MAY 2018

We began this month with a briefing on Capitol Hill for congressional offices to share information about the changes coming to local TV stations and how they can prepare their constituents. Read on for a quick update on the briefing.

Also, our TVAnswers Facebook and Twitter followers have been posting a variety of questions about their local stations’ frequency moves and rescanning issues. In this month’s newsletter, we are sharing the most common questions we have received and providing you with answers to help you prepare for similar inquiries that may come from your viewers.

Congressional Briefing Update

TVAnswers Hill Briefing

Continuing our ongoing engagement with congressional offices, we held a briefing for Capitol Hill staff earlier this month. During the briefing, we distributed folders containing resources staffers could use to prepare viewers. These tools are also available online at, including talking points, sample constituent letters and quick answers to phone calls. Feel free to share these tools with your legislators and encourage them to help educate viewers.

Attendees were provided with post-meeting surveys to share their feedback. A majority of participants said they believe many of their constituents are unaware of the upcoming changes and anticipate viewers will be contacting their Hill and district offices regarding this issue. As we head into summer, we encourage you to invite your legislators to visit your station during the summer recess in August and educate them about the changes coming to local TV. As a reminder, station tools, including talking points and a sample letter to members of Congress, are available at

@TVAnswers Questions and Answers

Social Media Questions

Based on this month’s flurry of social media questions we have received through @TVAnswers, we are providing suggested answers to our most-received inquiries. These answers can be used to provide insight and information to viewers who run into issues with rescanning or reception. We’ve answered all incoming questions using TVAnswers and Federal Communications Commission resources, but we are finding that the volume of questions are growing as is the need for technical expertise. As a result, we encourage stations to have their technical staff serve as a point of contact for viewers whenever possible.

Q: I rescanned to receive a channel that moved frequencies. I don’t get that channel anymore, and I lost some multicast channels, too.

A small number of stations that are moving frequencies now transmit from different towers as part of a process called “channel sharing.” In some cases, this means the station’s signal strength (and by extension its coverage area) may have changed. The station may broadcast to a larger or smaller audience based upon the signal strength at its new location. As a result, if you rescan your television – and you have exhausted all other troubleshooting options – the signal where you live may be too weak for you to receive with your equipment. This may also impact multicast channels (channels with numbers like 18.2, 18.3, etc.). To find out if you can receive a certain station, a good place to visit is

  • Under the Web Listings section, enter the call sign of the station you’re looking for.
  • From the list of results displayed under that callsign, select the Technical Data link, and then select the DTV-LIC link.
  • From here, you’ll see a coverage area map. This map will let you know whether you live inside the receivable radius of a particular station’s signal. If you live in a yellow or red area within the radius, you may need to upgrade or reposition your antenna to receive the signal.

Q: I was told I would not need to get new equipment, but now am told I may need a new antenna. Why?

While rare, there are two circumstances in which an antenna viewer may need to purchase new equipment:

  • A station moving frequencies is also moving frequency types – from UHF to VHF.
  • A station has moved its transmission location, and a viewer lives at the edge of that station’s new coverage area.

In the first circumstance, fewer than 30 stations out of the nearly 1,000 stations moving frequencies are moving from UHF to VHF. Most modern antennas are capable of receiving over-the-air broadcasts from both frequency types, but if you have a UHF-only antenna and you live in an area where a station is moving from UHF to VHF, then you will need to purchase a VHF-capable antenna. In the second circumstance, if a station moves its transmission to a new location and a viewer lives near the edge of the station’s coverage area, that viewer may need an amplified antenna, or an amplifier, for the existing antenna, or in some cases a more powerful and/or roof-mounted antenna, to pick up the station’s new signal. For the majority of over-the-air TV antenna viewers, however, no new equipment will be necessary.

Q: I have lost multicast channels after rescanning. Have these channels gone off the air?

Viewers are encouraged to check with their local stations regarding multicast channel programming if, after rescanning, they encounter problems receiving multicast channels but are still receiving the main channel.

Q: The station I watch is now broadcasting from a weaker signal, and I’m having trouble receiving it with my indoor antenna. What do I do?

So long as you remain within the receivable margins of a station’s coverage area, you may simply need to adjust the position of your indoor antenna. We recommend moving your antenna closer to a window – ideally a window facing the direction from which a station’s signal is being transmitted. And, if your antenna has a telescoping stick, make sure it is extended. Even in cases where a station’s new signal is weaker, the strength is expected to remain sufficient for indoor antenna reception. If that doesn’t work, you may need to install a larger antenna in your attic or on your roof.

What are you hearing from viewers? Let us know!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and connect with us using #PlanToRescan to share what you're doing to inform your audiences about your station's frequency move.

Have You Set a Transition Date? Let Us Know!

In order for the National Association of Broadcasters to help your station educate viewers, we need to know exactly when you are making the transition, whether that is due to a channel sharing agreement or the repack. As your plans become firm, please let us know the date you'll be moving to a new frequency by filling out this simple form.

TVAnswers Resources

If you are responsible for multiple stations, you can also send an email to and we'll populate our database on to ensure your station information is current and accurate.

We encourage your feedback. If you have questions or information to share with other stations, please email us at

Click here to add your contact information to stay informed.