FCC Launches Channel Rescan Helpline

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission today announced the launch of a special call center dedicated to helping viewers of over-the-air television rescan their TVs during the ongoing transition of local TV channels to new frequencies following the Commission’s broadcast incentive auction.

Incentive Auction Task Force Chair Jean Kiddoo said, “As an over-the-air TV viewer myself, I know that consumers sometimes need extra help rescanning televisions when broadcast stations add channels or change frequencies. That’s why it’s so important to make both online information and telephone assistance like the consumer help line available to viewers during the ongoing broadcast transition.”

Viewers may reach the call center toll-free by dialing 1-888-CALLFCC (1-888-225-5322) and pressing “6” to speak to a help desk representative. The call center is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Eastern time, seven days a week, to enable consumers throughout the country to obtain assistance during evening and weekend hours.

Many over-the-air TV channels across the United States have changed and will be changing frequencies to open up airwaves for new high-speed 5G and other wireless services. The actual channel numbers on consumers’ TVs will not change, but a change in frequency impacts how a channel is received over the air by a TV receiver. If consumers watch free over-the-air television with an antenna, they will need to rescan their TV set each time a local station moves to a new frequency to be sure that the TV recognizes the new frequency when consumers tune in to that channel. TV stations will make on-air announcements at least 30 days in advance of making the change. Viewers who subscribe to cable or satellite services do not need to take any action to continue receiving local channels.

In 2018, Congress funded FCC efforts to educate consumers about the reorganization of broadcast television spectrum, including the dedicated consumer call center, online materials, and consumer outreach to a diverse set of communities nationwide about rescanning. The Commission is coordinating closely with industry stakeholders to ensure that our consumer education efforts are complementary to, and not duplicative of, industry efforts.

For more information on the broadcast TV transition and rescanning, visit www.fcc.gov/TVrescan, which also includes a link to an interactive map that allows viewers to insert an address to see the frequency change timeframe for most local channels.

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