By Dan O'Keefe, OnMilwaukee intern   Published Oct 17, 2019 at 11:31 AM

If you watch the major TV networks, you have no doubt seen advertisements telling you to "plan to rescan" on Oct. 18. If you have cable or a satellite service, you're in the clear: You will still receive your favorite channels without having to change anything. If you get your TV signal through an antenna, however, you're going to need to rescan your channels.

What's happening?

On Friday, Oct. 18, WTMJ, WISN, CBS 58 and FOX 6 are all moving to new frequencies on the broadcast spectrum. By law, all stations will have to transition to new frequencies by the end of 2020. 

Why is this happening?

The FCC is planning to open up new frequencies for wireless companies, who will use the old airwaves to bring 5G data speeds to cell phones. Without the broadcast signal transition, this next evolution in wireless data would not be possible.

What should I do?

If you have cable or satellite, you don't need to do anything. If you use a digital broadcast antenna to get over the air (OTA) broadcast signals, however, here's what you need to do: On Friday, Oct. 18, turn on your television, go into the menu and find the option called either "Scan" or "Autotune." It may have a different label depending on which brand you have, but those are the two most common names. Select the option, and the process will begin. Within a few short minutes, you will be back to your regularly scheduled programs.

I can't find the rescan option on my TV; what do I do?

Click here to find the specific instructions for your brand of television. You'll be able to find the answers to many other questions about rescanning on that website as well.

Remember to rescan your broadcast signal on Friday, Oct. 18, otherwise you won't be able to get some of your favorite shows, like "This Is Us." Speaking of "This Is Us," have you read our most recent episode recap?