FCC Sending Engineers to Six More Cities to Help Stations With DTV Outreach or Tech Issues

Baltimore, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Rochester, N.Y. all to get help

The FCC says that by the end of the week it will have engineers in Baltimore, Nashville, Raleigh, N.C.; Rochester, N.Y.; Miami, and Richmond, Va., to help stations who have asked it for assistance, either with DTV consumer outreach or technical issues with signal reception.

It already has boots on the ground in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York to help with DTV transition issues there.

In all the markets except Rochester, only one station was having trouble. Rochester has two, according to FCC spokesman Rick Kaplan.

The situation remains fluid, with some of those stations potentially coming off the list as re-scanning or antenna repositioning take care of much of the problem, and others possibly added as issues arise.

In the cases of former UHF stations that have switched to VHF only to find they lack the power to penetrate buildings in some urban areas, the FCC has already helped out WSNV Miami and KWCH Wichita by granting them power increases. It also allowed WHDH Boston to simulcast on its former UHF DTV channel. WPVI Philadelphia is also trying to work out a power boost.

Other stations with initial problems have found that re-scanning and other consumer outreach helped, including WBBM Chicago and stations in L.A. and Cincinnati.

There had been reports that WUSA Washington was having troubles, but president and GM Alan Horlick says that "relative to some other markets I'd say our viewer assistance issues are very manageable."

He told B&C that the issue is primarily indoor antennas and "in some cases antennas that are not equipped to receive V's which we [and WJLA] did shift to. When people call or write we help them out and it is moving along OK."