The Digital Switch

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

Did you stay up to see what would happen?

2:04 a.m.  I'm asleep, but suddenly wake up.  As I check the time, I realize the digital switch is one minute away.

2:05 a.m.  Carson Daly signs off (mercifully) and the Poker show starts... and my picture pops.  Not in a bad way-- in a great way.  I had been wondering what would happen when WILX dropped its analog signal and went to all digital.  I have cable, but my carrier, Charter, provides an awful signal in St. Johns.  When the switch happened, my picture got better.  Bully for me.

Not so much for the scores out there who are not ready.  Sorry to be so blunt, but we've been hearing about the switch for years and been bombarded with info about the switch on February 17th for months and months.  The folks who aren't ready now, would not have been ready in June.  For some it's no fault of their own, since they're waiting for a coupon for a converter box.  But no matter when it happened, there would be plenty of people shocked to wake up to no picture. 

If it makes you feel better to blame us for going ahead with the switch when we could have waited for a few months, fine.  But think about this-- this was not our idea, it was the federal government's.  It need to free up the heavy analog airspace for digital, which takes up less space.  It passed a law requiring every station to make the switch.  Now pretend you are running our company.  You've spent all sorts of money on running two transmitters-- one analog and one digital-- in preparation of the switch and on spots and commercial air time reminding people about February 17th being the day.  Then the Fed chimes in again, but this time to yank the rug out and ask that we wait.  Wait and spend more money that media companies don't have to make a switch that people will still not be ready for in June. 

We ripped the band-aid off today and for some it will hurt for awhile.  But imagine the joy you'll have for us when those annoying FCC-MANDATED crawls on your screen are on every channel but ours in May before the next switch.  Bye the way, you can watch every NBC show at

And a big shout-out to Sharon, our receptionist at WILX, who took hundreds of your calls today and calmly walked many of you through a few steps to get your digital converter box running correctly.  She's one of the good ones.

P.S.  Sharon, I'm sorry I called and acted like a disgruntled viewer.  Simple minds are simply amused.
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  • by Jan Location: Lansing on Apr 10, 2013 at 05:39 AM
    All of this is from 2009, but it's now 2013 and I still can't receive WILX on my analog TV with digital converter, even with an amplified antenna. (Well, ok, I can occasionally get it, but with picture that constantly breaks up.) I want NBC programming, and prefer WILX for local news,but I just don't try anymore. I have a couple of digital sets that are on cable, but I use THIS set A LOT, due to it's location.
  • by Jill Location: East Lansing on Feb 14, 2010 at 08:07 AM
    New TV, new antenna, no WILX. I have rescanned 20 times, I get all the other stations but not yours. I can literally throw a stone to your building from my home. I have read the suggestions below, nothing helps, and clearly I am not the only one having problems. The problem must be on your end.
  • by anne Location: lansing on Sep 13, 2009 at 01:47 PM
  • by RP Location: Sag & Creyts on Aug 2, 2009 at 10:49 AM
    8/1/2009: New TV. New antenna. No WILX, despite repeated scans. You people have a real problem.
  • by Linn Location: Bath on Apr 30, 2009 at 05:32 PM
    Still bummed about weak signal but in all fairness, I had to add that I discovered today that my Roku digital video player interferes with the signal. As long as the player is turned off, I do get some signal.
  • by Linn Location: Bath on Apr 28, 2009 at 06:28 PM
    SO FRUSTRATED. 1st of all, I did the re-scan more than once. I bought an upgraded indoor/outdoor antenna two weeks ago and found a spot where I could get WILX signal, though it was not as strong as CBS and ABC. A week later it no longer picked up a signal from that spot. I found a new spot. Now another week later, there is no signal. I have moved the antenna every where including outside (it has a 20 foot cord) and there is no signal. I rescanned again. Nothing. Advertisers are wasting their money on WILX and I recommend we all call them and tell them we are no longer watching WILX because, simply, we can't get a signal. (I know, how can I know who advertised if I can't get the signal? Please, anyone who is willing and who by some chance can see WILX, please post WILX's advertisers here!) Or...WILX should do whatever ABC and CBS are doing to provide viewers with enough signal strength.
  • by Mike Location: Grand Ledge on Apr 26, 2009 at 08:28 AM
    Come on WILX, no Digital Signal. Zero. Nothing...I wonder if your advertisers no anyone w/o cable or dish isn't seeing there advertisement! Shame on you...
  • by Jason Location: Newsroom on Mar 4, 2009 at 02:50 PM
    Anyone still having trouble should re-scan. If that doesn't work, delete 10.1 and 10.2 from your channels list manually and re-scan again. If you still have trouble, call us at 517-393-0110.
  • by john Location: owosso mi. on Mar 1, 2009 at 10:09 AM
    can not receive your dignal signal
  • by Marnie Location: Lansing on Feb 27, 2009 at 01:07 PM
    I was ready for the switch, but some of my neighbors weren't. To make matters worse, I no longer receive WILX. My converter has been scanned and scanned and my antenna moved, but still no luck. I hope it doesn't happen with all the rest of the channels when the switch finally does happen.
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