WBMM

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WBMM
Wbmm cw.png

Wncf 2010.png
Tuskegee/Montgomery, Alabama
United States
Branding .1: Montgomery's CW
.2: ABC Montgomery
Slogan TV Now
Channels Digital: 22 (UHF) &
WNCF-DT 32.2 (UHF)
Virtual: 22 (PSIP)
Subchannels .1 720p 16:9 WBMM-CW
.2 480i 16:9 WBMM-NN
.3 480i 16:9 WBMM-WX
Affiliations .1 The CW
Secondary: ASN[1]
.2 ABC
.3 weather radar
Owner Bahakel Communications
(Alabama Broadcasting Partners)
First air date September 17, 1999 (1999-09-17)
Call letters' meaning We Belong in MontgoMery
Sister station(s) WNCF, WAKA
Former channel number(s) Analog:
22 (UHF, 2002-2009)
Digital:
24 (UHF, 2002-2009)
Former affiliations Pax (1999-2005)
Daystar (2005-2006)
Transmitter power 65 kW
50 kW (WNCF-DT2)
Height 341 m
545 m (WNCF-DT2)
Class DT
Facility ID 68427
72307 (WNCF-DT2)
Transmitter coordinates 32°4′4.1″N 85°56′39.7″W / 32.067806°N 85.944361°W / 32.067806; -85.944361
32°8′30.3″N 86°44′42.2″W / 32.141750°N 86.745056°W / 32.141750; -86.745056 (WNCF-DT2)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS

WBMM is the CW-affiliated television station for Central Alabama's River Region that is licensed to Tuskegee. It broadcasts a 720p high definition digital signal on UHF channel 22 from a transmitter in unincorporated southwestern Bullock County along the Pike County line. Owned by Bahakel Communications, WBMM is sister to CBS affiliate WAKA and ABC affiliate WNCF. However, the latter is actually owned by SagamoreHill Broadcasting but operated by Bahakel through a shared services agreement.

All three television outlets share studios on Harrison Road in North Montgomery. Even though it is a full-powered outlet, WBMM is part of the national CW Plus programming service. The station has a website typical of CW Plus affiliates with some custom, localized content. The station can also be seen over-the-air in standard definition on WNCF's second digital subchannel. This can be seen on UHF channel 31.2 (or virtual channel 32.2 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Gordonville.

History[edit]

The station signed-on September 17, 1999 as a Pax affiliate airing an analog signal on UHF channel 22. WBMM became an affiliate of Daystar for a year in 2005 before eventually joining The CW (through The CW Plus) in 2006. The latter network switch was the result of The WB and UPN shutting down and merging to form The CW. Prior to The CW's formation, UPN was seen through Troy's WRJM-TV (now WIYC), while The WB aired via cable-only "WBMY," operated by NBC affiliate WSFA as part of The WB 100+ Station Group.

It was announced on July 7, 2011 that Bahakel Communications would purchase WBMM from SagamoreHill Broadcasting for $3.5 million. The acquiring company then immediately entered into a shared services agreement with SagamoreHill which resulted in WNCF beginning to be operated by WAKA.

The official transfer of WBMM from SagamoreHill to Bahakel was completed on October 31 after which Bahakel obtained a waiver of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) duopoly regulations that requires a market to be left with eight unique television station owners after a duopoly is formed. SagamoreHill had previously acquired WBMM in 2006 with an FCC "failing station" waiver because the Montgomery/Selma market has only eight commercially licensed full-power stations and the formation of any co-owned duopoly would have left the market with only seven unique station owners. Under the current SSA arrangement with Bahakel, SagamoreHill retains responsibility for WNCF's programming, personnel, and finances while the former company provides that station with sales, administrative, production, and technical services.

Despite being the senior partner in the proposed agreement, WAKA will vacate its current facilities in South Central Montgomery and consolidate into WNCF's studios at some point in 2012. This is most likely due to the fact (and the irony) that Bahakel has always owned WNCF's facility and has been leasing it to SagamoreHill. Bahakel owned and operated WNCF (as WKAB-TV) until 1985 when it purchased the more desirable WAKA. FCC rules at the time prevented dual television station ownership in a market so the WKAB license was sold but the building and grounds retained. In addition, WNCF's property offers more space for a proposed expansion as compared with the land surrounding WAKA's smaller studios.[2][3][4]

The station's .1 subchannel was an initial affiliate of the American Sports Network with its first broadcast on August 30, 2014.[1]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[5]
22.1 720p 16:9 WBMM-CW Montgomery's CW/American Sports Network[1]
22.2 480i WBMM-NN Heartland
22.3 WBMM-WX Doppler weather radar

News operation[edit]

In January 2007, WBMM entered into a news share agreement with WAKA allowing the big three affiliate to produce the market's first prime time newscast on this station. Known as CW News at Nine, the weeknight-only broadcast could be seen for thirty minutes and originated from WAKA's studios featuring most of the CBS affiliate's on-air personnel. WBMM would begin to have competition to its outsourced broadcast on January 7, 2008 after Fox affiliate WCOV-TV entered into a news share arrangement with NBC outlet WSFA. That agreement resulted in Montgomery's second prime time newscast at 9 initially seen only on weeknights for 35 minutes. A weekend half-hour edition began in Summer 2008.

On April 16, 2010, WNCF expanded its partnership with the Independent News Network (INN) and launched a half-hour weeknight newscasts at 9 on WBMM airing in high definition. As a result, this station terminated its outsourcing arrangement with WAKA. Still known by the same title, the show began to be produced at INN's studios on Tremont Avenue in Davenport, Iowa. The news anchor, meteorologist, and sports anchor were provided by the centralized news operation with other personnel filling-in as needed. WBMM maintained two locally-based reporters at its studios who contributed Montgomery-specific coverage to the newscast that was taped in advance and then fed to the station through satellite relay.

After WCOV's contract with WSFA expired at the end of 2010, that station entered into another news outsourcing agreement with WAKA to produce a nightly prime time broadcast. On January 1, 2011, WSFA transitioned its prime-time show to its second digital subchannel (then affiliated with the Retro Television Network) resulting in three options for newscasts at 9. A content sharing arrangement would eventually be set up between WBMM and then sister station WLTZ in Columbus, Georgia to share resources when covering East-Central Alabama since Montgomery and Columbus have coverage areas bordering each other. As a result, additional reporters locally employed by WLTZ were seen during CW News at Nine. After the change in ownership to Bahakel, personnel from the NBC station in Columbus were dropped. At some point in Summer 2012, WBMM and WNCF terminated their newscast outsourcing agreement with the Independent News Network in preparation for local news production duties to be assumed by WAKA.

WNCF and WAKA officially debuted their combined local news operation on February 2, 2013. Based out of what was formerly WNCF's studios on Harrison Road, a newly expanded high definition-ready facility features state-of-the-art production capabilities which has allowed WAKA to finally offer local news in high definition. Despite merging with WNCF, WAKA continues to produce a nightly, half-hour prime time newscast at 9 on Fox affiliate WCOV through a pre-existing news share arrangement. As a result, there are no local newscasts currently airing on WBMM. On February 4, this station began airing a reformatted version of WNCF's longtime weekday morning show Good Morning Montgomery (hosted by Alva Lambert, Johnny Green, and Joe Hagler). However, it now airs weekday afternoons from 1 until 2 on WBMM and is currently known on-air as Good Afternoon Montgomery. The program is similar to a radio talk show with guests interacting with the hosts and opportunities for viewers to call-in. Like all CW Plus outlets in the Central Time Zone, WBMM airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 6 until 8.

References[edit]

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