Here we are, just two weeks and one day away from the now-set-in-stone (we presume) digital TV transition date of June 12th.
And as we get closer, the timing gets clearer.
OMW hears that the major local network affiliate stations in the Cleveland market are coordinating a time to shut off their analog signals on the transition date - that time being 10 AM on the 12th. Some other stations may not join that parade...for example, we're hearing that Univision O&O WQHS/61 may wait for 11 PM.
One thing we haven't noted here...at 10 AM on June 12th, Cleveland Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 will not actually turn off its long-time home of analog channel 3. WKYC is one of the stations participating in the FCC's "nightlight" program, so analog 3 will be on for another few weeks.
Instead of carrying Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien, "Chuck" and other NBC programming (and "Channel 3 News"), under "nightlight", the analog WKYC signal will run a loop of information about the digital TV transition, including contact information for those who need help making the switch.
We don't know when WKYC will finally hit the "OFF" button on the analog transmitter, but it'll be anywhere from two weeks to a month after June 12th.
Now, how about that much-watched WKYC/WVIZ tower?
OMW has reason to believe it's on schedule, and that both stations will be transmitting their new, full-power digital signals from there at the June 12th transition. (And much rejoicing was heard throughout Digital TV Land!)
And in fact, ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ-DT is so eager to abandon its 10 kW temporary facility for a full-power signal...it's asking the FCC to allow it to turn on the new post-transition signal early.
That's one week early, as in June 5th. (Here's the PDF of the engineering statement supporting the STA request.)
It is a similar filing to one made by Western Reserve PBS' WNEO/45 Alliance, which started airing its then-licensed new 44 kW digital signal on RF 45...then quickly found that it really needed to light up a construction permit for 500 kW that its post-transition license condition said couldn't be turned on until February 17th. (Remember THAT date? It almost seems quaint!)
As far as we know, WKYC-DT will make the RF 2 to RF 17 switch in time for the June 12th transition. WKYC has not filed for any pre-transition STA for its digital RF 17 operation.
We've traipsed through the FCC filings to find out - for example - that Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 tells the FCC it is indeed ready to light up its 30 kW digital facility on RF 8 at the transition on the 12th:
WJW PLANS TO USE ITS CURRENT CHANNEL 8 ANALOG ANTENNA FOR DIGITAL TRANSMISSION AFTER IT CEASES ANALOG TRANSMISSION AS OF JUNE 12, 2009.
THE STATION HAS PURCHASED AND TESTED A NEW INTERIM DIGITAL CHANNEL 8 TRANSMITTER AND PLANS TO USE THAT TRANSMITTER AT FULLY-AUTHORIZED POWER AS OF JUNE 12, 2009, WHILE ITS ANALOG TRANSMITTER IS BEING CONVERTED TO DIGITAL, AFTER WHICH WJW-DT WILL SWITCH TO THE CONVERTED ANALOG TRANSMITTER FOR DIGITAL TRANSMISSION.
WJW's 30 kW post-transition power level on RF 8 was approved back in March, but like WVIZ-DT, the approval hinges on the digital transition date.
We haven't yet been able to find out when the three Youngstown market commercial stations will make the switch on that day...