WBZ-TV Statement On Technical Difficulties

Update 4/10: We have identified the issue and are working as quickly as possible to correct it.

Read more here

BOSTON (CBS) – Due to technical difficulties at a transmitter site in Needham, WBZ-TV and myTV38’s over the air signals are not working at this time.

This problem is affecting other stations as well, Paul Pabis, the Director of Broadcast Operations & Engineering, said in a statement Monday.

Crews have been working at the tower site since Sunday evening to fix the problem.

“We apologize for the inconvenience. We hope to have service restored soon,” Pabis said.

“We are still available on cable and some satellite TV providers.”

If you are affected by the outage, episodes of many of your favorite CBS shows are available online at cbs.com.


One Comment

  1. Michael M. says:

    I use nothing but antenna up here in New Hampshire. We’re counting on WBZ, WSBK and WGBH to come back online soon!

    1. Ken M. says:

      Wow, I thought I was the only one not using cable or a sattelite.

  2. TAR fan says:

    Reair ’60 Minutes’ and ‘The Amazing Race’ please!!!! So sad to miss them!

  3. Mike Mole says:

    Antenna? What’s that?

    1. Dana Sion says:

      The highest quality picture and audio that what it is

      1. Hein says:

        Exactly! Antenna = Best Quality for best price.

        Took a while to get an acknowledgement and minor explanation for the outage here, but at least we have something.


  4. Bill B says:

    You mention you are still available on “cable”. Once this problem started right after the finish of the sudden death on the Masters cable was out (RCN) and this morning cable was still out. I was surprised not to see more on your WEB site this morning.

  5. Des says:

    Nationally, about 60% of households subscribe to cable television. I use an antenna to receive Boston television stations.

  6. Kevin Haley says:

    Hope problem gets fixed soon I count on this station for my News

  7. R. C. Rybnikar says:

    Thank you for taking the lead in posting this information. I am able to “piggy-back” on a neighbor’s WIFI but must rely on “over the air” broadcasting for TV. It would be nice if the other stations that are effected would post similar acknowledge the problem, too.

  8. JG says:

    Thanks for letting us know and Please fix soon!

    Not everyone wants to pay an arm and a leg for cable, so yes, many still use antennas. Was also disappointed to have missed 60 minutes and amazing race, oh well.

    1. Des says:

      It is possible to view previous “60 Minutes” broadcasts on the CBS News web site.

  9. sharim says:

    Thanks WBZ! We miss you!

  10. Nancy Lee says:

    Am glad to know it wasn’t my tv, as I don’t have cable, and I had seen wbz earlier Sunday. Hope it’s fixed soon!

  11. D. Durdle says:

    Fan of CBS programming from Newfoundland,Canada. Really miss your station and hope you can have the problem rectified before my shows begin this evening. Keep up the good programming.

  12. Joan Frankel says:

    Thank you very much for at least acknowledging this problem. WGBH has nothing up on their web site about it as of today, though their 4 WGBX signals are also affected. I not only am dependent on broadcast tv signals, not cable or satellite, but watch on my sturdy old analog TV via converter box/VCR combos, so I was very fearful that you’d started using a form of signal that my converter boxes couldn’t convert; glad to find this is not so.

    Please get back on the air soon!

    1. Dana Sion says:

      I called WGBHvon the phone and they explained the situation in great detail. I am not sure why nothing was posted online from them.

      1. jimmo531 says:

        WGBH did post a notice about the transmission outag affecting WBZ-TV and the four tiers of WGBX programming. The notice may be found here–


  13. Fred says:

    Was surprised it took this long for something to be put up online…was thinking it was my antenna/TV.

  14. D. McHugh says:

    Still problems with BELD Cable in Braintree at 11:25 a.m.

  15. Diane A says:

    Diane A

    you can view channel 4 program on channel 12 (wpri0 i think providence ri

  16. John says:

    All municipal broadband is affected, analog affected, but cable such as Comcast and verizon not affected. Local Munis are ripping off the public and will blame BZ or anyone else so as not to bear the brunt.

    Dump Local Municipal Light Departments and Broadband, its just an excuse to give pensions to friends.

    1. JACK says:

      Not just municipals are effected some of the smaller operators other than Comcast and Verizon who don’t have direct fiber optic connections in Needham. which is most everyone else! At least WCVB sent out an email last night telling the operators what had happened. Can’t say the same for CBS

    2. deusest says:

      Don’t blame ALL municipals or even cable for a problem at a transmitter site. Fires and other incidents DO happen to transmitters. Satellite uplink/downlink does provide an alternate but is NOT always dependable or available. Channel 4 is available on SELCO in Shrewsbury! SELCO is a well managed municipal electric and cable system with possibly the LOWEST rates of any electric or cable system in the Commonwealth. We never lost power or cable during the October storm and were only out for ONE day during that ice storm several years ago. Can’t speak for the other municipals, but Shrewsbury’s SELCO is #1 in my book. Others municipals and the “big boy’s” could learn much from the SELCO operation.

