WNMU-TV News Archive
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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.
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. email@example.com
Updated Tuesday, June 16
- 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com, 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.
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.
Stupak Announces $633,231 Grant for NMU Transition to Digital Television
August 20, 2008
WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak announced today that a $633,231 federal digital television grant has been awarded to Northern Michigan University (NMU) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. The Public Television Digital Transition Grant will provide the funding necessary to replace obsolete analog studio production equipment with digital technology at WNMU-TV, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate owned and operated by NMU. WNMU serves the central Upper Peninsula and part of northeastern Wisconsin.
“WNMU-TV provides excellent educational, PBS programming,” Stupak said. “This grant will allow the station to complete its transition to a digital format and roll out innovative new services.”
WNMU is one of 19 stations nationwide to receive funding through USDA’s competitive grant program to assist rural communities with the transition to digital television. In 2006, Stupak announced a $1 million USDA grant coupled with a $318,790 Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) grant to assist WNMU-TV with the first phase of its conversion to a digital television. In 2007, Stupak announced an additional $1,004,083 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the transition. In total, Stupak has assisted WNMU in securing more than $2.9 million in federal grants for the transition.
“Local productions are an essential component of the station’s daily broadcasts and provide area residents with educational and cultural programs that enhance life in Upper Michigan,” said Eric Smith, Director of Broadcasting for WNMU-TV. “This is a major upgrade for our station and will provide viewers with greater clarity in pictures and sound.”
By law, all full-power television stations in the country will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to digital broadcasting at midnight on Feb. 17, 2009. This latest grant will allow WNMU to convert studio production control facilities from analog to digital and purchase high-definition (HD) digital remote production equipment. This will help the station meet digital standards and maintain its ability to produce local content once the transition to digital takes effect.
“It’s one thing to have the technical capability to broadcast a national signal in digital,” Stupak said. “But the ability to create local content in HD digital is another thing altogether. This grant will preserve WNMU’s ability to bring local content – including news and emergency broadcasts – to viewers in the Upper Peninsula.”
“Congressman Stupak has a solid understanding of the special needs rural communities face and his support throughout this mandated and costly digital TV transition has been unwavering,” Smith said. “His strong support, along with help of many others, will make the partnership between WNMU-TV and its viewers sustainable well into the future.”
Stupak serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications and broadcasting policy.
Public TV 13's WWII Documentary Wins State Award
March 25, 2008
MARQUETTE - A documentary depicting life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during World War II received top honors from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Northern Michigan University's Public TV 13 was presented the Broadcast Excellence Award for “The U.P. Recalls the War.” The presentation was made March 11 in Grand Rapids during the Michigan Association of Broadcaster's annual conference. Accepting the award was the documentary's Production Assistant Luis Gómez (pictured) who is also an NMU Graduate Student.
Public TV 13 Producer Sonya Chrisman, Chief Videographer Mike Lakenen, and Gómez travelled across the U.P. interviewing veterans, historians, and others who lived through the war. They talked about the soldiers on skis of the 10th Mountain Division, the Battle of the Bulge, and the success of the submarine wolf pack the Darter and the Dace in the Philippines. Residents shared their memories as well as their personal photographs, which weaved with vintage newsreels and film footage, painted a vivid image of victory and of loss.
The documentary was inspired by the books, "The U.P. Goes to War" by Larry Chabot and “World War II Comes to the U.P.: 1939-1945” by Northern Michigan University Professor Russell Magnaghi. Featured in the program, narrated by Northern Michigan University Professor Dwight Brady, are NMU Professor and Historian Russell Magnaghi and NMU Archivist Marcus Robyns.
This is the sixth documentary for Emmy-Award winning producer and writer Sonya Chrisman. In previous years, Chrisman received two other First Place Broadcast Excellence Awards for "Barnes-Hecker: Memories of a Misfortune," and "One Room, Many Stories: Schoolhouse Memories." Public TV 13 Graphic Artist Melinda Stamp created the graphics, website, and DVD cover art for each video.
Major funding for “The U.P. Recalls the War” was provided by a grant from the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters; Henry Ebeling of Norway, Michigan; and the Cleveland Cliffs Foundation. Produced as a fundraising special, currently DVDs of the program are available for a donation to Public TV 13 of $100.
Students Win Awards at Broadcasting Conference
James Opiekun (back); Luis Gómez (front); Tyler Czarnopis (back); Katie Cox (front);
Dan Vandermeuse (back); NMU Professor Chuck Ganzert (front); and Ian Mcleod (back)
March 25, 2008
WNMU-TV broadcast students won several awards at the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Conference on March 11, 2008. The students earned accolades the following television categories: Daily Newscast/Sportscast, Talk Show, Public Service Announcement, and Sports Play-by-Play.
Katie Cox received Honorable Mention for "Public Eye News" in the Daily Newscast division. Second Place for a Talk Show went to Dan Vandermeuse, Ian Mcleod, and James Opiekun for "Standing O," for which NMU Professor Chuck Ganzert serves as faculty advisor. NMU Professor Louise Bourgault (not photographed) was instrumental in bringing African pop diva Nainy Diabate to NMU’s campus where she performed on the program “Standing O.” Elizabeth Gasperich (not photographed) took the second place Public Service Announcements. Another second place honor was garnered by Cody Smith (not pictured), Dan Vadermeuse, Tyler Czarnopis, and Luis Gómez for their sports play-by-play of China vs. USOEC Wrestling, Boxing, Weightlifting event in NMU's Berry Events Center on October 23, 2007.
