Out & About Today expands audience reach

WTVF NewsChannel 5 has added two new digital channels to its over the air broadcast mix, which will allow viewers without cable to watch popular local GLBT news show, Out & About Today.

Digital channel 5.2 is a sub channel of WTVF NewsChannel 5’s digital channel, and the channels now include 5.1 (main channel); 5.2 (broadcasting content that is also carried on Comcast cable channel 250 and Charter cable channel 50) and 5.3, which is called THIS-TV. THIS-TV is a classic movie channel.

Richard Eller, senior operations manager for WTVF, said that programming on NewsChannel 5+ would remain the same.

“NewsChannel 5+ remains an incredibly important part of our network as evidenced by the resources devoted to the gavel-to-gavel coverage trial coverage, breaking news and weather coverage and important informational programming that are uniquely local and relevant like 'Out and About Today'," Eller said. 

He hinted that the station may broaden the channel’s reach even more.

“In addition to putting NewsChannel 5+ over the air, other cable systems in the area have already expressed interest in adding NewsChannel 5+ to their line up,” he said.

The channel move on Comcast has placed NewsChannel 5+ in the news digital tier, making it a news neighbor with channels like CNN and Fox News.

“Now that digital television is here, the growth opportunities are enormous with carriage on new cable systems and to an over-the-air audience never before exposed to NewsChannel 5+,” Eller explained.

He said the switch from analog to digital has been a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment. WTVF NewsChannel 5 was the first TV station in the region to broadcast in digital high definition.

Some areas of Nashville and Middle Tennessee have had trouble receiving NewsChannel 5’s digital signal, and Eller said the station was working to remedy those problems.

“We are in the process of building a translator of our digital signals over the air. It is designed to help viewers in the metro area who have difficulty receiving our signal due to the type of antenna they are using,” he explained. “It is an investment of roughly three quarters of a million dollars to solve a problem that no one across the country anticipated including the FCC." 

The translator will overlap the NewsChannel 5 signal, and will fill in an area that roughly covers a 15-mile-radius of Nashville.  

"We expect some viewers with indoor antennas will have an easier time picking up our signal with the new translator.”,” he said. “We began testing the channel near the end of August.”

Elller said that the problem affected any station with a digital channel in the low band VHF (channels 2-5) spectrum. WTVF NewsChannel 5 is the only station in Nashville with a digital signal in this range.  WSMV Channel 4 and WKRN News 2 are both broadcasted on higher digital channels.

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