Saturday, February 14, 2009

DTV Transition Delay and the Rochester Market

If you haven't heard lately, Congress passed a bill delaying the digital transition until June 12th, 2009. But some stations are still shutting off the analog on February 17th as originally planned.

Here are the plans for the Rochester/Austin/Mason City market:

KIMT 3 (3.1 CBS/3.2 MyNet - Mason City, IA): The station in broadcasting on analog channel 3 and digital channel 42. After transition, they will still be using digital channel 42. Their current plans are to keep analog on the air until June 12th. At some undefined point in the future, the station will increase ch. 42's power from 200KW to 800KW. As it stands right now, KIMT is pretty easy to lock in Rochester.

KAAL 6 (6.1 ABC - Austin, MN): Their currently broadcasting on analog channel 6 and digital channel 33. As has always been the problem with KAAL, their tower is southwest of Rochester, while all the other stations are south of the city. This creates an issue with antenna aiming. KAAL's digital station is also rather weak in the valley. To remedy this situation, KAAL is acquiring KTTC's ch. 36 facility when they vacate it on February 17th. For the time being, KAAL will simulcast the digital channel on both ch. 33 and 36 until they eventually increase the output power of the ch. 36 facility, when they will presumably end broadcasting on ch. 33. As far as the author knows, the termination date for analog ch. 6 has yet to be announced (we'll know in a few days).

KTTC 10 (10.1 NBC, 10.2 CW - Rochester, MN): The station is currently broadcasting on analog channel 10 and digital ch. 36. At approximately 1:35PM on Tuesday the 17th, both analog and digital will go off the air and then resume broadcasting at around 3:30, using digital channel 10 (at 20kw). This should give better coverage than ch. 36.

KSMQ 15 (15.1 PBS, 15.2 Mhz Worldview, 15.3 (PBS) Create, 15.4 (PBS) tpt-MN - Austin, MN): KSMQ broadcasts analog on 15 and digital on ch. 20. The analog 15 tower is located near Austin, while digital 20 is located on the FOX47/KTTC-DT 36(soon to be KAAL-DT 36) tower, which is almost directly south of the city. Their digital channel stay unchanged throughout the transition and they have announced plans to cut analog on June 12th.

KYIN 24 (24.1 IPTV Digital, 24.2 IPTV Plus, 24.3 IPTV - Mason City, Iowa): The station's analog ch. 24 will remain online until June 12th, as with all other Iowa Public Television (IPTV) stations. Their digital station is located on the KIMT-DT tower, but is probably the hardest in-market station to receive in Rochester (due to lower elevation and output power).

KXLT 47 (47.1 FOX - Rochester, MN): FOX 47's analog channel is 47 and their digital is 46, both are on the same antenna and presumably broadcast from the same antenna. They will be cutting analog 47 on the afternoon of Feb. 17th and their digital signal will remain unchanged.

K56HW 56 (TBN - Rochester, MN): This TBN low power translator is located on an FM radio tower a few miles east of the city. They've filed paperwork with the FCC for a digital channel 39 allocation. Since the station is a low power channel, it does not yet have to comply with a transition deadline. Presumably, the station will cut analog and move to digital sometime in the 2009-2010 timeframe. The station also has to go online after WEAU moves their digital channel from 39 back down to ch. 13. TBN also has to upgrade a number of translator stations all throughout the US.

K58GC 58 (3ABN - Rochester, MN): This 3ABN low power translator is located on the same FM radio tower as TBN 56 is. They have also filed paperwork with the FCC for a ch. 51 allocation. Again, this should happen this year or possibly even next year, as the little network has a number of other translators in need of upgrades.

What this means for you: Re-scan your channels on February 17th/18th, as KTTC will move from 36 to 10 and KAAL will begin simulcasting on ch. 36 and ch. 33. Until the power increases on KIMT and KAAL-DT 36 come, it's about as good as it's gonna get. This means most likely that Rochester viewers will be able to get all market stations (with the possible exception of KYIN-DT) with an indoor antenna or small attic antenna.


Randy said...

A much needed accurate digest of the RAM market. Thanks for bringing all of this information together. You might want to email the TV stations and see if they will add a link to your blog.

Webby said...

Good Job guys! Keep up the good work!