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WNMU-TV Updates

Local Content & Service Report FY2013-14
February 11, 2015

WNMU-TV’s mission is to provide the communities in our region with programming and media services that inform, inspire and educate. Public TV 13 has just updated our report that highlights our impact on our local community. This annual report is now mandated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but we were glad to go through the process because it allows us to report back to you, our local community and our Partners in Programming. We hope you will enjoy reading about WNMU-TV’s contributions to our region’s culture, education and safety. You can download the report by clicking on this link: FY13-14 Local Content and Service Report (337k PDF file)

Pictured: Bruce Turner with Public Eye News students Bruce Turner, 50 Years at NMU Public Broadcasting!
In May 2013, the staff of Public TV 13 is honoring our Station Manager Bruce Turner, in celebration of his 50 years of dedicated service to WNMU Public Broadcasting. Bruce is more than a Station Manager, he selects the programs in our schedule, records audio announcements, coordinates underwriters and fundraising, helps viewers with questions and reception problems, and speaks to you during our on-air pledge breaks. Bruce also works harder than anyone else here at Public TV 13 -- and that is why we love working for him. Thanks, Bruce, for all you do to make public television possible in the Upper Peninsula region! (Pictured: Bruce in our production control room with Public Eye News students.)

FCC Online Public Inspection Files
August 2, 2012

For decades, the public file for each station has been kept at the station's main studio in paper form (or more recently in electronic form) and made available during normal business hours. Relying on the advantages of current technology, however, the Federal Communications Commission has now changed its rules to require almost all of this public file information for television stations to be posted online at a new FCC site. As a result, members of the public will be able to find station information more easily and at any time convenient to them. You can read more about the FCC's Public Inspection File requirements at this link. Access WNMU-TV's Station Profile and Public Inspection File by clicking on this link: WNMU-TV FCC Public Inspection File

Behind the Scenes at Public TV 13
March 23, 2011
[This is an extended version of the Update article published in the April 2011 issue of FanFare.]

The response from our Public TV 13 viewers during our recent March fundraiser was excellent, and very gratifying for us. Our Partners in Programming are our most important source of funding, and we recognize your financial support as a form of trust. And maintaining your trust and interest in your local public television station is our highest priority -- you could say it’s our mission.

From top to bottom, all members of our WNMU-TV organization work to make our station the best it can be. Our General Manager, Eric Smith, and our Station Manager, Bruce Turner, are the most visible, speaking to you directly during pledge breaks. When they are not doing pledge breaks, they wear many other “hats” and handle a multitude of tasks related to administration, management and fundraising. Bruce also builds our program schedule each month, after considering a large array of fine television programs that are available for us to air. When we receive program suggestions from viewers, Bruce always takes the time to investigate and consider each one of them.

There are also some folks you don’t see who play a big part in our mission. Our Membership Coordinator, Marianne, makes sure that your pledges and contributions are handled with care, your program guides are mailed to the correct address, and your thank you gifts are shipped as soon as possible (a huge job during pledge drive time.) Our traffic and operations department, Irene and Becky, do the daily work of arranging our broadcast schedule, and making sure all the bits and pieces of video and audio in the schedule are organized and ready to present to you each day. You also hear Becky’s voice on many of our promotional announcements that appear between the programs we air, and she edits and creates those announcements as well.

Our engineering and technical operations departments, supervised by Mike and Grant, maintain the complex equipment necessary to broadcast our three channels, as well as supervising satellite reception of programs coming from the PBS network, program recording and archiving, and taking care of our transmitter and tower in Republic. Their crew of engineers (John, Bob and Andrew) and operators (Matt and Jason) are directly responsible for what you see on your TV screens at home, and for quickly and efficiently troubleshooting any transmission problems that occur.

Our FanFare editor and graphic artist (that’s me, Melinda) takes care of assembling the monthly program listings, laying our our printed program guide, maintaining our website, and making sure the correct program listings are available online. I also post local program videos to our PBS online video player, and answer your email questions.

Our NMU student workers and volunteers also play a big part in many aspects of our operation, including master control operations, greeting the public who visit our offices, and answering your phone calls during business hours. They also participate with our production department in making our local programs, Media Meet, High School Bowl, and the Ask the series, and they have complete responsibility for producing Public Eye News, Monday through Friday during NMU’s fall and winter semesters.

