|City of license||Calumet|
|Branding||Upper Peninsula's CW 5
CW 5 News NOW
|Slogan||The U.P.'s First Primetime Newscast|
|Channels||Digital: 5 (VHF) &
WBUP-DT 10.2 (VHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||5.1 The CW (via CW+)
|Affiliations||The CW (2007-present)|
|Owner||Marks Radio Group
(Lake Superior Community Broadcasting Corporation)
|First air date||October 30, 1996|
|Call letters' meaning||Beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula|
|Sister station(s)||WBUP, WBKB-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 (VHF, 1996-2009)
28 W28BX Marquette
(UHF translator, 1997-2003)
|Former affiliations||ABC (1996-2007)|
|Transmitter power||6.4 kW
9 kW (WBUP-DT2)
230 m (WBUP-DT2)
|Public license information:||Profile
WBKP is the CW-affiliated television station for Michigan's Central Upper Peninsula and is licensed to Calumet. It broadcasts a standard definition digital signal on VHF channel 5 from a transmitter on Tolonen Hill in unincorporated Painesdale of Adams Township. The station can also be seen on Charter channel 2. Owned by the Marks Radio Group, WBKP is sister to ABC affiliate WBUP and the two stations share studios on Ash Street in Ishpeming of Ishpeming Township.
Although the station is technically a full-powered outlet, it receives all programming through The CW Plus which is a special national CW feed broadcasting on cable and/or over-the-air on a digital signal. WBKP can also be seen in standard definition on WBUP's second digital subchannel (VHF channel 10.2) from a transmitter in unincorporated Marquette County near Republic of Republic Township.
WBKP (standing for "Beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula") signed-on October 30, 1996 as the area's fourth television outlet from facilities in the historic Calumet and Hecla Bath House. The Monday Night Football game that night between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles was the first ABC program shown on the station. Before it launched, the Central Upper Peninsula could see the network from affiliations of WLUC-TV in Marquette, and before 1992 from WJMN-TV in Escanaba, a satellite of Green Bay, Wisconsin's WFRV-TV that was purchased by and switched to CBS in March 1992. This was originally seen through a secondary nature from that station's launch in 1956 until 1992, at which point ABC began to be carried as a primary affiliation. WLUC dropped its ABC affiliation in 1995.
WBKP was locally-owned by the Scanlan family as sister to Traverse City's ABC affiliate WGTU (and its full-time satellite WGTQ in Sault Ste. Marie) as well as CBS affiliate WBKB-TV in Alpena. At its sign-on, WBKP was the first station in the market to broadcast in stereo and remain on-the-air 24 hours a day.
In August 1997, in order to cover Marquette proper, it launched repeater W28BX on UHF channel 28. Since this low-powered over-the-air signal was very weak, it could only be picked up in that city and Negaunee. In September 2001, the station moved its studios to the Marquette Mall. However, four employees remained based at the Calumet facility, which began operating as a bureau. In the spring of 2003, WBKP replaced the low-powered repeater with full-time satellite WBUP in Ishpeming. This aired a full-powered analog signal on VHF channel 10 and covered a larger broadcasting radius. At this point, WBKP/WBUP took the on-air branding "ABC 5&10".
In January 2004, the Scanlan family sold WBKP/WBUP and WBKB to Lake Superior Community Broadcasting which is a company owned by Stephan Marks of Maryland. In July 2007, the two stations split with WBKP's main channel 5.1 becoming a CW affiliate as part of The CW Plus while WBUP remained with ABC. WBUP's signal is carried on subchannel 5.2 in the Keweenaw Peninsula, and carried through cable television (Charter channel 10 or in high definition on digital channel 780). WBKP itself cannot be seen over-the-air in Marquette proper so its carriage on WBUP-DT2 (subchannel 10.2) provides an additional broadcasting radius.
Since it was granted an original construction permit after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finalized the DTV allotment plan on April 21, 1997, WBKP did not receive a companion channel for a digital television station. Instead, around June 12, 2009 (which was the end of the digital television conversion period for full-service stations), WBKP turned-off its analog signal and turned on its digital signal though a "flash-cut". Its former analog signal could be received across Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ontario and the surrounding areas in Canada.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|5.1||480i||4:3||WBKP-DT||Upper Peninsula's CW 5|
|5.2||720p||16:9||WBUP-DT||Simulcast of WBUP|
In July 1997, WBKP established its first news department in an attempt to offer an alternative to WLUC. WLUC has led the Marquette market in the Nielsen ratings for news by a wide margin for its entire existence. (WJMN-TV operates as a semi-satellite of WFRV and does not currently have a news operation of its own; it only offers brief Upper Peninsula-specific news and weather updates taped in advance from WFRV's studios in Green Bay, Wisconsin. WJMN does not have much of a physical presence in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan besides an advertising sales office in Marquette.)
Seeking to fill a void in a market supposedly capable of supporting two television newsrooms, WBKP initially offered local newscasts on weeknights at 6 and 11 pm. After moving from Calumet to Marquette in September 2001, the station introduced a new set, a new graphics package and an updated logo. However, in March 2002, WBKP shut down its news operation due to low ratings and budget cuts. This was also due in part to the continual dominance of WLUC, which has always operated a much larger news department and maintained consistent viewership.
Shortly after Stephan Marks acquired WBKP/WBUP, a second attempt at airing newscasts was launched. This time, shows known as UGN News (with "UGN" meaning "Upper Great <Lakes> Network") were simulcasted with WBKB in Alpena. Likewise, the programs featured regionalized news and weather coverage from the entire Upper and Northern Lower Peninsulas. In 2006, UGN News was re-focused to the Upper Peninsula and only originated from WBKP/WBUP. After becoming a separate station and the primary producer of local news, WBUP re-branded its shows to ABC 10 News NOW. In December 2007, that outlet began producing the market's first prime-time newscast on WBKP. Known as CW 5 News NOW, this thirty-minute program can be seen weeknights at 10 pm.
On September 8, 2009, another prime time newscast airing at the same time on WLUC's Fox-affiliated second digital subchannel began to compete with it. As is the case with CW 5 News NOW, the second option of news in the time slot airs for a half-hour in length on weeknights. Eventually, WBUP established a Keweenaw Peninsula Bureau on East Montezuma Avenue in Houghton in partnership with the Houghton Community Broadcasting Corporation (owner of WOLV-FM 97.7, WHKB-FM 102.3, and WCCY-AM 1400). The newsroom offers stories from Baraga, Keweenaw, and Houghton Counties. It was the second bureau established by a Marquette-based station as WLUC also maintains a newsroom in Houghton on Shelden Avenue/U.S. 41.
- Rick Tarsitano - News Director and reporter
- Kevin Terpstra - reporter
- Jerry Taylor - Sports Director seen weeknights at 10
- Molly Smerika - news anchor seen weeknights at 10
- Mike Hoey - Senior News Reporter (also fill-in news and sports anchor)
- Sam Ali - Keweenaw Peninsula Bureau Manager
- Stacy Johnson - "Money Talks News" segment producer
- Andrea Jackson - The Daily Buzz
- Andy Campbell - The Daily Buzz
- Holly Hannula - The Daily Buzz
- Mitch English - The Daily Buzz
- Michelle Yarn - The Daily Buzz
- Kia Malone - The Daily Buzz