      1. jimmo531 says:

        You’re absolutely correct–accidents and nature may affect broadcast and cablecast reception. This is not anything new or particular to the fiber optic era. Even in the “good old days” of pre-cable/satellite and pre-Internet, when most homes relied upon rooftop antennas to enhance their TV reception, it was always possible for a roof antenna to be knocked down by strong winds.

        And as far as accidents occuring, that may always be a factor. In fact, not too long ago, a Boston-area TV station lost one of its technicians, when he was killed in a fall from a transmission tower.Compared to a loss of life, certainly a day or two without a few local TV stations being on-air is something with which we may all live.

        There are still a majority of TV stations available to viewers, and watching DVDs or VHS tapes are still alternative viewing options to many

        In such times, the situation may also make some realize there are other things in life besides staring at a screen for hours on end, such as spending time with family and/or friends, physical exercise, or even reading a book, magazine or newspaper, for the confirmed couch potatos.

        It may also be a good time to rediscover a little invention called “radio.” I am sure WBZ would also not mind this, as it maintains a station at 103.0 MHz on the AM frequency.

      2. Fred C says:

        wbz 1030
        Years ago WBZ had transmitters in Boston and Springfield.

        The studios were in Hotels. do you want the names?

      3. deusest says:

        I remember hearing “WBZ and WBZA, Hotel Kimball Springfield, AM and FM”

  17. tl says:

    This late notice–coming more than 15+ hours after the outage–is better than no status. Earlier notice would have demonstrated greater sensitivity and awareness of your loyal viewing audience. The engineering and technical staff really needs to be investigated and held accountable for this extended failure–and possibly incompetency–as there’s no backup plans? Amateur operation and poorly managed…

    1. Bob says:

      You are correct. Well said!

  18. deusest says:

    Channel 4 is available on SELCO in Shrewsbury but NOT off air. What happened?
    Was there a fire at the transmitter site? Would like to hear some information on the news. Your silence on the subject is deafening!

  19. LG says:

    It sure took a long time for this information to be released. Nothing last night! This should have been addressed by asking stations that are working to send info regarding the outage. Silence on issues show disregard and is disrespectful of your viewership. Please consider how no information affects your community. Timely information from the station is your responsibility.

    1. Italo says:

      Probably they chose not to air the notice on their Website here last evening, in the chance the problem got rectified so that they wouldn’t lose droves of viewers to the other stations. They probably hoped viewers would keep checking in to see if 60 Minutes came on, in which case they’d keep anticipated great ratings.

  20. Katherine Hunt says:

    If you could live stream programming, I could watch on my computer!

  21. a fan says:

    Please, please, get this fixed soon! There’s a new NCIS episode on Tuesday and I will be heartbroken if I can’t see it!
    BTW, I love CBS. It’s my favorite network, by far.

  22. Woburn watcher says:

    Your phone lines are down, too. Been hunting for information as well as fiddling with DTV settings and the antenna for over 2 days. Clearly, the web and other forms of social media communication are not in the forefront of your emergency response plan. Glad to finally get confirmation that there was indeed a ‘sudden death’ problem with your tower circa 8 p.m., Sunday, April 8. I, too, worried that WBZ had altered its OTA signal. Puzzling that other Boston-area OTA TV and radio stations did not report this. Please continue to place updates on this website. Your audience wants to know more about the nature of the tower problem. This affects multiple stations and regions. I lost (virtual) channel 4, 38, and (PBS) 44.

    Wikipedia: “WBZ-TV’s transmitter and antenna are located in Needham, Massachusetts on the same tower as WCVB-TV, WGBH-TV, WGBX-TV and WSBK-TV’s HDTV transmitter. In fact, the tower and site are owned by CBS itself. Its signal covers Greater Boston, southern New Hampshire, extreme southern Maine, northern Rhode Island and northeastern Connecticut. “

  23. Fred C says:

    Thank you digital tv. For over forty years I have had reliable television reception until someone decided to make the picture sharper. Since that glorious event I have had to buy converter boxes, a new tv , a new antenna and rotor and still can’t get reliable reception. It is not just channel four, it is the whole modernization of tv that was not really designed for over the air service. Even a bird flying between the signal and your antenna can cause a disruption. Unfortunately the coverage by digital is very lacking

    1. bcpnpt says:

      AMEN to that ! !

