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I am frequently contacted by people who believe their local transmitter may have developed a fault.

If you are having a problem with tv or radio reception and believe that your local transmitter may be at fault you should report the matter to the broadcaster concerned, unless you are receiving your signals via a cable system, in which case you shoould contact your cable operator.

Before you do, you should do your utmost to ensure that the problem is not with your own set-up!

Double-check the following:

  • If you are watching digital television and are having reception problems you should first switch off your set top box (or integrated digital tv) and unplug it from the mains for 10-15 seconds before reconnecting and restarting it. This reboots the decoder and can often cure problems such as picture freezing, poor sound/picture synchronisation or loss of interactive services.

  • Check that there is no fault with your own aerial system. Aerials and downleads don't last for ever. Strange things can happen, for example, when water gets into your aerial connection or into the downlead itself. Heavy snowfall or ice on the aerial can also do surprising things to reception.

  • Don't forget the obvious - look up at your aerial and make sure it's still where it's supposed to be!

  • Thunderstorms can cause aerial amplifiers to stop working, often resulting in a complete loss of signal

  • Check with your neighbours to see if their reception is also affected.

  • If you live in a block of flats and receive your tv signals from a communal aerial system consider the possibility that it may have lost its power or gone faulty. Have the lights in the stairways gone off, for example?)

  • In fine, clear weather atmospheric conditions can temporarily affect tv and radio reception, particularly during Spring and Autumn. With analogue tv this can cause severe patterning on the picture. Digital terrestrial tv can also be disrupted.

  • Believe it or not trees can affect tv reception so if your reception deteririorates in the Spring check to see if your tv aerial or satellite dish can see any trees with fresh leaf growth. Experience has shown that what happened last year is not neccesarily a guide to what will happen the following year.


Once you have carried out all the obvious checks and are as sure as you can be that there is a transmission fault you should to contact the relevant broadcaster...


The best way of contacting the BBC about reception or transmission issues is to ring 03700 100123 (ideally during office hours) or else contact them via their web site

Tel: 0844 8814150

Email | Web site

Duty Office
Gas Street
B1 2JT

Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries: 020 7306 8333

Web site

Viewer Enquiries Office
Channel Four Television
124 Horseferry Road

S4C Viewers' Hotline:
0370 600 4141

or you can contact them via their web site:
English | Welsh

Web site



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