WNMU-TV Receives Grant to Complete Digital Transition
July 20, 2007
WNMU-TV has received a grant of about $1 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to complete the television station’s transition to digital television. The funding will allow the station to purchase and install a new transmitter, transmission line and other equipment, and complete necessary tower upgrades. Federal law requires that all television stations end analog broadcasts and convert to a digital signal by February 2009.
“Without this grant, we’d be shut down for not adhering to a project that’s been federally mandated and is beyond our control,” said Eric Smith, WNMU-TV General Manager. “But it doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility to maintain annual operations and programming. Viewer contributions are a critical component and we continue to rely on them to keep the operations solid.”
The funding was announced by Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee). He serves on the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on telecommunications, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications and broadcasting policy issues.
“Digital television is the next generation of television broadcasting and, particularly for public television stations, it allows innovative new services for television viewers,” Stupak added. “WNMU’s transition to digital television will bring new services, including emergency broadcasts, to WNMU’s viewers, my constituents.”
Smith said other innovative services – of an educational nature – will be made possible through a technology called multicasting, which splits the signal into multiple content streams.
“For instance, through digital broadcasting, we may be able to provide our traditional PBS programming in high definition on our core channel, while simultaneously transmitting K-12 instructional programs, college courses and other educational programming on second and third multicast channels,” he said. “Switching a television station over to the digital format is an enormously expensive undertaking and can be especially challenging for PBS stations, which do not have the same financial resources as commercial television stations. Congressman Stupak has always been a champion of public broadcasters and of WNMU. Without his help during these lean times, WNMU simply would not be here.”
Last year, Stupak announced a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist WNMU-TV with its conversion to digital television.
This story was adapted from a news release prepared by Congressman Bart Stupak’s office.
NMU PROFESSOR WINS EMMY AWARD
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
MARQUETTE—Dwight Brady walked off the stage at the Gem Theatre in Detroit on June 16 toting a newly acquired gem of his own: a Michigan Emmy Award presented by the state chapter of the National Television Academy.
The Northern Michigan University communications professor and two employees of WKAR-TV in East Lansing were recognized for their contributions to Michigan at Risk, which won for best public/community affairs series. Brady produced a documentary for the program titled “Michigan’s Green Energy Economy” as part of a joint project between WNMU-TV and WKAR-TV. It aired statewide in November and explored how investment in solar, wind and biofuels is creating economic growth in the state.
Brady’s documentary was nominated for two other Emmy Awards in the categories of best documentary and best environmental program.
“It was very rewarding just to be nominated along with the best television professionals in the state,” he said. “The experience of producing at this level definitely enhances my ability to effectively teach courses in our broadcasting curriculum.”
Brady received financial support from the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters, an NMU faculty grant and special projects funding from the College of Arts and Sciences. He also was granted sabbatical leave to work on the documentary.
Prepared by Kristi Evans, Northern Michigan University News Bureau.
Alumni Visit Public TV 13
On Friday, September 29, 2006, Public TV 13 was pleased to host alumni attending the "George Lott Memorial Lost Weekend" (part of NMU's Homecoming 2006.) Dr. Lott’s former broadcasting students, especially those that were involved with Public Eye News, were given a tour of the facilities and then were feted at a reception. Special recognition was given to those alums who graduated from NMU in 1976 and were here celebrating their 30th reunion.
Dr. George Lott was a professor in the Speech Department in the 1970s and a former General Manager of Public TV 13 and Public Radio 90.
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$1 Million Check Presented
The USDA presented a ceremonial check, representing a grant won by Public TV 13, to the Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees at their October 6 meeting. The $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development grant will help WNMU-TV upgrade from analog to digital. Pictured are (from left) Congressman Bart Stupak, NMU President Les Wong, Gene DeRossett of USDA Rural Development in Michigan, NMU Board Chair Karl Weber, and WNMU General Manager Eric Smith.
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WNMU Receives Grant for Digital Upgrade
Northern Michigan University Public Broadcasting has received a grant from the USDA that will help us complete the FCC mandated upgrade from analog to digital television broadcasting. The $1 million grant is part of $4.97 million made available to public television stations nationally to enable them to provide digital broadcasting services to rural residents. The funds are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Public Television Digital Transition Grant program.
This is great news for Public TV 13 and our Partners and viewers.
“It’s going to provide us with the next level of service here in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin,” WNMU-TV/DT General Manager Eric Smith said. “This is what we’ve been hoping for. We’ve been looking for a way to transition to digital and this grant has opened the door for us.”
The grant will allow us to continue our existing services after the digital transition and enhance our broadcasts to take full advantage of what digital television has to offer for both entertainment and education.
As a Partner in Programming, your support and confidence in our station was critical to Public TV 13’s success in obtaining this grant. Granting agencies like the Dept. of Agriculture use community support as one criterion in evaluating projects requesting federal funds. We scored well in this area thanks to local Partners like you.
FCC regulations mandating the switch to digital means completely rebuilding WNMU-TV’s control room, as well as installing a new transmitter at our tower in Ely Township. Our USDA $1 million award will be added to funds provided by Northern Michigan University to cover the master control project at a total cost of nearly $1.3 million. This grant will pay for the new master control switching, recording and monitoring equipment which will allow us to broadcast local programs and the best of PBS high-definition programs. In the future, WNMU-TV will offer an increased amount of educational and cultural programming over several digital streams. Cable viewers will be able to take advantage of this new content even before the digital transition is complete. But while this grant now brings our equipment costs within reach, it’s essential that our Partners continue their financial support to pay the annual costs associated with buying programs aired by this station.
Public TV 13 wants you to share in our pride about these recent, exciting developments. Your continued Partnership is the key to a bright future for your public television station. Stay tuned as Public TV 13 continues to bring you the best that public broadcasting can offer.
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