Rhode Island Broadcasters Association


As required by the Federal Communications Commission, Rhode Island television stations are moving broadcast frequencies. The channel numbers you use to find your favorite stations will not change, but if you watch TV over the air with an antenna, where your television finds those signals will change.

If you watch television on cable or satellite, the move should not affect you.

If you watch television over the air with an antenna, you may experience periodic signal disruptions, interference, and outages during the transmitter upgrade and frequency relocation. At the end of this transition period, over-the-air antenna viewers must re-scan to let your TV tuner find the new location of the broadcast signals.

For help and information, you may call the FCC Consumer Hotline at 1-888-CALLFCC (1-888-225-5322) and press 6 after the prompt.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “repacking”?
By law, nearly 1,000 TV stations must move to new frequencies to make room for wireless services. Before repacking, television station frequencies were spread out along a wide range of broadcast spectrum, sometimes leaving unoccupied space between channels. Known as “repacking,” the FCC plan “repacks” broadcast frequencies, combining empty space to create a larger, uninterrupted span for wireless.

Why is this happening?
Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the agency that governs the public airwaves – to auction off broadcast TV frequencies (or airwaves) to make more channels available for wireless services. Now, nearly 1,000 TV stations are required by the FCC to move frequencies to make room for wireless companies that purchased the broadcast airwaves.

When is this happening?

    • WSBE Rhode Island PBS begins broadcast on our new frequency before October 19, 2019. We have been advised that construction and installation of our new transmitter and equipment is scheduled to begin as early as August 15.
    • WJAR NBC 10 – October 19
    • WLNE ABC 6 - October 19.
    • WPRI CBS 12 was June 22, 2019
    • Telemundo moved in July 2018.
How will this move affect me?
    • Over-the-air viewers in our broadcast area (including Massachusetts) will likely experience service disruptions and outages.
    • Subscribers of Cox, Verizon FiOS, DISH Network and DirecTV should not experience disruptions or outages.
    • Although unlikely, it is possible that cable subscribers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts could experience interference, interruptions, or even temporary outages.
What must I do?
If you rely on an antenna to receive channels for free over-the-air, you will need to scan your TV. You do not need to purchase new equipment or services to scan. The actual channel numbers you used before repacking will not change.
Please note that unless you scan and let your television find the new location of the station’s signals, you will not be able to watch the stations you love.
If you subscribe to cable or satellite you do not need to scan for our signal, as your providers will take care of that. During the construction and transition phase you may experience service disruptions, as described above. We ask for your patience during this transition.

Just what is scanning?
Scanning is when your TV or converter box searches the airwaves and locates the signals of available channels in your area. If you haven't scanned your TV recently, you may discover TV channels that you didn't know you were missing.

How do I scan my TV?
You can access the scan command from your television’s remote control.
  1. Press MENU
  2. Select SETUP or SETTINGS (or similar term)
  3. Select ANTENNA, and then press SCAN or AUTOTUNE (or similar term) to start the scanning process.
  4. Your TV will do the rest. This process takes a few minutes to complete.
If you have scanning difficulties, you can usually find instructions by selecting the Set-Up or Menu button on the remote control for your television or converter box.
Still having issues? Consult the TV or converter box owner's manual for detailed instructions on how to run a channel scan, or contact customer service for your TV or converter box manufacturer.

If I need help scanning, whom do I call?
For scanning instructions courtesy of TVAnswers.org, click here. If you have difficulty, consult the owner's manual for your television or converter box for more detailed instructions on how to run a channel scan, or contact customer service for your TV or converter box manufacturer. You do not need to purchase new equipment or services to scan your TV.
For additional assistance, contact the FCC’s consumer hotline at 1-888-225-5322 and press prompt number 6. This is a government call center not affiliated with Rhode Island television stations.

I scanned my TV as suggested and am still missing channels. What should I do?
If you are missing channels after your initial scan, try to scan your set again. If multiple scans are not solving the problem, you may want to clear the memory of your TV by following these steps:
  1. Disconnect the antenna from the TV or converter box.
  2. Scan the TV or converter box without the antenna connected. As with any scan, follow the on-screen instructions or owner’s manual for your TV.
  3. Unplug the TV or converter box from the electrical outlet for one minute.
  4. Reconnect the antenna to the TV or converter box, plug the unit into the electrical outlet.
  5. Rescan the TV or converter box again.
Also keep in mind that the location of an indoor antenna is key. Try moving your antenna near a window and position it as high as possible. Keep it away from other electronic equipment, including computers, DVD players, converter boxes, etc. You may want to change the direction the antenna is facing if you are not getting reception.

Do I need to buy a new antenna?
Probably not. You may need to adjust your antenna manually or purchase a new antenna in order to receive our signals. The National Association of Broadcasters suggests visiting AntennaWeb.org for more precise information regarding signal strength and what type of antenna may work best for you.

I lost my original TV remote, what do I do?
If you cannot find the remote control for your television or converter box, try using your universal remote to scan or check the TV for controls located on the side or back of the unit. If you do not see controls on the TV, contact your set manufacturer for assistance.

Still need help?
For additional assistance, contact the FCC’s consumer hotline at 1-888-225-5322 and press prompt number 6.

Additional sources:
TVAnswers.org, made possible by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
Federal Communication Commission
Information is accurate and up to date as of June 30, 2019

To contact your television station with a question associated to their station, see contact information below:

www.wpri.com – 401-228-1700
www.turntoten.com – 401-455-9100
www.abc6.com – 401-453-8000
www.ripbs.org – 401-222-3636

Additionally, here is a link to a YouTube video that may be helpful to the viewers.