WVIZ/WKYC DTV Update

OMW reported earlier that Cleveland PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 has a construction permit to co-locate its full-power post-transition digital TV facility with Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

Fellow blogger Frank Macek, WKYC senior director and proprietor of the “Director’s Cut” blog over at WKYC.com, picked up on the story and expanded it in a recent item.

As it turns out, WVIZ-DT’s full-power antenna will not reside atop the current WKYC tower.

WKYC and WVIZ will build a new tower at the station’s Parma site to hold both stations’ digital antennas, in time for the digital transition on February 17, 2009. The current tower holding WKYC’s analog and pre-transition digital antennas will be razed, according to WKYC engineering director Mike Szabo in the “Director’s Cut” item.

Rarely does one engineering move solve so many problems, as both stations are currently the bane of digital OTA viewers in Northeast Ohio.

WKYC’s low-band digital home of channel 2 is so bad, so prone to interference, that very few people without large, well-placed outdoor antennas – or close to Parma – can pick it up.

WVIZ’s inability to get a permanent digital antenna site means it needs to use an antenna just 30 meters off the ground, pumping a whole 1,000 (that’s ONE THOUSAND) watts out on DT 26 to the greater Parma area and parts of North Royalton and Garfield Heights.

(OK, so it’s not that bad – but the station’s temporary facility’s main signal contour barely covers Cuyahoga County, and that’s being charitable.)

The shiny new tower at WKYC’s Parma site will solve both problems, and will likely cede the “bad digital facility” title in the Cleveland market to Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19.

WOIO plans to stay right where it is at the digital transition – with its current digital facility on RF channel 10.

(Like WKYC, WVIZ and all the other stations, digital PSIP information means WOIO will continue to resolve on receivers at its current analog channel number, 19….WVIZ at 25, WKYC at 3, etc…)

WOIO will stay on 10, but unfortunately, so will the powerful analog signal across Lake Erie on that very same channel, CFPL/10 in London, Ontario, Canada. Unlike the U.S., Canada doesn’t have a digital transition plan…and CFPL doesn’t even have a digital companion signal.

That means the folks at Reserve Square will be getting complaints, especially from those along the Lake Erie shoreline, as long as the Canadian 10 doesn’t move…

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