Speaking of our production department, there are four staff members who concentrate on making our TV13 local programs. Bob is our producer/director who is responsible for local productions from beginning to end. He organizes the program schedules and topics, and arranges for the guests who appear. Then he sits behind the console in our studio control room and directs the crew while blending the cameras, sound and graphics into the programs you see at home. We have two production associates who are involved in all our local productions, Becky, who is our main studio camera operator (she also works in operations as mentioned above), and Mike. Mike maintains our studio facilities, schedules and supervises our student crew, sets up our studio sets and lighting, and takes charge of audio for our studio productions. He is also our chief videographer for field recordings, and he produces and edits educational and promotional videos for NMU. Our graphic artist (me again) creates video graphics for all our productions.

Last but not least, we must mention the many part-time helpers and volunteers who allow our station to function with a very small full-time staff. Our program hosts, Bill Hart (Media Meet) and G.G. Gordon (High School Bowl), both play a large part in producing their programs, as well as being the faces and voices in front of the camera. We also could not do without our Ask the hosts, Michael Harl, Matt Surrell and Scott Seaman, and the many volunteers who come to our studios to answer phones during the call-in programs. And we must not forget Bill Brazier, our independent underwriting representative, who works with local businesses to bring in some of the funding to support all our efforts.

I also want to mention the hundreds of students and teachers who participate in our High School Bowl tournament. Each season, our Studio B facility hosts teams and audience participants from about 50 schools from the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. We record 49 games per season, and each 2-game recording day brings players, alternates, coaches, families and friends into our facility to play the game and support their teams. That’s about 1200(!) more people that Public TV 13 could not do without.

Then there is you, our Partners in Programming. You are part of an important group of individuals and businesses from the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin who have made Public TV 13 a part of your life, and have trusted us with your support.

All of us would like to thank you for your trust and support, especially this year -- a critical time in the history of public television and our station. Public TV 13 is approaching its 40th year of service to the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, with the help of students, volunteers, Partners and Underwriters from our community. It seems like most of those years have included budget cuts, and our staff has shrunk, but we continue to do more with less.

We trust that you will continue to contribute your support to help maintain this valuable community resource. When times are tough, we know that our Partners have always come through, and strong community support will pull us through these troubled times. If you feel strongly about the value of public broadcasting, you can help us even more by spreading the word and talking about Public TV 13 with your family, friends and business contacts.

We hope you will also take the time to talk about our station with your legislators in Washington and tell them how you feel about public broadcasting. You can reach your representatives through the Capitol Operator at 202-224-3121. We also encourage you to visit www.170MillionAmericans.org to find out the most current information on budget proposals and cuts that concern public broadcasting. There is also a form on the site that will allow you to send a message directly to your member of Congress.

Thanks again for your support!

Updated: Where to Watch Our Three Channels
Updated Thursday, February 11, 2010
Antenna: Over-the-air viewers with digital TV sets or set-top converter boxes can now enjoy three digital channels from Public TV 13: Public TV13 (13.1), TV13/HD (13.2), and TV13/Plus (13.3). To see what’s on all three channels, click here to go to our Schedule page.

Charter Digital: Charter digital service subscribers (with the Charter digital set-top box) can find our SD channels in the digital tier. TV13/Plus (13.3) is on channel 195 (was 313) and our main TV13 (13.1) is available in a digital version on channel 196 (was 314.)

Charter HD: Our HD channel, TV13/HD (13.2), is available on Charter channel 783 in the HD tier.

Other Cable Systems: Other area cable providers also have the option of picking up Public TV 13’s additional channels. Some are already carrying them and some plan to upgrade their service to include them. Call your local cable provider for more information.

DirecTV: Our two standard definition (SD) channels are available in the local channels package: DirecTV’s “13” is our main Channel 13.1; and “13-2” is TV13/Plus 13.3. Our HD channel is not available on DirecTV at this time.

Dish Network: Our main Channel 13.1 is in Dish Network’s local channel lineup. Our HD channel is not available on Dish at this time.

WNMU-TV Viewer Survey
Updated January 20, 2010
We asked 8,800 viewers, “Can You See Us Now?,” and most told us, “Yes,” – and you seem to enjoy and appreciate what you see on our three digital channels. By mid-January, our TV13 Partners and former Partners had returned close to 2,000 surveys, and many of you also included a contribution. Your generous gifts are very welcome in these times of uncertain budgets, and we especially like knowing that our efforts during the transition to digital television are appreciated. When compiled and analyzed, the survey data should give us a better idea of how our Partners in Programming are viewing us, and what they would like to see in the future. We’ll tell you more about what we learned in future issues of FanFare.

