HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — 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.
WHSV's translator tower on Signal Knob
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.