We're not sure we're releasing the balloons and celebrating just yet, but an OMW/ODTV reader is sharing what could be good news for those over-air digital viewers struggling to receive Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8.
The reader dropped WJW a note via an online contact form, noting the station's VHF related troubles...and joining the rather large chorus hoping to get the station to move back to its pre-transition UHF digital assignment of RF channel 31.
A reply came back...our reader noting the name atop it, of WJW's Todd Meany. He's been the newsroom's "point man" on the digital TV transition, and is listed on the above linked contact form.
Assuming our reader isn't just making this up out of thin air, here's Meany's response:
"We would love to go back to channel 31, and in fact the FCC is talking about letting stations around the country, who are in the same situation as we are, go back to their former channels. We hope this happens sooner rather than later."
Assuming that is Todd, he's actually a bit behind the times in information.
Local TV Fox affiliate sister station WGHP/8 in the Greensboro/High Point NC market has already lit up, under FCC special temporary authority, its former digital signal on UHF 35.
A list by RabbitEars' Trip Ericson details moves by VHF stations across the country to fix or supplement their signal - somehow, either temporarily or permanently. It lists WGHP as currently operating both VHF 8 and UHF 35.
Another sister station of WJW in the Local TV group, KSTU/Salt Lake City, is listed as opting to hang onto pre-transition UHF 28 instead of staying on VHF 13.
And also significant to ODTV, it shows Sinclair ABC affiliate WSYX in Columbus petitioning to move its RF channel from VHF 13 to UHF 48. (It was, of course, on analog 6.) There are no listings (yet?) for ABC O&O WTVG/13 and Raycom CBS affiliate WTOL/11 in Toledo.
Is this brief note scribbled to a frustrated viewer by a Fox 8 staffer a sign that WJW could well land back on UHF RF channel 31 soon - a move that most local digital OTA viewers would likely welcome?
Well, the North Carolina and Utah moves may be an indication that Local TV does see this as a solution for the VHF DTV problem. We don't know if other moves are possible here.
We also don't know if there would be any technical problems if WJW wished to return to UHF 31.
It would seem to be a pretty uncrowded channel, judging from what we've been reading on Mr. Ericson's own site.
But we don't know if CityTV in Toronto would put up new objections to a permanent or even temporary WJW return to 31...CityTV operates analog channel 31 in southern Ontario, not terribly far from London, as a repeater for the Toronto signal.
Though the station can be seen in Erie PA, we're told, we don't believe analog 31 ever made it - even before WJW-DT lit up pre-transition 31 - into the Cleveland market. We don't think this is a similar situation to the CFPL/10 interference to WOIO's anemic VHF RF 10 digital signal...