Ask the Experts Returns With More DTV Information
Updated January 20, 2010
You can find out more about the results of our viewer survey, and get an update on digital TV in general, when you watch our “Ask the Experts: Digital TV Update” live call-in program on Thursday, February 4 at 8 pm ET. Public TV 13 management will share what they have learned from helping viewers through the digital conversion and give an update on current and future TV technology. Viewers are welcome to call in questions and suggestions regarding any aspect of TV13’s broadcasts and program information services.

If you are still having problems receiving our digital channels, whether it’s via antenna, cable or satellite, we urge you to contact us for personalized advice on your reception situation. Please give us a call at 800-227-9668 (M-F, 9-5 ET) and take advantage of the expertise our staff has gained from many troubleshooting calls during the past year.

Weather Forecasts Are Back on Channel 13.1 Second Audio Program, Along With Public Radio 90 on 13.3
Updated December 23, 2009
For the past several years, WNMU-TV has provided weather forecasts from the National Weather Service on our second audio program (SAP channel). SAP is often used by other TV channels to add a second language, like Spanish, or descriptive video (DVI) for the blind. Since the digital conversion last June, the SAP weather forecasts have been mostly missing from our Channel 13.1 broadcasts, although they have been available on Charter Cable Channel 13.

As part of an ongoing joint project with Public Radio 90, WNMU-FM, to upgrade their link from studio to transmitter (STL), we were temporarily using our TV13 SAP channel to send PR90 audio to the transmitter. As of this week, the STL project is complete and the National Weather Service forecasts have returned to our Channel 13.1 second audio program. We have also added Public Radio 90 audio to our Channel 13.3 second audio program, so listeners now have another way to access WNMU-FM.

We occasionally receive reports from viewers of unwanted weather audio or Public Radio 90 audio on Channel 13. This happens because viewers can unknowingly switch their audio program with their remote control, or because power interruptions can reset the audio program on the TV set. If you hear weather or WNMU-FM instead of our TV13 audio it's easy to fix: find the menu on your television set that lets you switch audio programs, or look for a button on your remote control marked “SAP” or “MTS” or “Audio.”

Public TV 13 Now Available on DirecTV
Friday, November 13, 2009
The DirecTV satellite TV service is now offering local channels in the Marquette DMA area. (The Nielsen Marquette DMA includes most of our broadcast coverage area except for Menominee County). Two of our Public TV 13 channels will be available to subscribers who receive the local channels.

DirecTV offered WNMU-TV the choice of either two SD channels on their service, or one HD channel. Since our “main” channel (the one with local programming) is still in SD, we chose the two SD channels. We decided that TV13/Plus was a good complement to our main channel because it will give our viewers two different programs to chose from.

DirecTV subscribers will see channels 13 (broadcast 13.1) and 13-2 (broadcast 13.3, TV13/Plus) in their local channels lineup. In the future, WNMU-TV plans to upgrade our main channel to HD. At that time, our HD service will most likely be available on DirecTV.

Subscribers will need to call DirecTV in order to have the local channels package turned on. You will also need one of the newer DirecTV dishes in order to receive the locals. Unfortunately, customers with older dishes may be required to pay for an updated dish, and we have heard that there is already a waiting list. Please call DirecTV's customer service line, 800-531-5000.

Public TV 13 is also available to Dish Network satellite subscribers.

DTV Reception Tips
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Not all digital tuners are the same -- that’s one of the things we've learned while researching DTV questions from viewers. Side by side comparisons show that different tuners can pull in more or less digital stations, even using the same antenna setup. If you are experiencing reception problems, it would be a good idea to try another converter box or tuner if possible.

We have also learned from viewer reports that different brands and models of converter boxes vary considerably. One of the most popular models sold at a large national retailer has been reported to be of poorer quality and could be the cause of many reception issues.

Here's a tip for viewers using "rabbit ears” antennas: you can get better reception on high VHF channels (like 13) when your rabbit ears are shorter. Try collapsing your antenna "ears" to about half their possible length. Many viewers have found that Public TV 13 comes in better this way.

Another "rabbit ears" tip: depending on your particular reception situation, the powered or amplified indoor antennas being sold in many stores may not work better than your old un-powered rabbit ears from the ’60s. If you want to upgrade your indoor antenna, first look at changing the location of your rabbit ears within your home. Building materials and other obstructions can scatter TV signals. Using a longer cable and putting the antenna near a window may make a big difference. Before spending money on a new antenna, move the old one around to find the best spot for reception in the room. Cleaning or replacing the old connectors and wires may also help. This is true with older outdoor antennas too.

