Friday, June 12, 2009

ODTV: Cleveland Switch: First Impression

The first wave of analog shutoffs in the Cleveland/Akron TV market happened, as planned, at 10 AM this morning.

And here at the OMW World Headquarters somewhere in western or northern Summit County, it's mostly good. Mostly.

Analog signals for the following stations are no longer broadcasting: WEWS/5 (ABC), WJW/8 (Fox), WOIO/19 (CBS), WVPX/23 (ION), WUAB/43 (MyNetwork TV) and WBNX/55 (CW).

WKYC/3 analog (NBC) is airing the expected DTV information-only "nightlight" video loop, with video and text containing both English-language and Spanish-language instructions. That comes from the National Association of Broadcasters, and WKYC's analog channel 3 will continue to air it through Juen 26th.

WVIZ/25 analog (PBS) is airing a one-day-only slide explaining the switch. Analog 25 won't be continuing with this slide after it signs off later today.

WEAO/49 analog (PBS) has regular programming, which will go away when it signs off at 11:59 PM tonight.

WQHS/61 analog (Univision) is airing regular programming, which will go away when it signs off later tonight.

Low-power stations, such as Media-Com's WAOH-LP 29 Akron/W35AX Cleveland, are unaffected and are broadcasting as usual.

This update is up a little later than we'd planned. For one, we've been spending much of the past half-hour trying to get indoor antenna placement that'll pick up the new RF 8 signal of WJW/8 on the VHF band.

We finally gained success with an unamplified, modest indoor antenna spread out into a "V" in a second floor window. Well, mostly success, as it breaks up very infrequently, but is mostly locked.

The WJW move turns it into our second hardest-to-get OTA signal here - WOIO/19's RF 10 facility is by far still the worst. We admit that the antenna situation here at the OMW World Headquarters is indoor-only, and we still need to do some adjusting.

But it's odd coming from the pre-transition world, where we nearly needed a court order to get the signal of WKYC-DT on RF 2, to getting the WKYC-DT signal on RF 17 in our teeth...and struggling to get a decent lock on WJW-DT...which used to be in that "in our teeth" category on RF 31.

Elsewhere, Toledo has all but completed its switch, with NBC affiliate WNWO/24 the only station waiting until late tonight. (They're waiting for the NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 7, involving the nearby Detroit Red Wings.) We'll have many more comments on VHF-based DTV later, as two Toledo stations made that switch.

And two of the three full-power Youngstown market commercial stations turn off analog just over an hour from now. The third, NBC affiliate WFMJ/21, is also waiting until just before midnight....maybe they're also waiting for the Stanley Cup Finals to end, with the nearby Pittsburgh Penguins being the other team in the series.

More on these situations, and other comments, later...

18 comments:

hookbill said...

I've completely lost WJW-DT. I think it was a major mistake for them to go to VHF.

I can get for the first time ever however WKYC DT

andrew727 said...

WKYC TV 3 DT used to be weak or no show on a portion of my tv sets - now in full-power DT, its gangbusters. WEWS TV 5 DT is strong. WJW TV 8 which had a strong signal on DT for me is missing or very weak on some sets and WOIO TV is gone or sucks S*it really bad! The surprise is WVPX TV 23 comes in really well! WVIZ TV 25 is solid in digital. The Former Cat, now RTV, is still there on analog - reception varies a little, but still pretty snowy. WUAB TV is strong. PBS 49 is solid. WBNX TV 55 shows pixilization. Channel 61 is strong. Perhaps the surprise is WVPX TV 23's signal that is coming in so well. I'm in the Rocky River, Fairview Park area - so TV 23 is indeed the good surprise today. I can practically hear CBS in New York screaming into the phone at the numnuts management at Raycom's WOIO TV 19 for their royal screw-up in losing their terrestrial signal in Cleveland. Betcha the engineers at 19 are walking on eggshells trying to fix, let alone explaining the problem - especially with WUAB TV 43's strong signal. Someone at Raycom really dropped the ball in the frequency choice! Then again, I'm sure FOX is putting Local TV's feet to the fire on why they lost a strong DTV signal to a weaker one! However, I'm sure the problems at 8 and 19 were bound to happen - most likely there are several stations around the country having the same problem. And to be honest, since most homes now have cable, chances are it is livable until the engineering staffs at both stations get their act together. WBNX 55 is also a weak mother! Well, that's my first day take on the transition...

- Andrew, MALL727.net -

william said...

I seem to be in the same boat as the others as far as WJW. Nothing. They are the only ones mia. Had them fine before the change, yes, on their digital channel. Now, nothing. Anyone know if they are going to boost power or anything? I am in western Geauga County using a directional beam antenna and running an amplifier. In 35 years this is the first Cleveland station I've lost. Hmmmmmmm.

nathanobral said...

