Another Analog Bites The Dust

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO — We’re live from the Wheeling/Steubenville TV market this afternoon.

OMW can confirm directly that West Virginia Media CBS affiliate WTRF/7 Wheeling shut down its analog channel 7 transmitter this afternoon. We can further confirm that the station’s digital operation has indeed moved into that channel 7 space…the first time WTRF has been at full-power in either analog or digital for some time.

Unfortunately, we were still on the road to the Ohio Valley at 12:30 this afternoon when WTRF cut the analog transmitter. We tried to catch it from our position, but we weren’t quite close enough to the station’s Bridgeport OH transmitter site… remember, WTRF’s now-silenced analog operation has been using a low-power STA for some time.

Since WTRF-DT is now operating on channel 7, that means there is no analog “nightlight” or “enhanced nightlight” service…which is an apparent error in the most recent FCC list of stations silencing analog early before today’s original deadline.

The move by the market’s CBS affiliate leaves WTOV/9 Steubenville’s analog side as the only analog full-power station now operating in the Wheeling/Steubenville market.

It also gives primary over-air (now digital) coverage – and somewhat expanded coverage – to WTRF’s two digital network affiliate subchannels, “Fox Ohio Valley” and “ABC Ohio Valley”. The former has analog cable carriage in the region, but the relatively-new ABC subchannel is hidden by Comcast up in the 200s in digital cable.

The WTRF-DT signal, at first blush from our location a few miles west of the station’s tower site, seems easier to catch on our temporary setup, though it is obviously no indication of market-wide reality.

An OMW reader commenting on our earlier item reports receiving the station at “75%” signal level from as far away as Canton, though we don’t know what kind of antenna the reader is using…

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