FAQ on WISC-TV frequency change

Television remote control

We know many loyal viewers are struggling to receive WISC-TV while we have been making the frequency change for our TV broadcast signal.

For that, we apologize. We would love to be available to as many over-the-air viewers as possible and we have been actively trying to resolve this issue as quickly and as safely as we can.

We anticipate the remaining work to take a couple of weeks and hope to be again transmitting from the top of the tower as soon as possible. This is somewhat dependent on the weather, which is why we cannot provide a firm date.

When the work is complete, we will inform you via Channel3000 and our social media channels and ask you to rescan again. We will provide updates on this page as we learn more information.

More detail:

WISC-TV and other local broadcasters are in the middle of a government-mandated frequency change. In order to provide spectrum for wireless broadband services, Congress and the FCC decided to auction off part of the spectrum previously allocated to broadcasters like us.

In October, WISC-TV began broadcasting from a new frequency on a temporary antenna mounted on the side of the UW community broadcast tower on the west side of Madison. At the same time, we are installing a new antenna in our normal position at the top of the tower. That work continues. Once complete, we will be broadcasting from a different frequency than we were a few months ago but still available on virtual channel 3-1.

Why is it taking so long to return to normal?

Two main factors have contributed to the delay in returning to our main antenna on the new frequency. First, since this is happening all over the country, the availability of tower crews to do the work has been a major issue. In fact, the crew assigned to us didn’t arrive on site in Madison on time because of delays in another market. Second, tower crews cannot work safely in bad weather so windy, icy and snowy weather like we have been experiencing has slowed down some of the work.

Why are stations moving?

Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the agency that governs the public airwaves – to hold an auction to provide more channels for wireless broadband services.
Now that the auction is complete, the FCC is requiring nearly 1,000 TV stations to change frequencies. More information on the change is available at tvanswers.org

What is rescanning?

Rescanning is when your TV or converter box finds all of the available channels in your area. If you haven’t rescanned your TV recently, you may discover TV channels that you didn’t know you were missing.

How do I rescan my TV?

1. Select Scan or Autotune from your TV or converter box control menu to start the scanning process.
2. Your TV will do the rest. This process usually takes a few minutes to complete.
Once your rescan is complete you will still find your favorite stations on the same channel number as before. If you have rescanning difficulties, you can usually find instructions by selecting the Set-Up or Menu button on your television or converter box remote control.
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. For additional assistance, contact the FCC’s consumer hotline at 1-888-225-5322 and press prompt number 6.

I watch WISC-TV on cable or satellite. What does this mean for me?

This frequency change doesn’t affect cable and satellite subscribers. WISC-TV should be available without any disruption of service.