Some WTVP viewers in the Pekin area will have to wait just a little longer to once again watch all of their favorite PBS and local programming. Delays caused by the availability of tower crews and less-than-favorable weather mean it will be a couple of weeks before the station’s free, over-the-air signal is available again in parts of Tazewell County. Although frustrated by the delay, station officials say there is little they can do to accelerate the process.
“We cannot apologize enough to our loyal viewers for this unforeseen delay,” said Lesley Matuszak, WTVP President and CEO. “It all comes down to supply and demand. Increased demand for broadcast antennas has caused delays in manufacturing, but the biggest delays are due to the availability of crews that climb the towers and do the work. Originally our antenna was scheduled to be replaced in mid-December, but the crew was delayed due to issues at other job sites and by the weather. Every winter storm that hits the Midwest can cause further delays.”
Matuszak said that, depending on weather and crew availability, full-powered broadcast of WTVP’s signal is expected in mid-February. At that time, viewers who have not been able to locate WTVP’s new signal should be able to do so.
On January 17, WTVP officially switched on a new broadcast transmitter, as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). But because there has not been a crew available to install a new antenna atop the tower, a temporary side-mount antenna with reduced power has been installed as an interim solution. Unfortunately, the temporary antenna faces away from Pekin and is mounted lower on the broadcast tower, so some TVs are unable to receive the signal.
Meanwhile, thousands of others in the WTVP viewing area are now receiving over-the-air programming at a new location on the broadcast spectrum, even though they are still tuning their TV to 47.1, 47.2 or 47.3. The change is part of an FCC “repacking” of the broadcast spectrum to make room for expanding wireless services. Nearly 600 stations nationwide have been affected by the move. The federal government is paying for about 90% of the cost of replacement.
Viewers who watch WTVP via satellite or cable have not been impacted and do not need to take any action. Service providers have already taken care of the rescan and service has returned to normal.
Questions about how to rescan a TV or control box and project updates are at wtvp.org/rescan or call the WTVP Rescan Hotline 1-800-837-4747.
WTVP is a treasured and valued part of the Central Illinois community. Our goals of curiosity, education, and inspiration are more essential than ever in our community and world. Community support is what helps ensure the door to our shared world is always open for everyone. Become a member and invest in your public television station, WTVP! Donate at WTVP.org or call 309-495-0547!