WCAU

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For broadcast stations that previously used the WCAU call sign, see WCAU (disambiguation).
WCAU
WCAU-TV logo 2012.png
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Branding NBC 10 (general)
NBC 10 News (newscasts)
Slogan Count on it.
Channels Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
Subchannels 10.1 NBC
10.2 Cozi TV
Affiliations NBC (O&O)
Owner NBCUniversal
(NBC Telemundo License LLC)
Founded September 1946
First air date May 23, 1948; 66 years ago (1948-05-23)
Call letters' meaning derived from former sister radio station WCAU (now WPHT)
Sister station(s) WWSI
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
Former channel number(s) Analog:
10 (VHF, 1948–2009)
Digital:
67 (UHF, 2005–2009)
Former affiliations CBS (1948–1995)
Transmitter power 700 kW
Height 400.1 m (1,313 ft)
Facility ID 63153
Transmitter coordinates 40°2′30″N 75°14′11″W / 40.04167°N 75.23639°W / 40.04167; -75.23639
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website nbc10.com

WCAU, channel 10, is an owned-and-operated television station of the NBC Television Network, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. WCAU is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations group, and operates as part of a television duopoly with Atlantic City, New Jersey-licensed WWSI (channel 62), an affiliate of the Spanish-language Telemundo network; both networks are owned by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of the Philadelphia-based media firm Comcast. WCAU maintains studios in Bala Cynwyd on City Avenue at the border between Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, and its transmitter is based in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.

History[edit]

As a CBS station[edit]

In 1946, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin secured a construction permit for channel 10,[1] naming its proposed station WPEN-TV after the newspaper's radio stations, WPEN (950 AM, now WKDN) and WPEN-FM (98.1 FM, later WCAU-FM and now WOGL). The picture changed dramatically in 1947, when The Philadelphia Record folded. The Bulletin inherited the Record's "goodwill", along with the rights to buy WCAU radio (1210 AM, now WPHT) and the original WCAU-FM (102.9 FM) from their longtime owners, brothers Ike and Leon Levy. The Bulletin sold the less-powerful WPEN and WCAU-FM, with the latter being renamed WPEN-FM (it is now WMGK). The Bulletin kept its FM station, renaming it WCAU-FM to match its new AM sister. The newspaper also kept its construction permit for channel 10, renaming it WCAU-TV.

WCAU-TV went on the air on May 23, 1948 as Philadelphia's third television station.[2] It secured an affiliation with CBS through the influence of the Levy brothers, who continued to work for the newspaper as consultants. WCAU radio was one of CBS's original 16 affiliates when the network premiered in 1927. A year later, the Levy brothers persuaded their brother-in-law, William S. Paley, to buy the struggling network. The Levy brothers were shareholders and directors at CBS for many years. Due to this long relationship, channel 10 signed on as CBS's third television affiliate.

Original studio at 1622 Chestnut Street.

In the late 1950s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley into the Philadelphia market. The Bulletin realized that channel 10's original tower, atop the PSFS Building in Center City, was inadequate for this larger viewing area. In 1957, WCAU-TV moved to a new 1,200-foot (370 m) tower in Roxborough, which added most of Delaware, the Jersey Shore and the Lehigh Valley to its city-grade coverage.

WCAU-TV ident from the early 1970s. The "10" survived with only minor changes until 1995.

Also in 1957, the Bulletin formed a limited partnership with the Megargee family, owner of CBS affiliate WGBI-TV (channel 22) in Scranton. As part of the deal, channel 22's call letters were changed to WDAU-TV (it is now WYOU). Soon afterward, the FCC ruled that the Bulletin could not keep both stations due to a large signal overlap in the Lehigh Valley. Although the Bulletin had only bought a minority stake in channel 22, the FCC ruled that this stake was so large that the two stations were effectively a duopoly. The Bulletin could not afford to get a waiver to keep both stations, so it opted to keep the smaller WDAU-TV and sell the WCAU stations to CBS. CBS had to seek a waiver to buy the WCAU stations, as the signals of the WCAU stations overlapped with those of WCBS-AM-FM and WCBS-TV in New York City (in the case of the radio outlets, both were clear-channel stations; the FCC at the time usually did not allow common ownership of clear-channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage areas). The FCC readily granted the waiver, and CBS took control in 1958.

From 1965 to 1986, WCAU-TV was the only network-owned station in Philadelphia. As such, it was the only station in the city that did not heavily or moderately preempt network programming. It ran an hour of Saturday morning cartoons during the 7 a.m. hour on a one-week delay to run the hour-long locally produced children's program, The Gene London Show, which ended in 1977. Beginning in 1978, WCAU-TV began preempting an hour of Sunday morning cartoon reruns and in the beginning of 1979 the station preempted an hour of the Saturday morning cartoons. By 1980, the station was running the entire Saturday morning cartoon lineup again and by early in 1981, the Sunday morning hour of children's programs was brought back.

Switch from CBS to NBC[edit]

WCAU's "boxed 10" logo was adopted upon its new affiliation with NBC in September 1995, and its use lasted until February 2012. Former O&O WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island also adopted the logo following its purchase by NBC.

In 1994, CBS entered into a long-term affiliation agreement with Westinghouse (Group W) Broadcasting, owners of Philadelphia's longtime NBC affiliate, KYW-TV (channel 3). Westinghouse converted three of its stations, KYW-TV among them, into CBS affiliates. CBS was reluctant to include KYW-TV in the deal, since it had been a very distant third in the Philadelphia ratings for more than a decade. In contrast, WCAU was a solid runner-up to ABC-owned station WPVI-TV (channel 6). Ultimately, CBS decided to affiliate with channel 3 and sell channel 10, ending a 47-year relationship (including 37 years of ownership) with the station.

