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Do you get local TV via antenna? You’ll need to rescan your channels on Friday

Chicago stations are changing their broadcast frequency Friday. Here’s what that means for you.

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Viewers who watch free over-the-air television with an antenna will need to rescan their TV set on Friday when Chicago stations change their broadcast frequency, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Change is in the air for some Chicago TV stations — in the airwaves, that is.

Viewers who watch free over-the-air television with an antenna will need to rescan their TV sets on Friday when Chicago stations change their broadcast frequency, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

A new frequency impacts how a channel is received over the air by your TV. In order to connect to the most up-to-date frequency, viewers will need to treat their television as if it’s brand new, and rescan for channels. The FCC provides a step-by-step example on its website, or watch this tutorial video for a walk-through:

Cable or satellite TV subscribers do not need to rescan, because the service providers will manage the transition.

Stations that are changing frequencies in the Chicago area include:

  • WMAQ-TV, Channel 5 (NBC)
  • WLS-TV, Channel 7 (ABC)
  • WTTW, Channel 11 (PBS)
  • WCIU, Channel 26 (CW)
  • WFLD, Channel 32 (FOX)
  • WCPX-TV, Channel 38 (ION)
  • WSNS-TV, Channel 44 (Telemundo)
  • WXFT-DT, Channel 60 (UniMas)
  • WCPX-TV, Channel 38 (ION)
  • WGBO-TV, Channel 66 (Univision)

This week’s change stems from an FCC initiative years in the making to ease congestion on wireless networks and expand access for wireless internet providers. The transition will be complete across the United States by July 2020.