In this week’s issue… Repack deadline leaves some signals hanging – Alt, Breeze relaunch in Albany – Format flip in Olean – Simulcast split in NYC – More power in the Maritimes

By SCOTT FYBUSH

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*If you know a TV station engineer anywhere in the northeast, this would be a good week to buy them a beer – if they’re not headed out for a well-deserved vacation after the most chaotic week in over-the-air TV the region has seen since at least the 2009 analog shutdown.

As NERW readers know by now, Friday marked the end of Phase 4 of the FCC’s big repack of the digital TV spectrum, the 39-month process that’s compressing TV stations down to a smaller chunk of VHF and UHF spectrum that will now encompass only channels 2 through 36 after selling the former channels 38-51 to wireless companies.

And as attentive NERW readers also know by now, Phase 4 was the part of the repack with the biggest effect on stations in our neck of the woods. From southern Maine down to Philadelphia and all the way over to northeast Ohio, more than 100 full-power stations and dozens of LPTVs had to coordinate a complicated dance to build out facilities for their new channels, all to be ready to switch over almost simultaneously as the phase came to an end.

Read on for our in-depth report on how it all turned out…

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You don't have to stop reading here! Each week's NorthEast Radio Watch is packed full of exclusive, in-depth reporting and analysis from across the nine states and five provinces we've been serving since 1994. You won't find anything like it on any free site - and you can read the rest of this week's column for just $2.99 by clicking on the "Purchase Only" link below. 

Or click here to subscribe and enjoy full access to current NERW and Tower Site of the Week columns and two decades of searchable archives -- for as little as 25 cents per day.

If you are already a member, please login to view the rest of this column. (If the site does not recognize your username, don't panic! Either your subscription has expired and we need to reactivate your account, or your username and email do not match our payment records and we need to link them. Please email Lisa,  or call her at 585-442-5411, for instructions.)

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure that WNYO Buffalo has moved to Grand Island yet. Signal is still very weak in Toronto and subject to ducting fluctuations. I suspect it won’t move until phase 8 when it goes to Ch 16.

  2. As I had mentioned on Facebook mid last week when WGBH Boston had been testing their RF5 signal they gave me at signal strength indication of 91 out of 100, 20 points better than their UHF signal. I am using an all band outdoor TV antenna and was shocked the I could get such a robust signal out of a low-band assignment.

  3. Ironic that WGBX is now one of the strongest signals in Boston. Back in the day (1970-75) I remember when I was living in Norwood and Randolph MA that 44 was the weakest UHF signal…27 (then WSMW) came in better at my South of Boston location than did WGBX….But WJAR and WPRO were the go to stations for NBC and CBS programming as WBZ and WNAC (post Mar 19 ’72) had more Ghosts than Mrs Muir on my TV screen…

  4. I was hoping to hear something about WHAM and WXXI in Rochester.
    They are operating at reduced level. Much lower height.

    • Blame a burned out motor on the big crane for that! The plan had been to go on the side-mounted aux antennas just briefly, while the top-mounted 13/59 (WHAM) and 16 (WXXI) antennas were removed and replaced. Then the crane failed, and it’s going to be a little while yet before it can get back up there.

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