Western Reserve Public Media
News Release

Analog-to-Digital Conversion to Come Early for Western Reserve Public Media’s WNEO

Analog and digital channel changes to occur in November; all WNEO stations to be off air from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21

KENT, Ohio — Sept. 17, 2008 —Western Reserve Public Media (soon to change its name to Western Reserve Public Media) will make the analog-to-digital TV conversion for WNEO ahead of the national conversion date of June 12, 2009. Because of related engineering upgrades that need to be made to the station’s Salem transmitter, there will be times during the first three weeks of November when the WNEO channels will be off air. Finally, the WNEO analog signal will permanently go off the air on Wednesday, Nov. 19, three months ahead of the national analog shut-off date, in preparation for the conversion to all-digital channels.

Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 12, the WNEO digital channels (WNEO-DT channels 45.1 and 45.2) will sign off until Friday, Nov. 21. During this time, viewers can still tune in to the analog Channel 45 until Wednesday, Nov. 19, when it signs off permanently. From Nov. 19 to Friday, Nov. 21, all WNEO channels will be off air; however, subscribers to several area cable companies and DirecTV will still be able to access the station. On Nov. 21, the digital channels will permanently return with an improved, stronger signal, and analog service will no longer be available.

WEAO, Western Reserve Public Media’s transmitter in Copley that serves the greater Cleveland, Akron and Canton areas, will remain on air during the WNEO conversion. WEAO’s analog signal will turn off on the
national June 12, 2009 analog-to-digital conversion date, and the WEAO digital signals will continue to air uninterrupted. W58AM-TV, the analog channel serving low-lying areas of the Mahoning Valley, will remain analog past the national conversion date.

“We hope that our WNEO viewers will bear with us during this transition time,” said William O’Neil, Western Reserve Public Media station manager. “This was the closest date to the February 2009 deadline that we could schedule the engineering work needed for the conversion to digital. The end result will be a much improved signal.”

He added that the early transition of WNEO from analog to digital gives viewers the incentive to prepare early for June 12, 2009, when all full-power television stations in the nation will stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. “For those who own analog TV sets and use rooftop or rabbit-ear antennas to receive the new digital signals, this is an early opportunity to determine whether they will need to make antenna adjustments in order to continue receiving their favorite stations,” O’Neil said.

To educate consumers about the digital TV transition, Western Reserve Public Media is holding free presentations conducted by President and CEO Trina Cutter. “Get Ready for DTV: Tuesdays With Trina” will be held on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the following area libraries:

  • Trumbull County, Sept. 16, Howland Branch Library, 9095 East Market St.

  • Mahoning County, Sept. 23, Austintown Branch Library, 600 S. Raccoon Road.

  • Columbiana County, Oct. 7, Columbiana Public Library, 332 N. Middle St.

Registration is recommended but not required. For more information or to register, call Western Reserve Public Media at 1-800-554-4549. Viewers who have questions about WNEO’s analog-to-digital conversion also are encouraged to call this number.


Timeline for Western Reserve Public Media’s Analog and Digital Channel Changes

Youngstown Area and a Portion of Stark County

The current Western Reserve Public Media channel designations for WNEO in Alliance, which serves the greater Youngstown area and a portion of Stark County, are as follows:

  • WNEO-TV Channel 45 — Analog channel

  • WNEO-DT Channel 45.1 — High-definition digital channel

  • WNEO-DT Channel 45.2 — Standard-definition digital channel

  • W58AM-TV Channel 58 — Analog channel serving low-lying areas of the Mahoning Valley (will remain analog past the national June 12, 2009 digital conversion date)

 

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008

Channel changes for WNEO are as follows:

  • WNEO-DT Channel 45.1 will become the primary program stream for Western Reserve Public Media. It will be a high-definition channel that will air the same program lineup as the current analog channel.

  • Until Friday, June 12, 2009, Channel 45.2 will air a standard-definition version of the programming on Channel 45.1. After that date, Channel 45.2 and an additional digital channel, 45.3, will offer special-interest programming, the content of which will be announced in the near future.

 

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008

The WNEO digital channels will sign off so that Western Reserve Public Media can make antenna conversions to improve signal power. Viewers will still be able to watch WNEO programs on analog Channel 45 through Tuesday, Nov. 18.

 

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

  • Western Reserve Public Media’s analog Channel 45 will go off the air permanently.

  • The WNEO digital channels (45.1 and 45.2) will be off air for two days, until Friday, Nov. 21. Viewers who subscribe to several of the area’s cable companies, plus DirecTV subscribers, will continue to receive our programming during the entire transition.

 

Friday, Nov. 21, 2008

  • Western Reserve Public Media’s digital channels will permanently return with an improved, stronger signal.

  • Viewers who own analog TV sets and use rooftop or rabbit-ear antennas to receive their TV signals will need to make a change in order to view WNEO channels (and to view all full-power TV channels beginning Friday, June 12, 2009). Their options are to purchase a converter box for their existing TV, purchase a TV that has a digital tuner or subscribe to a pay-TV service. For more information, call the Western Reserve Public Media DTV Help Desk at 1-877-DTV-2009 or visit WesternReservePublicMedia.org/dtv4pbs.

  • Viewers who already have cable, satellite or other pay-TV services will not have to make any changes, nor will viewers who own televisions equipped with digital tuners.


Akron/Canton/Cleveland Area

The current channel designations for WEAO in Copley, serving the Akron, Canton and Cleveland area, are as follows:

WEAO-TV Channel 49 — Analog channel
WEAO-DT Channel 49.1 — High-definition digital channel
WEAO-DT Channel 49.2 — Standard-definition digital channel

 

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008

Channel changes for WEAO are as follows:

  • WEAO-DT Channel 49.1 will be Western Reserve Public Media’s primary program stream. It will be a high-definition channel that will air the same program lineup as the current analog channel.

  • Until Friday, June 12, 2009, Channel 49.2 will air a standard-definition version of the programming on Channel 49.1. After that date, Channel 49.2 and an additional digital channel, 49.3, will offer special-interest programming, the content of which will be announced in the near future.

 

Friday, June 12, 2009

  • Western Reserve Public Media’s analog Channel 49 will go off the air permanently.

  • Viewers who own analog TV sets and use rooftop or rabbit-ear antennas to receive their TV signals will need to make a change. Their options are to purchase a converter box for their existing TV, purchase a TV that has a digital tuner or subscribe to a pay-TV service. For more information, call the Western Reserve Public Media DTV Help Desk at 1-877-DTV-2009 or visit WesternReservePublicMedia.org/dtv4pbs.

  • Viewers who already have cable, satellite or other pay-TV services will not have to make any changes, nor will viewers who own televisions equipped with digital tuners.


About Western Reserve Public Media
Western Reserve Public Media (formerly PBS 45 & 49) is owned and operated by Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc., a private, nonprofit corporation and consortium of Kent State University, The University of Akron and Youngstown State University. A trusted community resource, Western Reserve Public Media uses the power of commercial-free television and related services to enrich the lives of people through high-quality programming and educational services that teach, illuminate and inspire. The only broadcast television service that reaches all of northeast Ohio, Western Reserve Public Media is available to 1.8 million households and 4.4 million people in the Cleveland and Youngstown designated market areas. In an average week, over 500,000 households tune in. Through funding from eTech Ohio, the organization provides K-12 educational technology training and instructional television programming to 21,500 educators and 256,700 students in eight Ohio counties. For more information about Western Reserve Public Media, visit www.WesternReservePublicMedia.org or call 1-800-554-4549.

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