If you watch TV with an antenna in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, mark Friday, Oct. 18, on your calendar.
That's when Cincinnati TV stations move to new digital TV frequencies. If you watch TV over the air, you'll need to rescan your TV tuner after 10 a.m. that day.
In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission ordered TV stations to be squeezed into digital Channels 2-36 from the current digital Channels 2-55. The freed up broadcast spectrum space was then auctioned to cell phone and other wireless companies, so they have more capacity.
All Cincinnati area stations except WKRC-TV (Channel 12) will be changing to new digital channels Oct. 18. Viewers won't notice a difference after rescanning their tuners, since they'll still see their old analog channels (5, 9, 12, 14, 19, 48), just like after stations switched from analog to digital broadcasting in 2009.
TV viewers with cable or satellite service don't need to rescan. Their TV providers will make the necessary changes on their end.
Since August, TV stations have been reducing their power so a new transmitter or antenna could be installed. Last week WLWT-TV tested its new digital channel, temporarily knocking Elliott Block's low-power WKRP TV (WBQC-TV, Channels 25 and 20) off the air. Tower work also has impacted WVXU-FM and other radio stations which transmit from Cincinnati TV towers.
WCET-TV's website has a tutorial for "Rescan Day" explaining what over-the-air viewers must do.
"Rescanning is a simple process and doesn’t require any new equipment, but it's necessary," the site explains.
WCET-TV also will staff a local telephone hotline to answer viewers' questions Friday, Oct. 18 (noon-8:30 p.m.); Saturday, Oct. 19 (8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.); and Sunday, Oct. 20 (8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.). The "Plan to Rescan Call Center" hotline number is 1-800-808-0445.
Here are WCET-TV's rescanning steps:
1. Find the remote control that changes your channels.
2. Press Menu. Select "Channel Setup" or "Broadcast Setup" on the menu. If you can’t find these options, check your owner’s manual or search online for your television's specific instructions.
3. Select "Auto Programming" or "Auto Scan," then select "Air," and start. Once the scan starts, don't press any buttons until the screen tells you the scan is complete. This could take 3-4 minutes.
Your TV will automatically rescan for available signals so all your channels tune in again.
If you rescan and cannot receive all of your usual stations, try changing the position of your antenna. For an indoor antenna, it's best to be in a window, or near a window, closest to the city's TV towers in Clifton Heights, Walnut Hills and South Fairmont.
If you need additional information or help receiving WCET-TV's programming, call WCET at 513-381-4033 during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday), or or email engineer Neal Schmidt, according to the CETconnect website.