St. Louis, MO — June 14, 2018 —Nine Network (KETC/Channel 9) has improved the power of its signal. Nine Network is one of the first television stations in the country, and the first in the St. Louis metro area, to “repack” its broadcast channel. The repack was necessary to accommodate the change in broadcast frequency that was the result of last year’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spectrum auction.
The enhanced power and new signal patterns are beneficial to viewers who use antennas for television reception, especially those who had difficulty getting Nine before the upgrade.
The upgrade required a significantly larger antenna to increase the transmission power of the signal, which improved reception capabilities, and a change of the FCC-assigned channel position.
All the equipment purchased for the project is ATSC 3.0-compliant, the new digital television transmission standard. The upgrade positions Nine for advances in technology that will enable it to bring new and creative services to viewers in the future. Next-generation television has the potential to reshape how broadcasters relate to their audience, including on mobile devices, enhanced alerting and better program guides.
The project was necessary to accommodate the change in broadcast frequency that was the result of last year’s FCC spectrum auction to improve and expand wireless services.
Nine installed a new transmitter and temporary antenna at its tower in unincorporated southern St. Louis County on June 1, 2018. On June 9, the permanent antenna was installed, substantially increasing signal strength in households across the region.
“Not only are we at a higher power, but we are operating twice as efficient, but producing less energy, so it’s more environmentally friendly,” says Chrys Marlow, senior vice president of engineering and operations, Nine Network.
The change does not affect the channels viewers currently watch. Nine Network continues to broadcast on four distinct channels: 9.1 (Nine PBS), 9.2 (Nine PBS KIDS), 9.3 (Nine World), and 9.4 (Nine Create).
Working on broadcast towers and antennas is complex and dangerous work. Four deaths related to tower work as a result of the repack have been reported in Missouri and Florida. Nine worked with professionals from Precision Communications in Grove, OK, to upgrade its tower.
Those who rely on an antenna to watch Nine Network were required to rescan their televisions using the settings on their remote control. Cable and satellite services were not affected. Nine Network viewers were happy with the mostly transparent upgrade. “Until Saturday [June 9], I thought there was no hope. I’m relieved! Thank you for bringing back information that I can trust,” says Nancy Buth, who lives in North County. Stephen Robinson, Carlinville, IL, says, “I was able to scan again…I have Channel 9 and that’s all that matters!”
The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine Network offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life. Nine’s platforms include four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine PBS KIDS), the Nine Center for Public Engagement, the Public Media Commons, social media, and multiple websites accessible at nineNet.org. Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our vision of a strong and healthy community working together through public media and our mission of igniting the spirit of possibility.