  24. Laurence Glavin (Methuen, MA) says:

    Interesting: I wasn’t home so I listened to “60 Minutes” on WBZ-AM on my car radio. When I got home, I played back shows I had recorded. Then this morning, I viewed a network-radio talk show on “Current TV” (Stephanie Miller). I only occasionally use an old analog TV with a governemt-susidized converter box (often to watch Emily Rooney and “Jeopardy before turning to cable for the night). Wow…I hope nobody has to climb the tower; today is a very windy day.

  25. Joe Falcone says:

    Seems like neither CBS/4 or WGBH care or think non-cable customers are a priority – still nothing on the WGBH site as far as I can tell indicating there even is an issue.

  26. Joe Falcone says:

    I agree on municipal power – some are FAR FAR better than the National Grid and Unitel’s out there and some towns saw minimal storm impact compared to those serviced by the big guys.

  27. Linda says:

    Here I am griping to DishTV when it is the station all along…the least they could have done was explain the problem before hours of not having the stations on…shame on them!

    1. Joe says:

      Your not alone Linda I did the same thing… and got the same response…

  28. AmazingRaceFan says:

    Odd, that it happened the second the Masters coverage ended?? Or is there a reason for that, i.e., “Live” tv versus pre-recorded tv? At first, WCVB was out, too, but their signal came back pretty quickly. Last I checked, WGBH was on…. Anyway, bummed to miss out on 60 Minutes, Amazing Race, AND The Good Wife ! Yes, missing you, WBZ!

    I was also looking for information on your Twitter feed or facebook page last night, to no avail.

    But I also hope no one has to climb the tower in this wind! Be careful! Thank you.

    1. Dana Sion says:

      WCVB 5, is operating on a back up lower power transmitter from recent reports

      1. Fred C says:

        I haven’t been able to get WCVB for a long time. Fortunately I can get 40 in Springfield for all the other programming. Funny, 22 which is the CBS station in Springfield is weak to failure lately. I guess Air Broadcast is about to become history. Today TV, tomorrow Radio. Tough when you live in a town that has no cable or reliable DSL or FIOS.

    2. Dana Sion says:

      I wish the brave soles climbing the tower in the windy conditions the best . My high power antenna at my home was professionally installed by people who also install and repair these large broadcast towers so I have nothing but the highest of respect for them and the dangerous work they perform.

      1. Fred C says:

        That would be brave souls, cheerfully. All too frequently the television /radio neglects fiber optic transmission, . Western Massachusetts is like a third world country when it comes to high speed internet and Television. Yep, I should move and stop complaining. Anny Suggestions other than Afghanistan?

      2. Dana Sion says:

        Sorry for the typo.

  29. Tom N. says:

    I agree with Fred C. above — the digital TV conversion has been a disaster, and I live less than 10 miles from your transmitter. I can tell how strong the wind is blowing by how often my picture breaks up. Obviously no one really cares about us older folks and other who choose not to pay for dozens of cable channels that we’re not going to watch anyway.

  30. Tom says:

    This is the first time that a transmitter problem was given a priority high enough to warrant a press release. I think this happens more than you realize. The only channels I’m receiving right now are .channel 2, 7, 7.2 and 25. That means the only thing on worth watching this afternoon is Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe on “This Network”. MMM! I guess all is not lost.

  31. Jim LaSalle says:

    Thanks for the news informing us the problem is not our TVs. All three tv’s had the same problem so I was looking at my connections and antenna as the problem. Not having a cable bill helps keep me off government handouts.

  32. Rickajho says:

    Hey! It’s now after 04:30 p.m. Monday and guess what STILL isn’t working? Isn’t about time we talked to the FCC? It’s not like this isn’t the 20th time this has happened since the conversion to DTV. But this one sure looks like it’s going to be the longest.

    So sorry the station views this as a problem for “only seven percent” of their viewers. I wonder how their advertisers feel about only getting 93% of what they paid for?

    Really annoyed.

  33. Bob Larkin says:

    Thanks for the update, I too thought it might be my antenna. Luckily I can get 12 in Providence on the North Shore. I do miss Mellisa Mack. Can you give updates on BZ Radio. or have I missed them?

  34. a fan says:

    Here it is, 5:15 p.m. and there’s been no update since the 10:32 a.m. technical difficulties statement.
    Can’t someone tell us what’s going on??

  35. Curtis says:

    Gee, this seems like news to me. I’m surprised that they don’t provide some updates or ‘breaking news’ on their own website.

