Fayette County

VHF location might complicate WKYT switch to digital

Lexington CBS affiliate WKYT-27 will change to digital television at 1 p.m. Thursday, becoming the third station in Lexington to shut off its analog signal.

The station plans to do a special report on its noon newscast explaining the switch to digital, which was to occur Feb. 17, but Congress allowed stations to wait until as late as June 12.

The station will keep its analog transmitter on through midnight Sunday, but it will be showing only educational programming about the conversion.

Help options will be available for viewers with questions. They can call 1-800-500-1513 after 1 p.m. Thursday. The line will be operational as long as necessary. Viewers also may visit www.wkyt.com/dtv or e-mail comments@wkyt.com.

Another issue that might flummox viewers Thursday is the location of WKYT's digital channel.

Some viewers with UHF-only antennas have had trouble picking up the station since the Federal Communications Commission moved its digital channel from UHF to the VHF range.

Now digital channel 13, WKYT has learned that some viewers have legacy UHF-only antennas.

"That's still an issue we have every day with people who have been waiting to the last minute to install their digital boxes or waiting to get their coupons from the government," said Mike Kanarek, vice president of operations at WKYT. "It's a very lengthy process to educate everyone that you have to get a new antenna, one that's capable of both UHF and VHF."

Fox affiliate WDKY-56 in Lexington also was switched to VHF but received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to move back up to UHF.

Kanarek said WKYT examined whether to make a similar petition, but "we're going to stay where we are."

"There are some advantages to being there down the road with some of the experimentation that's going on with mobile TV in the VHF band," he said.