A network of low-power transmitters, known as "translators," relays regional TV programming to viewers in Koochiching County and other rural parts of northern Minnesota. Some of those translators had operated on frequencies that are being discontinued as a result of the spectrum auction.
The translators will move to new frequencies, but equipment is not yet installed. That means viewers in International Falls, Big Falls, and Birchdale temporarily lost WDIO/WIRT's ABC, Me-TV, and Ion programming last Friday when the deadline arrived to leave the old frequencies.
The translators are owned by Koochiching County. WDIO/WIRT does not own or manage the translators and has no control over the loss of service.
The outage also affects FOX and PBS in some communities. The translators will return to the air once Koochiching County purchases and installs new equipment to begin transmitting on lower frequencies.
A translator system in Red Lake, which carries WIRT and other signals, will also leave the air in mid-August.
It could be a few weeks or more before the signals are back on the air. At that time, viewers will have to conduct a "rescan" on their TV's to receive the stations on their new frequencies.
WIRT will be relayed on channel 24 in International Falls and channel 33 in Birchdale, but both will continue to display as channel 13.1 on digital tuners. The WIRT translator in Big Falls will not have to change channel, but had to leave the air because it receives its feed from the International Falls translator.
WIRT continues to be carried on translators in Bigfork, Kabetogama, Max, and Northome. The outage does not affect viewers who receive programming via cable or satellite TV.
Created: August 06, 2018 05:25 PM
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