If you're having problems receiving Public TV 13 over the air, we would be glad to talk to you about your particular reception situation. Please give us a call at 800-227-9668 (M-F, 9-5 ET).

Can You See Us Now?
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The flood of DTV questions and calls to the station in early summer has now slowed to a trickle. In our efforts to help antenna viewers find our digital channels, the staff here at Public TV 13 has learned a lot about the various technical and reception problems that our viewers can experience. Most important, we’ve learned that every setup and reception situation is slightly different and that many reception problems actually turn out to be issues issues with TV or set-top box, and knowing how to set them up.

We know there are viewers and TV13 Partners out there who are still having problems, and we urge you to contact us for personalized advice on your reception situation. If you’re having issues with antenna reception or gear setup, please call 800-227-9668 (M-F, 9-5 ET) and take advantage of the expertise our staff has gained from this summer’s troubleshooting.

In an effort to gauge viewership of our three digital channels, Public TV 13 Partners will soon receive a mailing with a survey about DTV. Please watch for our “Can You See Us Now?” envelope in your mailbox, and take this opportunity to let us know how you are viewing us.

Public TV 13 Available on DISH Network
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
WNMU-TV has been informed that Public TV 13 will be part of a local channels package available to subscribers of the DISH Network satellite TV service this week. Other local channels coming to DISH Network this week will be WBUP (ABC) Ch. 10 and WLUC (NBC) Ch. 6. The network plans to include WJMN (CBS) Ch. 3 at a later date.

DISH Network customers can subscribe to their local channels for an additional $5 per month, beginning Thursday morning, July 9. Some subscribers with older installations will need to upgrade their equipment to the newer HD-capable dish in order to receive the local channels package. The current plan is to offer one standard-definition (SD) channel for each local TV station.

Beginning Thursday morning July 9, customers can call DISH Network at 1-800-333-3474 to subscribe.

TV6 has more on the DISH Network story at this link.

We are told that DirecTV is expected to begin offering local channels some time this fall.

FCC Suggests Double Re-scan for Viewers Who Have "Lost" Digital VHF Channels
Updated Wednesday, June 17

If you're having trouble receiving Channel 13 in digital, try performing what's called a "double rescan." First, remove the coaxial cable from your antenna that is connected to your converter box or digital TV set. After removing it, scan for channels by selecting "auto tuning," "autoscan" or "EZ scan" using the converter box menu. Once the scan without the antenna is complete, turn off and then unplug the power to your converter box or digital TV set for a minute or two. This
performs a "reboot" of your converter box/digital TV set that will help clear any former channels from the system's memory.

Once that scan is complete, reinsert the cable from your antenna back into the converter box or digital TV set input. Then use the converter box menu again to scan for channels. When this second scan is complete, you may get more channels than you previously received.

The FCC has published complete instructions for double re-scanning that you can download and print. WNMU-TV is making them available for download in this 128k PDF file. Double Re-Scanning Instructions

Please let us know if this process is helpful. dtv13@nmu.edu

Digital TV13 is On the Air
Updated Tuesday, June 16

WNMU-TV completed our conversion to all digital broadcasting on Saturday, June 6, about three weeks later than we had planned, and after a period of seven days off the air. The delay was caused by various factors, including crew scheduling, parts delivery, and technical difficulties. We had planned to give our viewers a little more warning before we shut off our analog signal, but a problem with our old transmission line forced us to shut off a few days early, hence we had no time to broadcast announcements prior to shutting down the old transmitter.

We apologize for the unplanned shut-off, the delay and the length of time we were off the air. Our engineers and crews did their best to get us back on as soon as possible. We are sorry that our antenna viewers had to miss some of their favorite programs, but we hope you are now enjoying the benefits of digital broadcasts, more program choices and our new 24-hour broadcast day.

If you’re having problems receiving digital Channel 13, we are always happy to help out. You can call us at 800-227-9668, or email dtv13@nmu.edu.

