Rescan to keep watching free, over-the-air TV

Jan. 16 is ‘Rescan Your TV Day’ in Jacksonville

Jan. 16 is 'Rescan Your TV Day’ in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you’re still watching Channel 4, 17 and other local television the old-fashioned way -- using an antenna -- you’re not alone. Not only is it free, but it’s also the highest quality HDTV you can get. (The cable and satellite companies and OTT services compress the signal to accommodate bandwidth for the hundreds of other channels that they provide.)

In the 15-county Jacksonville TV market, nearly 24% of viewers watch local programming using an antenna -- and that percentage is growing. Most of those have “cut the cord” and are watching local shows over-the-air and use streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Roku or YouTube for premium content.

Worldwide, two billion people watch some programming that comes over an antenna.

The Federal Communications Commission is requiring WJXT, WCWJ and a thousand other TV stations nationwide to move to new frequencies to make room for 5G and other mobile broadband services.

If you use an antenna to watch Channel 4 and CW17, you will need to rescan each television or converter box in your house that uses an antenna that day to receive our programming because of the change in frequencies that took place at 10 a.m. Thursday.

If, like most of us, you’re not home at 10 a.m., remember to do it when you get home. Otherwise, you’ll be reminded the next time you turn on Channel 4 and you don’t see The Local Station.

We’ll still be broadcasting, but where your TV picks up the signal in the digital spectrum will have changed. I know it sounds technical and complicated. It’s really not. If you rescan your TV, it’s taken care of automatically.

RESCAN FAQ: Why? When? How?

To rescan is pretty simple. Just use your TV’s remote control or analog TV converter box and navigate to the setup or channel menu. Select the channel scan option, channel tuning option or auto search, depending on the option offered by your TV manufacturer. Press the button and it will take a couple of minutes to scan for local stations automatically.

Then you’ll be all set to watch your favorite local channels and you might discover a few new ones as well.

The FCC has provided a variety of online materials to assist viewers in the re-scan process. Information, including an instructional video, a transition schedule and frequently asked questions is available at

Again, make sure you rescan at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. If you rescan and your TV is still missing Channel 4, Channel 17 or both, try adjusting your antenna and try one more time. If you are still missing our channels, send an email to with your name, your address (including city, because where you live may make a difference) and a daytime phone number.

FCC is mandating that WJXT and WCWJ and other stations change frequencies at 10 a.m. on Jan. 16. So if you get your local station's with an antenna, you'll need to rescan it that day.

About the Author:

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.