Friday, June 12, 2009

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...


  1. I've noticed that 49.2 has dropped the the analog simulast and now displays a single slide with the Western Reserve PBS logo. Must be getting ready for tonight's switch.

  2. I am in Amherst. The only issue I've noticed with Cleveland's cutover so far is that the Dish Network feed for WJW in Cleveland was affected with them flash cutting from 31 back to 8. The old SD feed has a purple screen and the HD feed now just has a yellow screen. All of the other local SD feeds to Dish Network are being fed correctly to their uplink.

    It also looks like WOIO may have boosted power a bit. I was getting it with a 70 signal strength on my VIP 211 around 9:00, and it is now bouncing between 80-90.

  3. I have to admit this is interesting. Band conditions on low VHF (2-6) are very good right now, and being there's nothing in the area on analog or digial anymore means I'm getting other out of town analog stations on all the low VHF channels (except for RF3 of course. IF you like doing a little channel surfing during good band conditions such as I like to do, then you'd better do it one last time before the bulk of the TV stations abandon low VHF for good.

  4. Well just as planned, WKBN and WYTV pulled the plug at 12:05PM. WKBN analog disappeared first and WYTV vanished about 10 seconds later.

  5. @Andrew J I noticed the same thing here. Have they turned up WYTV's power yet?

  6. 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, -

  7. here in Columbus OH

    WCMH 4 is showing their slide and video about the DTV transition and that their analog signal will shut off at 11:59.

    WBNS 10 is showing a static slide that says the analog signal will shut off at 12mid with their channel 10 # to call for questions.

    WSYX 6 is showing a split screen about the DTV switch saying their signal ends tonight and also an ocasional countdown to sign off at top of screen.

  8. Hey Steven, I just checked the FCC database and I haven't found any indication that their 1,000KW ERP upgrade application has been granted yet. I would imagine it will happen soon. Judging from WKBN and (both run by NVT Youngstown-WYTV under an LMA), WYTV has the transmitter already and they'll have to move their side mounted digital antenna to the top of the tower. The sad fact is that I can get WYTV about the same as WBNX which doesn't say much for WBNX (when my antenna is pointed at either Cleveland or Youngstown depending on the station I'm watching). WYTV is further away from me and is only cranking out 50KW ERP. They both are watchable which is what counts;-)

  9. Very odd. For 2 years I enjoyed a solid lock on WKYC and WJW's digital signals. Now there is pixelation and dropouts on both of the new frequencies. I'm ready to go back to pre-transition.

  10. lets hope that wjw moves back to RF 31 because RF 8 is horrible, but not as bad as wkyc at RF 2. let just wait for a storm or bad weather and wjw will be even worse.

  11. Hello guys,
    I was fortunate to be off today. I live in London, On Canada some 115 miles from most of the transmitters in Cleveland so I had my fingers crossed with excitement to see if any of my reception increased or the new channel 3 on DTV channel 17 would come in.
    Channel 5 WEWS continues to be a reliable channel as I get this from 8 oclock in the evenings just till 8 in the mornings. I did manage to get channel 3 to download on my PISP and managed about 5 mins of picture.
    The usual WVIZ continues to be stubborn as I have yet to see any improvement on there new set up. WUAB is on and off, WBNX is a hit or miss. From my home here I do pick up Detroit, Erie, Youngstown and Buffalo. From my location they are all about 100 to 130 miles from my home so on any evening I do get some Americian OTA DTV from some market. Keep up the great work here on the blog.

  12. switching over to digital TV is like pulling off a band-aid... just do it and get it over with


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