Channel 67 logo that had been used since their sign-on..The station shut off at midnight..

emery_r said...

Cincinnati's WSTR-64 ended regular analog broadcasting shortly before 11:30 PM Tuesday night, following broadcast of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and a couple of ads. The absolutely final item? An ad for a prominent local used car dealer, Jake Sweeney.
Their Nightlight service is now all that's visible on 64 analog, just still slides with info on DTV including phone numbers to call, and several videos on DTV (including at least one in Spanish).
Southwest Ohio continues lurching into the DTV era with this single station -- one down, fifteen to go in Cinci/Dayton (counting Kentucky's local PBS), I think!