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WETA TV Broadcast Frequency Change FAQs

UPDATE: Have you lost reception of our television signals? WETA continues to work toward returning our broadcast operations to our main television broadcast tower site as soon as possible. While we do not know the precise date when operations will return to our main tower, you can add your name and email address to our outreach list and we will contact you directly when the time comes. You can email us at


The FCC has required that some television stations across the country transition to a new broadcast frequency. WETA is one of those stations and will make the transition on August 2. While cable and satellite viewers will not be affected, viewers using an over-the-air antenna will need to rescan their television on or after August 2. After rescanning, the WETA channel will not change. You’ll still find us over-the-air on digital channels 26.1, 26.2, 26.3 and 26.4 and channel 26, and on the same channel numbers through your preferred cable provider as before. 


Why am I having trouble watching WETA TV over-the-air?

The FCC has required that some television stations transition to a new broadcast frequency. WETA is one of those stations and will make the transition on August 2.

Why is this happening?

In order to make the transition to a new frequency, construction at our broadcast facility is required over the next few months.

I subscribe to a cable or satellite service. Will this transition affect me?

No. Subscribers to cable or satellite TV do not need to rescan. Service providers will do that for you.

Will the WETA channel number change?

The WETA channel will not change once you rescan, you’ll still find us over-the-air on digital channels 26.1, 26.2, 26.3 and 26.4 and channel 26, and on the same channel numbers through your preferred cable provider as before.

Who is affected by this change, and what can I do to be able to watch WETA again?

On or after August 2, over-the-air viewers using a TV antenna may temporarily have trouble receiving our broadcast signal. All WETA over-the-air television viewers will need to rescan their televisions as directed by WETA on-air, online, and via WETA social media and the WETA Magazine and newsletter. It is the same scan that is performed when setting up your TV or converter box for the first time to find your local channels. Rescanning will allow over-the-air viewers to re-program their televisions to receive WETA broadcasts once more.

Will I need to rescan more than once? Do I need to do anything else?

For most viewers, completing a rescan on your television on or after our August 2nd broadcast transitions should alleviate any issues. Per the FCC, no new equipment or services will be required except in rare circumstances.

I’ve already rescanned my television on or after August 2 but WETA channels haven’t come back. What can I do?

WETA will be operating at a temporary broadcast tower while engaging in construction at our main facility in order to broadcast at our new frequency. Work is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2019. It is possible that some over-the-air viewers using a TV antenna will have trouble receiving the signal at our temporary site, or once our broadcasts resume at our main facility in the Fall of 2019. These viewers may need to adjust antenna orientation and/or rescan their televisions once more. We apologize for the inconvenience during this time.

How do I rescan my television?

The FCC recommends that everyone rescan their television immediately if you have developed reception trouble due to the FCC-mandated broadcast frequency transition or, especially, if you have lost power or have moved your set to a new location in your home. Please consult your TV owner’s manual if you do not know how to rescan. It is usually straight forward and only takes a few minutes. (Note, if you are unable to locate your owner’s manual, you can likely find quick and easy instructions through an online search by typing: “how to rescan my [Brand Name] TV”.) 

However, if you tried rescanning your TV tuner and it didn't work, the next option recommended by the FCC, is to double-rescan. How is that done? Disconnect the antenna from TV and rescan. Then, turn off the TV and turn it back on. Connect the antenna and scan one more time. This procedure can replace incorrect channel information saved in the TV memory. (Scanning basically means that the TV is searching for and locking on to all of the digital signals available in your area.).

Additional Rescanning Instructions

Rescan – these are “generic” instructions and your TV may use different descriptions (for exact instructions, consult your TV owner’s manual; if you no longer have the manual, you can search online by typing “how to rescan my [Brand Name] TV” – see below for quick links to some common brand name TVs)

1. Go to the TV Menu on your remote control

2. Select/find “Channel Setup” (or similar)

3. Choose “Antenna” and/or “Air”

4. Run “Auto Program” (or similar)

5. Your TV may take roughly 3 to 15 minutes to find all the channels in your area

If rescanning does not work: Double Rescan (because sometimes a simple rescan does not work to recover lost channels)

1. Disconnect your TV antenna from the television

2. Rescan for channels (as above)

3. Turn off the TV

4. Reconnect the antenna

5. Turn on the TV and rescan

For assistance from WETA Audience Services, you can reach us at 703-998-2724 or via email at Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Why is it Necessary to Rescan or Double Rescan for Channels?

While digital broadcast signals deliver better picture and sound quality than their old analog counterpart, digital signals are also less stable. They do not travel as far and are more subject to atmospheric and geographic interferences such as leaves on trees, tall buildings and other structures, airplanes flying overhead, and other atmospheric conditions. TV tuners can also lose digital signal information after a power loss, in wind or rain, or perhaps for reasons unknown. For that reason, you may want to consider rescanning or double rescanning for channels on a regular basis. Moving your antenna can also help with reception. See for more information about finding the best antenna for your needs.

Links to Owner’s Manuals for Some Common Television Sets

Samsung: Link to Samsung Owner’s Manual

Vizio: Link to Vizio Owner’s Manual

Panasonic: Link to Panasonic Owner’s Manual

Sony: Link to Sony Owner’s Manual

LG: Link to LG Owner’s Manual

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