Didn't Fox decide the channel allocation for WJW when they still owned it? I thought that it would have been the case.

Meanwhile, I am curious if CBS might threaten to pull their affiliation outright from WOIO because of this engineer disaster.

william said...

CBS was the station affiliated with channel 8 in the old days. Then Fox pulled a major coup many, many years back and stole channel 8 right out from under them, (CBS). CBS had to work out some type of deal to get channel 19 and I believe that is how their affiliation with channel 43 came about. But 20 or more years back channel 8 was the home of CBS.

Thalia said...

I live in Norwalk (Huron County). The only stations I recieve now, is NBC 24 (its still analog) and Castalia/Sandusky Religious Station WGGN. I had ABC 13 Digital Channel yesterday, but today it's gone. I guess Norwalk in the the Cliff for Both Toledo and Cleveland.

Mike said...

I lost WJW after 10am and still cannot receive 19 or 49...any suggestions?

andrew727 said...

You can bet your boots, both WJW TV 8 and WOIO TV 19 are both getting switched by the ad agencies and advertisers on doing make goods (station has to rebroadcast commercials at no extra charge) for duration of lost signals, or will have to (sales departments at both 8 and 19 are bawling their eyes out) or refund money, or are facing sponsor cancillations. FCC may have to step in and allow some channels to increase their transmit power or reaasign digital channels for the wayward WJW TV 8 and WOIO TV 19. However, to be fair to both stations, this is happening to some broadcasters across the nation. And yes, CBS may force Raycom to place their network programming on WUAB TV 43 and reassign MyTV to WOIO TV 19 in the next few days.

- Andrew, MALL727.net -

Mark said...

I like that idea of switching MyTV and CBS!

nathanobral said...

True, it may be happening to a lot of stations around the country. I bet that WJW probably

Raycom, however, had to have known that their new WOIO/DT signal would collide with channel 10 in London. That or their entire engineering department is run by idiots that never heard of co-channel interference. Or it was a shoddy decision made in Alabama to say "We now have CBS in Cleveland on VHF!" But either way... it makes no sense.

CBS has to be furious at WOIO and Raycom for not doing anything for over a year to change matters. "Numnuts mgmt" is actually too kind of a phrase here... they all outright slept on the job and ignored the obvious. I wouldn't be shocked to see the network penalize Raycom and WOIO here.

nathanobral said...

**I bet that WJW probably wasn't aware of the shortcoming that their new DT signal has... b/c it would have been hard to test the signal w/o signing off the analog channel, no?

Mark said...

I'm still holding onto WJW in Westlake, but the signal strength has dropped from to 80-81%.

jlint3024 said...

In Cleveland Heights - no Fox8, no WOIO-19. WKYC-3 is back after a long time without them. 5 is strong, as is 43, 55, and 61. We now get 3x25 abd two 49's.

PolarBear said...

Is there any chance WJW might return to 31? I can never understand why they would want to willingly be on VHF. After all the years of disaster with WKYC and the problems with WOIO(although they are lower power), I can't understand why they would want to move from a steady UHF channel to a flaky VHF channel. I think in the end, WJW and WOIO will be hurt by this, especially if people have an easier time picking up the WKBN/WYFX combo and use that for their CBS/FOX viewing.

YEKIMI said...

2nd floor, rabbit ears antenna at my place and all I can pick up is WUAB (clear as a bell which is a surprise because analog was snowy as hell], WJAN which is one station I would never watch, and WVPX (23) which comes in clear as a bell, but it also came in clear as a bell in analog which probably has more to do with me being only 3 miles from their tower; I can look out my back door and see it lurking away. As for 3, 5 8, 19, 25, 45/49, 55, 61...not even a blip on the screen. Guess I'll have to overcome my fear of heights by taking boatloads of valium so I can climb out onto my roof and stick up an outdoor antenna.

Chris said...

I was at two houses in Akron today and neither could get WJW. I can't get it either and I live in Kent... nor could either of us get in WOIO.

Luckily, I can get both FOX and CBS from WKBN-DT. It's easily available in Portage County.

Jeff said...

I'm in Brimfield and lost WJW 8.1 mid day and then rescanned and was able to pick it up on 8.3. WKYC is very strong, WOIO very poor, 23 excellent, 25 excellent, 43 OK, 55 OK,

Drew said...

After moving my antenna to the attic, I now have WJW back, but I lost WOIO. That's ok though, because I'm now getting the CBS and PBS affiliates from Detroit. As long as I've got all my networks covered, I don't really care whether they're the local station or not...