Texas Station Reports Post-Transition Ratings Growth

WACO, TEXAS: KCEN-TV, the NBC affiliate in this Central Texas market, logged some of its biggest audience demographic numbers over the summer. The station had its most viewers 18-49 and 25-54 for evening newscasts during July, General Manager Gayle Kiger told the Waco Tribune-Herald. The station made the digital transition last February, the original deadline.

Around 900 other local broadcasters around the country shut down June 12, the final deadline. Several were inundated with calls from viewers who lost reception because of rechannelization from UHF to VHF assignments, insufficient power levels or the characteristics of digital versus analog broadcasting.

KCEN moved from Ch. 6 to Ch. 9, transmitting from a 1,900-foot tower at 25 kW ERP.

“As best as we can determine, there have been no major technical problems with our broadcast signal here,” Kiger told the Trib. “And if ratings are any measure, we’ve had some of the best ratings we’ve had since competing in a three-station market.”

Other stations in the market said the phone queries about reception problems have dwindled. KWKT-TV, the Fox affil at Ch. 44 operations manager, Duane Sartor, said the transition was “smooth sailing.” His counterpart at CBS-affil KWTX-TV, Ch. 10, said some viewers were still having problems, “but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of them at the moment.”

A handful of folks in the market commented about their experience with the stations.

“Few problems, eh?” wrote ‘yeppers.’ “Well, let’s see...I no longer get channel 44 where I live about 60 miles west of Waco. Not that it ever came in great, but I could stand it with a little ‘snow.’ Now, I just get a blank screen and ‘DIGITAL CHANNEL SIGNAL STRENGTH IS LOW’ bouncing all over my screen. I have an outside antenna, about 30 feet in the air, and still nothing. The digital switch did a big disservice to those of us who still use over the air that live out in the country. I’m sure Dish Network and DirecTV are loving every minute of it all the way to the bank... ”

“Local Television Stations Report Few Problems Months After Switch to Digital” is available at theWaco Tribune-Herald.