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WOOD-TV loses feed of NBC’s Detroit-Tampa Bay NFL game

The issue was blamed on a centralized transmission hub used by parent company Nexstar Media Group.

The issue was blamed on a centralized transmission hub used by parent company Nexstar Media Group.

A failure at a centralized broadcasting hub used by Nexstar Media Group caused tens of thousands of viewers in one Michigan community to lose access to NBC programming at the worst possible time.

On Sunday, Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD-TV (Channel 8) was in the middle of airing the highly-anticipated NFC Divisional playoff game between its local team, the Detroit Lions, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when its programming feed suddenly went black.

The disruption was caused by a loss of power at a centralized transmission hub operated by Nexstar in Indianapolis, which provides network programming feeds to local Nexstar-owned stations in the region.

A backup source of power also failed at the transmission hub, leaving WOOD-TV unable to pull in NBC’s programming feed from that source, the station’s meteorologist Blake Harms explained in a Facebook post on Sunday.

“We are the only Nexstar[-owned] NBC station in Michigan, so that’s why we were the only part of the state and the only channel affected,” Harms said, adding that a version of the game distributed through Comcast’s streaming service Peacock was not affected because that feed comes directly from NBC.

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Harms said an engineer on duty at WOOD-TV figured out the issue wasn’t caused by any equipment at the station, and was able to pull in an NBC programming feed relayed by a Nexstar-owned station in Florida.

“Thank goodness for that move from our engineers, because our in-house signal was not restored until late in the fourth quarter,” Harms said.

Officials at Nexstar are looking into the matter, and working with WOOD-TV “to ensure this never happens again,” Harms affirmed.

“The timing on this issue quite literally could not have been worse in West Michigan, and we realize that,” Harms added. “Above all, we’re sorry it happened.”

Some viewers said they were able to switch to the local Telemundo affiliate, which offered a Spanish-language simulcast of the game. Like NBC, Telemundo is owned by Comcast.

The Detroit Lions beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-31, and advance to the NFC Championship game, which will air next Sunday on Fox.


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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