  36. Dana Sion says:

    WBZ’s office stated when called ” we have a problem….but are not sure when it will be fixed ” WGBH PBS 44 was able to offer info more clearly.

  37. Will says:

    Come on….. At a time when an event that means nothing to most of us can happen half way around the world and we All know about it, If we want to or not, Due to all this social media stuff But a Major Media blackout occurs and leaves all of us Guessing for this Long??? There is something VERY Wrong with this.
    I screwed with everything I could think of, Needlessly thinking it was our Equipment last night and this morning.
    . My 80 Year old Farther Climbed up on his Roof thinking his antenna had a Loose connection. Until I was able to tell him this Monday afternoon,

    (After drilling pages deep on Google to find the Problem.) About what was going on..
    This outage should have been at or near the Top story on every News broadcast in the region. and on the MAIN page of the effected stations web Pages.
    It is getting increasingly more difficult to believe in Professionalism in anything anymore

    As to the Jokes on using an Antenna for TV. YA! True HD TV with No Crappy cable company compression of signal quality, And NO Cable Bill. For just the cost of a Good outdoor antenna . What don’t you understand about that.
    I took a vacation last year for what my friend pays for a year of cable TV.
    Nobody used to pay for TV until so many of you Drank the Cool aid of paying for it.
    Nothing makes me drop my head more than when the news is doing a story on people hit by very hard times but a Paid cable TV station is playing in the background on their TV. Cant buy food but still Paying for Cable.

  38. Dana Sion says:

    The link below is to a more current report of the situation, people have climbed the tower only to need parts to connect the backup trans line. Hopefully its just the line and not worse that could take much longer.


  39. Missmitz says:

    I also lost WBZ yesterday too and couldn’t believe that they didn’t acknowledge the situation until early today. I too use an anntena and notice the effect of the problem on the other stations. Thankfully the Good Wife was a repeat :)

    Hope it is back on line soon.

  40. Kelly says:

    I’m in Newfoundland Canada and I do hope the issue is resolved very soon. I missed some of my favourite shows last night and it looks like I’ll miss them tonight as well. Don’t enjoy watching video on-line.

  41. ken L says:

    Finally some news!! since it affected stations on both TVs and various station frequencies I didn’t think it was my antenna. OH well free way beats the cable trash fee

  42. peter says:

    We missed you guys, hope everything back like before.

  43. Larry S says:

    Back a few years before so many people used cable/sattelite if they were OTA it would be an enormous deal because all revenue would stop. Now i’m sure they don’t care so much. I’m sure the elimination of the requirement for staff FCC broadcast engineers (by Reagan in response to broadcasters’ whining that having engineers cost too much) has led to the reduced maintinance that resulted in this.

  44. Julie says:

    Please keep this site updated so we know when we can watch the big bang theory again. Thanks!

  45. 2loose says:

    Please…take your time in repairing the glitch. I’m certainly getting familiar with the programming on the stations still broadcasting. I could get in the habit!

  46. 1stackmack says:

    since were talking local TV.l’m on cable so this outage isn’t effecting me.can one of the local channels make a candlepin bowling show please.the weekend morning news is nothing more than filler.it used i to be a weekend tradition to have the sunday globe spread out over the floor with a dozen donuts and a bowling show on.it would be perfect on tv38.there is rumors of something going on on wbin,which is the old wnds in nh in the fall.but its still a rumor.

  47. Ben says:

    Thank you for posting an announcement on your site. We were pretty certain all our equipment was working, and your announcement prevented us from going ape-crazy on TIVO, Vizio, and Phillips (our antenna.)

  48. Judith says:

    Ever since digital TV started, I have had to adjust my rabbit ears every time a car goes by or a plane flies overhead. That’s what I thought the problem was Sunday night–but it was on channel 4 and all four channel 44s. (Does the problem have something to do with the number 4?) Channel 5 is also not coming in very well. Since it was still this way on Monday, I rescanned the stations–4 and the 44s didn’t even scan in! Now I am glad to find information online, and I will have to rescan once you’re fixed. Telling us to watch our favorite shows online is pointless. Do you really think that someone without cable TV is likely to have high-speed Internet? Guess again!

    1. Larry S says:

      “Do you really think that someone without cable TV is likely to have high-speed Internet?”

      Wouldn’t you think that would be obvious to TV people?
      Same mentality as “If you have a rotary phone push 3.”

      1. Tony C. says:

        Yes Larry. Smart people don’t pay to watch TV. They get an OTA signal and supplement with high speed internet streaming to their TV using another device. Get with it.

