RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If you watch 8News over an antenna, some of you may soon have a difficult time watching our station.
Starting this weekend, viewers in our outlying areas may lose our broadcast for the next four weeks as we undergo a big upgrade. This will not impact viewers who watch us on cable or satellite.
Hundreds of stations across America will be going through the same thing.
We won’t beat around the bush; we know this is an inconvenience. But its temporary and the payoff is huge, not only for your TV quality but for your cell phone coverage as well.
Ever since the dawn of television, broadcasts have been transmitted through airwaves. But technology has come a long way. Over the next few months, the Federal Communications Commission has ordered what’s called ‘Spectrum Repack.’ As WRIC Chief Engineer Darrell Cheney explains, the FCC has basically asked stations to switch frequencies to make more airwaves or ‘spectrum’ available for TV signals and wireless broadband service.
“Its something that we can’t avoid. Its unavoidable, we have to do what we gotta do to get this done,” he said.
To comply with the big changes, WRIC is installing an upgraded transmitter. So, starting this weekend, WRIC will be broadcasting in low power for four weeks. That means viewers in our outlying areas may not see us during that time.
The map below can help give you a reference. For the next month, viewers outside the red circle likely may not be able to watch WRIC ABC 8 with an antenna.
“You’re going to see the signal is going to drop and you’re not going to pick it up. Its not like the days of analog when you can see it barely and its still there, its either going to be there or its not,” said Cheney.
If you watch us on cable or satellite, don’t worry — you are not impacted at all.
Cheney says on March 13, just re-scan your TV and you’ll find us again. Our new transmitter will be up and running.
The ‘Spectrum Repack’ will soon open the door to ultra-high-definition broadcasts and new 8News streaming services! Also, your mobile carrier will soon be able to provide more advanced 5G technology.
In the meantime, you can keep up to date on the latest headlines and watch our newscasts on 8News app.