UPDATE: The latest on WHSV's Over-The-Air signal in Page County

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (May 1, 2019):

If you are a WHSV-TV viewer who has been without our over-the-air signal in Page or Shenandoah County in recent months, we have an update to pass along.

Our transmitter site on Big Mountain in Page County remains off the air after an involuntary channel change mandated by the FCC last December.

Now, WHSV is in the process of getting translators in order to recover our previous viewing area. Unfortunately, according to our engineers, there is no time frame that we can give at this point for when that might be completed.

In the meantime, we are doing preliminary tower work in order to prepare.

Some of that work, which needs to be performed by outside contractors, includes inspecting our current tower, upgrading our microwave studio/transmitter link, installing our transmitter and antenna, and proofing our transmitter.

Note that we may have to replace the 70-year-old tower before we can begin. It will take time to complete these tasks, and that is why we are unable to provide a date of completion at this time.

Thank you for your patience. We look forward to returning WHSV over-the-air service to you as soon as we are able.

Our engineers already installed a generator at our new main transmitter site on Elliott Knob, which will keep our signal broadcasting for weeks in the case of a power outage.

All WHSV viewers, in any location, who watch us OTA had to rescan their television antennae following December 5 as WHSV’s OTA signal moved from Channel 49 to Channel 20. That was an involuntary change mandated by the FCC after they sold off channels 37 and above to wireless companies. When that happened, we were forced to change channels.

You can always watch WHSV newscasts on the station’s website at whsv.com/livestream and on the WHSV mobile app. Just click “Live” to watch your favorite local news, weather and sports programming.

You can also watch a lot of programming, including WHSV's apps, through Roku, Amazon Fire, Hulu, SBTV, CBS All Access, Sony Vue, and/or Haystack.

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The over-the-air signal for WHSV-TV viewers in Page and Shenandoah counties continues to remain off-the-air as the station awaits permits from the FCC.

On March 16, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began the first-ever “incentive auction” designed to repurpose the broadcast spectrum for new uses. Authorized by Congress in 2012, the auction used market forces to align the use of broadcast airwaves with 21st century consumer demands for video and broadband services.

In December, station engineers turned off our transmitter on Big Mountain in Page County and our translator on Elliot Knob in Augusta County. By doing so, over-the-air viewers in Page and Shenandoah counties lost our over-the-air, or OTA, signal.

As of early January, WHSV-TV is still waiting on these permits to build construction. The station is at the mercy of the FCC.

The partial government shutdown has slowed down the process.

"We have the new transmitter on the air at Elliot Knob, we have moved locations. The translator at Big Mountain, we're still waiting for our FCC permit on that. It hasn't come out yet," said WHSV's Chief Engineer, Scott Kessler. "When we get our permit for that, we'll start building that."

All WHSV viewers, in any location, who watch us OTA had to rescan their television antennae following December 5th as WHSV’s OTA signal will move from Channel 49 to Channel 20.

According to Kessler, the station’s OTA viewership will significantly increase in Rockbridge County.

“This is because of the way the transmitter is designed, and also because it’ll be in a more southern location,” added Kessler.

It’s important to note this is an involuntary channel change mandated by the FCC. WHSV has no choice in this “repack”.

“The FCC sold off channels 37 and above to wireless companies. When that happened, we were forced to change channels. WHSV’s over-the-air signal will move to channel 20,” stated Kessler.

“We understand the inconvenience some of you may experience as a result of the involuntary channel change. We are working as quickly and as diligently as possible to minimize the impact on you, our valued viewers," said WHSV Vice President and General Manager Sacha Purciful. “If you are experiencing a loss of signal, we are here to help answer your questions. As always, our viewers are our number one priority. We appreciate your patience as we work to restore full coverage to the affected areas as quickly as possible,” concluded Purciful.

While we understand this channel change will be an inconvenience for our OTA viewers, please remember you can always watch WHSV newscasts on the station’s website at whsv.com/livestream and on the WHSV mobile app. Just click “Live” to watch your favorite local news, weather and sports programming.