    2. Fred C says:

      The problem with all technical innovation is, was it worth the effort?
      I am too old to care or wait for digital tv/radio to be perfected. Mu real problem is with the fact that chrystal radio is obsolete along with Judge Judy

    3. a fan says:

      I have high-speed internet, but no cable. These things cost money, and I see no point in shelling out lots of money for cable stations I won’t watch.

      Man; I’m already feeling NCIS withdrawal. *cries*

  49. Allan Evelyn says:

    I live close by in Dover and prefer the off-air signal quality vs. the tiling I get on cable, so when the Master’s went off last night I was not aware of the problem until I put on Channel 4-1 for the news tonight. Shame on you for not posting the reason for the outage earlier. I will assume for now that you don’t care about the 30% or so of the population who watch you over the air…you should care MORE about them because they have fewer choices and I know many who are disconecting from cable because they feel they don’t really need it except for sports which are more available over the internet (except for the dame Red Sox).

  50. Bob says:

    I believe the reason this is taking so long is that they think that only 2% of their viewers use over the air reception. You can bet that if all of their viewership was over the air that this problem would get much more attention!

  51. James Brinton says:

    WBZ-TV has gone down and taken the broadcast channels of WSBK-TV, and all four WGBX-44 channels with it. All five stations share the same broadcast facility in Needham, MA.
    WBZ’s broadcast service has been growing worse since last Fall, and they and the FCC were notified of this on several occasions. Photographs of their unwatchable signal were sent to WBZ and CBS.
    WBZ denied that there were any problems–apparently the engineering staff seems to watch a cable feed rather than their off-air signal.
    The fact that they have finally gone down completely, apparently taking several other stations with them hints of either an unwillingness to admit to a problem, unreliable equipment, or inadequate maintenance. Nor can the station say it had no warning that problems were brewing. I warned them myself.

  52. jimmo531 says:

    For those with antenna-only television reception, but who also have Internet service, or even for those with cable/satellite service when network TV programming is missed–

    Many CBS and other networks’ TV programs are uploaded as streaming files to the CBS (and respective) website after midnight (if not sooner) on the night when the programs aired in prime time.

    But, in addition, one may watch many network television programs on Hulu.com, simply by surfing through the TV menus either by genre, network, or title of the series.

    There is also a great little site called “TV Links,” which allow one to even download recent network TV programs, so that one may watch series’ at one’s own convenience, on one’s computer or by copying to DVD discs.

    For missed WSBK/TV38 syndicated programming, I suggest looking up which episodes were missed and see if the episodes are available on Hulu.com or perhaps even on You Tube. Hulu does have a large amount of past episodes of TV series, as does You Tube.

    Of course, if one is familiar with torrents file-sharing programs, one may download just about any TV series ever produced. Network TV producers may frown upon this method. But, at least for the time being, this is also an option to obtain TV programming.

  53. Nashua, NH says:

    I think you will find that you have a larger OTA audience than you think. Hopefully you’ll be back up soon.

  54. Tyler says:

    Yet another antenna-only watcher here in southern NH. Cable TV is a giant waste of money — especially since the DTV OTA signal is far superior. Looking forward to getting the CBS signal back. Good luck diagnosing and fixing the issue.

  55. larryboston says:

    It is amazing that more than 24 hours after the stations’ signals failed, they still don’t have clear assessment for the problem. Perhaps WBZ should hire a qualified engineer or two.

  56. Tony C. says:

    Agreed. Seven percent of a million plus viewers is a lot of angry viewers. I’m in my mid 50s and I don’t recall anything like this happening before. It appears that WBZ does not care about their OTA viewers. If they did, they would have put a notice on their site on Sunday night. Many people are dumping cable to take advantage of OTA HD DTV and supplement with online streaming. I think the FCC should investigate. This should not happen and/or there should be a backup plan. More than 24 hous later it’s still out.

  57. deusest says:

    I remember hearing “WBZ and WBZA Hotel Kimball Springfield AM and FM”

  58. larryboston says:

    This Paul Pabis, the Director of Broadcast Operations & Engineering, can’t even read a calendar. The CBS Monday line up is NOT AVAILABLE at CBS.com, they have nothing more recent than reruns of show that aired THREE WEEKS AGO.
    Maybe Pablo should pass around whatever he’s smoking, then nobody will care a hoot more than he does.

  59. Mackey says:

    THat explains TV4 & Ch44, however, I haven’t been able to get TV38 since the conversion to HD when everyone had to get converter boxes and even with an HD tv still can’t get 38! And it makes me wonder….

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