Before calling, here are a few things that you should check:

  • make sure you have a TV set with a digital (ATSC) tuner, or a set-top digital converter box (some older digital sets came without tuners);
  • make sure your antenna is capable of receiving both VHF and UHF signals. Channel 13 is on VHF, just like it always was;
  • if your antenna is old it may work just fine, but you might want to check the wiring and connections and make sure they are secure;
  • if you have a converter box, make sure your antenna is plugged into your converter box, rather than the TV;
  • make sure you have re-scanned the channels on your TV or converter box – sometimes this is referred to as “adding new channels;”
  • while scanning for channels, you should see a screen where you can see a gauge of signal strength. If you can find any kind of a signal on channel 13, then you know that your antenna is picking up our signal, but it may be too weak to be tuned in. Most digital tuners need about 30-60% strength for a viewable picture;
  • if you have determined that you’re receiving a weak signal, then you’ll need to think about upgrading your antenna, raising the height or adding a signal amplifier;
  • you may also want to check with your neighbors to find out what kind of results they are getting.

Channel 33 Turned Off
If you had been watching digital Channel 13 before our June 6 conversion, then you were actually watching our low-power digital Channel 33 broadcasting from Marquette Township since 2004. Our license to broadcast on Channel 33 expired when we converted Channel 13 to digital, so the Channel 33 transmitter was turned off on June 10. If you lost Public TV 13 that week, you will need to re-scan your channels in order to find the new digital Channel 13. Viewers in the Marquette area may find that due to terrain issues, they can no longer receive our digital signal, now coming from our main tower in Ely Township. In some locations, it may be possible to restore your reception with an upgraded antenna, but there will be some areas in and around Marquette where it’s impossible to receive Channel 13 over the air. We apologize to those former Channel 33 viewers who are affected.

Many thanks to our loyal antenna viewers for their patience during this transition. We are gratified by the many positive reports we’ve received from viewers who are now enjoying a crisp digital picture and better sound. All our viewers are important to us, and if you’re still having problems getting Channel 13, we encourage you to contact us for advice.

Digital Channel 13 Began Broadcasting Saturday Afternoon
Updated Monday, June 8:

Construction of Public TV 13's new digital transmission line and antenna is now complete, and we returned to the air Saturday afternoon about 3:30 pm ET. We are now broadcasting 24-hours-a-day with three digital channels, 13.1, 13.2 & 13.3.

  • Channel 13.1 is the same Public TV 13 local schedule that you are used to seeing on our station, with all our locally-produced programs, all in standard definition (SD);
  • 13.2, TV 13/HD, is our all-high definition (HD) channel, with programming coming straight from PBS with only occasional local material added to the schedule;
  • 13.3, TV13/Plus, is the PBS schedule in standard definition, with a 3-hour delay.

We have had positive reports from across our viewing area from viewers who are receiving our new, improved digital service in Iron River, Calumet, Pelkie, Fayette, Stephenson, Houghton, AuTrain, Chatham, Crystal Falls, Florence, Wisconsin, and many other locations. Most of the smaller cable companies have also reported that they are receiving our signal clearly and have restored Chananel 13 to their cable subscribers.

Periodic outages in Public Radio 90 broadcasts will continue this week as crews finish up their work on the tower.

Thanks to all our viewers for their patience during this extended broadcast outage. Our apologies for the inconvenience of missing your favorite shows!

We would be very interested to receive digital signal reports from our antenna viewers. Please send us an email at dtv13@nmu.edu and let us know your location and the quality of your digital reception. If you're having problems receiving digital Channel 13, please don't give up on us yet! Give us a call or send and email and we will do our best to help you out.

Re-scan After the Conversion
Remember that antenna viewers will need to re-scan the channels on their digital TV or converter box in order to find our three new digital Channels 13.1, 13.2 and 13.3. It will be necessary to re-scan again after June 12 when other local stations are converting.

Channel 33 Will Be Shut Down
We will soon be turning off our low-power digital Channel 33 transmitter that has been on the air since 2004. Channel 33 viewers will need to re-scan as explained above. [Please note, if you have been watching Public TV 13 in digital via antenna, then you have been watching Channel 33, though your TV set sees it as Channel 13.]

Public TV 13 staff is happy to answer your DTV questions. Email us at dtv13@nmu.edu, or give us a call at 800-227-9668. If you email, please make sure to let us know where you are located so we can give you the most complete answers to your questions.

Local Channels Coming to Satellite Services
WLUC-TV6 reports that Dish Network and Direct TV are preparing to add local U.P. channels to their services in the next two months. Public TV 13 is looking forward to working with the satellite providers to bring our two standard-definition digital channels to their subscribers. We will share more information with you in coming weeks. TV6's original news article is here: Satellite companies to carry local channels.

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