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Stations Report Signal Loss

MULTIPLE CITIES: TV stations across the country are reporting reception problems specific to their signals. Stations in Nashville, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia disappeared from TVs across those markets after Friday’s transition to all-digital broadcasting. WTVF-TV, the CBS affiliate in Nashville, Tenn., for example, reported getting around 2,000 phone calls over the weekend from people who lost the station, the Tennessean reported. A Federal Communications Commission spokesman said engineers could be dispatched to the city if reception problems aren’t resolved. WTVF was one of around 260 TV stations across the country that moved from a UHF channel assignment into the VHF spectrum, where radio frequency experts have noted that DTV reception is more difficult. Another factor is that many antennas sold as “HD” or “digital” TV models are designed primarily for UHF reception.

Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA-TV and ABC affiliate WJLA-TV also moved into the very-high frequency band. E.g., WJLA moved from Channel 39 to its original analog assignment on Channel 7. Both stations have had viewers call in about losing reception in the transition. WPVI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia, also moved its digital signal from the UHF into the VHF specrum, The Associated Press said. WPVI was seeking permission from the FCC to increase its power output to mitigate resulting reception problems.

In Boston, NBC affiliate WHDH-TV told the Boston Heraldit lost “thousands” of viewers in the transition. That station moved from UHF Channel 42 to VHF Channel 7. The station said it needed a stronger signal than what the FCC’s power level allocation currently allowed. The Herald said that the FCC received nearly 2,200 calls from people in the Boston market who had reception problems. -- Deborah D. McAdams