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Monday, April 9, 2012

Tower problem kills Channel 4 for antenna-using TV watchers

A problem at a transmitting tower has made Boston’s CBS station, WBZ Channel 4, temporarily invisible to people who use antennas, and also affected channels 5 and 38.

“We were watching the Masters. It was just before they were getting the green jackets; they were walking off the green and the picture went out,” said Joleen Carleton, who was watching with Ruland Sears of Milford at his home. They also noticed that channel 38 went out.

The problem, according to Boston Business Review, is equipment failure at a transmitting tower in Needham, Mass. Few details were available, but was expected to be fixed today or tomorrow, April 10.

The problem did not affect cable-TV transmission. WBZ-TV said in a statement that only 7 percent of its total audience still uses free, over-the-air signals. Channel 38, owned by CBS, is a sister station to WBZ.

Boston’s ABC affiliate, WCVB Channel 5, resumed over-the-air signals Sunday using a low-power backup transmitter that has trouble being detected in parts of Greater Nashua.

The situation revealed one weakness in using traditional antennas to get television reception, but that doesn’t affect the main benefit of the old-fashioned system.

“It’s free,” said Carleton.