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Toledo Stations Go Missing

TOLEDO, OHIO: Two more TV stations are missing in action following the June 12 transition to all-digital broadcasting. WTOL-TV and WTVG-TV are no longer available to some households that received those stations’ digital signals before the transition, according to the Toledo Blade. Both stations are experiencing a phenomenon common among others around the country that moved digital transmissions from the UHF spectrum into VHF, often to previous analog channel assignments. Noted radio frequency expert Dr. Oded Bendov told KYW NewsRadio in Philadelphia that the power levels assigned to digital VHF channels were insufficient.

“The FCC has done very poor engineering and assigned Channel six and other channels in the VHF much lower power than they should have,” Bendov said. “For example, in the case of Channel 6, they probably need as much as 15 times more power in the transmitter than they have now.”

The Blade noted that both affected stations in Toledo were operating at lower power levels on Channels 11 and 13 than they were in the UHF spectrum, as per federal requirements. WTOL is now broadcasting on 11 at 16.9 kW, after moving from Channel 17, where it transmitted at 735 kW. WTVG is transmitting in Channel 13 also at 11.2 kW, compared to 795 kW at Channel 19.

“The limited transmission power of WTOL and WTVG, coupled with the digital signal’s biggest weakness--an inability to travel long distances, which is analog's strength--has made reception of the two stations impossible for some area viewers who rely on over-the-air antennas,” the Blade said.

WTOL is the CBS affiliate owned by Raycom Media; WTVG is an ABC O&O. — Deborah D. McAdams