Plan to ScanPlan to Scan

Rhode Island PBS is currently moving our broadcast frequency. The channel numbers you use to find us will not change, but if you watch TV over the air with an antenna, where your television finds our signal will change.

If you watch Rhode Island PBS and Learn on cable or satellite, our move may not affect you.

If you watch our channels over the air with an antenna, you can expect periodic signal disruptions and outages during the transmitter upgrade and frequency relocation. At the end of this transition period, over-the-air antenna viewers must scan to let your TV tuner find the new location of our signals. Please watch our Website for information about your Plan to Scan date over the next several weeks to continue watching Rhode Island PBS and Learn.

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 services.
Repacking ExplainedRepacking Explained

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 and WLNE ABC 6 also move on October 19. The move by WPRI CBS 12 is June 22, 2019; Telemundo moved in July 2018.

How will this move affect me?
To comply with the FCC mandates, WSBE Rhode Island PBS has to move our broadcast signal to a new location. For our new frequency, we must install a new transmitter and antenna. As early as August 15, our old transmitter must be powered down to accommodate this construction project.

  • 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 our two 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 our signals, you will not be able to watch Rhode Island PBS and Learn on your TV.

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.

What are my viewing alternatives?
During this transition if you cannot watch us on television, you have free access to a selection of programs online at your convenience at watch.ripbs.org. We also have links to the most recent episodes of our local programs, including A Lively Experiment, Story in the Public Square, and In Another Opinion. You can also sign up for RIPBS | Passport, a member benefit offering expanded access to 1,500 favorite – and new – PBS episodes, series, and documentaries.

Will my TV stations get new numbers?
No. After you scan your TV set, your will find our two channels on 36.1 and 36.2 still at their usual channel numbers.

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?
How to ScanHow to Scan

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.

Once your scan is complete, enter channel 36.1 and 36.2 to verify a successful scan. You will still find us and other local stations on the same channel numbers as before the repack.

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 WSBE Rhode Island PBS or TVAnswers.org.

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. Per the FCC, Rhode Island PBS is moving from broadcasting in ultra-high frequency (UHF) to broadcasting in very high frequency (VHF). 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.Still need help? For additional assistance, contact the FCC’s consumer hotline at 1-888-225-5322 and press prompt number 6.Still need help?
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 WSBE Rhode Island PBS or TVAnswers.org.

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