Can’t view WTOK? Please be patient as we explain why

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:32 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - As many of you know, we have been sharing the need for our viewers who watch WTOK and its sub-channels via antenna to rescan their televisions on July 2 to be able to continue to watch our programming.

However, some viewers are unable to pick up Channel 11 as of July 2 for several reasons. We’ll give you a detailed explanation in just a minute, but in short, the FCC required us to switch over our signal by July 2. This requires an antenna tower crew to make this happen, but because of COVID-19, tower crews across the entire U.S. have been delayed.

We’ve had to install a temporary, low-power antenna to serve our television viewing area until the delayed tower crew can arrive. Not all WTOK antenna viewers will be able to pick up our signal while we remain on the low-power antenna.

“We understand how folks love WTOK, including our news and ABC programming. We also understand this signal switch will be difficult for some. Folks who live on the outer circle of our signal strength may have to live without WTOK for a few weeks,” said WTOK General Manager Jacque Harms. “Please be patient as we wait for the tower crew to arrive to install our permanent, higher powered equipment. Soon our signal will be better than ever.”

The FCC-mandated signal switch also means antenna viewers will have to re-scan their televisions to pick up WTOK and its sub-channels.

Harms also suggests viewers who are having a hard time rescanning or adding our channel to your TV to reach out to family and friends for help.

“COVID-19 will prevent any WTOK staff from in-home visits,” said Harms. “Also know if you don’t rescan today, you are not missing any rescan window. You can rescan at any time.”

Here’s additional, detailed information from WTOK Chief Engineer Randy Corbin:

“Some viewers are unable to pick up Channel 11 because of several reasons. The FCC required us to change our carrier frequency which literally means we have to change everything from the transmitter to the antenna.

Doing this requires an entire tower crew change our carrier frequency, which literally means we have to change everything from the transmitter to the antenna.

Our old antenna is on the very top of our tower. To keep us on the air we have had to install a temporary antenna on the side of our tower and operate at a reduced power level. This was all planned several years ago and was mandated by the FCC to accommodate the acquisition of our old carrier frequency by cellular communications.

What was not planned was the COVID-19 pandemic. This has delayed tower crews all over the nation, including the tower crew that was to put up our new top-mounted antenna that will allow us to operate at full power. Because our temporary antenna is located on the side of the tower and we are operating at a lower power level, some viewers, particularly to the south of Meridian, are having problems receiving us now.

The FCC also required us to make this temporary transition on this date. It was completely out of our control. We are hopeful that the tower crew will be here in approximately two weeks to begin the installation of our new antenna.

In the meantime, there are a few things that viewers can do to get better signal reception. One would be to install a signal booster. Another would be to use a higher gain antenna or locate your current antenna higher.

This was not our choice to do this or to do this at this time. We may not have had a choice in this but we did have a choice in the equipment we purchased. When all of this is completed we will have a state-of-the-art digital antenna and a transmitter producing three times the amount of power than we previously had which will increase our coverage and make reception better for all viewers. There is no way to put up an entirely new system without having some temporary reduction in coverage while equipment is being changed.”

Steps to re-scan:

-Using your remote control, choose the menu screen

-Navigate to the setup screen and find the option for auto-channel search

-Make sure you are set to the antenna option, not cable

-Choose begin search and once it has finished, you’re all done

Again, not all antenna viewers will be able to be able to get our signal even after a re-scan.

We appreciate your patience as we navigate this challenge. Tower crews are scheduled to be in Meridian at the end of July.

Copyright 2020 WTOK. All rights reserved.

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