NBC and New World Communications then emerged as the leading bidders for WCAU.[3] Viacom/Paramount sold WTXF to Fox and bought WGBS.

As an NBC-owned station[edit]

New World and NBC then resumed their bidding war for WCAU. However, while KYW-TV's sister stations switched to CBS in January 1995, the swap was delayed in Philadelphia when CBS discovered that an outright sale of channel 10 would have forced it to pay massive taxes on the proceeds from the deal.[4] To solve this problem, CBS, NBC and Group W entered into a complex ownership/affiliation deal in the summer of 1995. NBC traded KCNC-TV in Denver and KUTV in Salt Lake City to CBS in return for WCAU, which for legal reasons would be an even trade. CBS then traded controlling interest in KCNC and KUTV to Group W in return for a minority stake in KYW-TV. As compensation for the loss of stations, NBC and CBS traded broadcasting facilities in Miami. The deal officially took effect on September 10, 1995. Group W's parent, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, purchased CBS two months later, making CBS's Philadelphia radio stations sisters to WCAU-AM/WPHT's longtime rival, KYW radio.

NBC had wanted to own a station in Philadelphia for many years. It briefly succeeded in 1956, when it extorted Westinghouse into exchanging channel 3 (then called WPTZ-TV) and KYW radio for NBC's Cleveland stations, WTAM-AM-FM and WNBK television. However, after Westinghouse complained, the FCC and the U.S. Justice Department nullified the swap in June 1965. In purchasing channel 10 in 1958, CBS cited NBC's then-ownership of WRCV-TV (as KYW was called) and WRCA-TV in New York City in its successful effort to obtain an FCC waiver. Although the radio stations had dropped the WCAU calls some years before, NBC dropped the -TV suffix from channel 10's callsign soon after it assumed control.

In January 2011, the Philadelphia-based cable and media company Comcast acquired a 51% majority stake in WCAU's parent company, known prior to the acquisition as NBC Universal, which effectively makes the station locally owned.[5] Comcast bought the other 49% in early 2013.

In March 2013, NBCUniversal announced that it would buy Telemundo affiliate WWSI from ZGS Communications for $20 million, giving WCAU a duopoly partner, as is with several other NBC O&Os.[6] The sale was completed on June 2 of that year.[7]

Studios[edit]

WCAU Studios
WCAU is located in Pennsylvania
WCAU
Location 1618-22 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 39°57′19″N 75°10′27″W / 39.95528°N 75.17417°W / 39.95528; -75.17417Coordinates: 39°57′19″N 75°10′27″W / 39.95528°N 75.17417°W / 39.95528; -75.17417
Built 1931
Architect Harry Sternfeld; Multiple
Architectural style Modern Movement, Art Deco
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 83002281[8]
Added to NRHP January 27, 1983

Channel 10 was originally located at 1622 Chestnut Street in Center City along with its sister radio stations (the building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, now houses The Art Institute). In 1952, the WCAU stations moved to a new facility in the Main Line suburb of Bala Cynwyd. The studio, located on Monument Road at City Line Avenue, was a state-of-the-art television center, and the first building in America constructed specifically for broadcasting. Channel 10 is still headquartered there.

On January 16, 2014, it was announced that WCAU will move to a new building at 1800 Arch St., which will be built by Comcast, which owns NBC. This 59-story building will become the tallest building in Philadelphia, and will be the tallest building in the United States, outside of New York and Chicago. [9]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[10]
10.1 1080i 16:9 WCAU-DT Main WCAU programming / NBC[11]
10.2 480i COZI-TV Cozi TV[12]

On October 25, 2010, WCAU introduced its own version of WNBC's New York Nonstop channel, NBC Philadelphia Nonstop. This subchannel featured various news and entertainment programs, and a locally-produced newscast at 7 p.m. On December 20, 2012, digital subchannel 10.2 became an affiliate of Cozi TV, which replaced the Nonstop network.

WCAU also has a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 10.1, labelled "NBC10", broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s.[13][14]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WCAU shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 67, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to UHF channel 34, because ABC affiliate WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania continued broadcasting on channel 10 after ceasing channel 27 analog transmission that day.[15][16] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continues to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 10.1

News operation[edit]

WCAU presently broadcasts 37½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and two hours on Sundays). News has been produced at WCAU from when the station went on the air on in 1948. Charles Shaw, who had worked with Edward R. Murrow as a CBS correspondent in London during World War II, was the station's news director from 1948 until he left the station in the early 1960s. John Facenda, who later gained fame as the voice of NFL Films, was the station's main anchorman from shortly after it signed on until 1973. At the time he retired, he had been a main anchor longer than anyone in Philadelphia; he has since been passed by WPVI's Jim Gardner.

Soon after joining the station, Facenda sold the Bulletin on the idea of a local 11 p.m. newscast – the first in the country. It aired for the first time on September 8. In 1950, WCAU became the first station with a four-man news team. The 6 p.m. newscast was anchored by Facenda, with Philadelphia radio legend Phil Sheridan handling weather, Jack Whitaker on sports and Ed McMahon as announcer. In 1965, channel 10 introduced the "Big News" format from Los Angeles sister station KNXT (now KCBS-TV).

The station's news operation was the ratings leader in Philadelphia for most of the time from the late 1940s until the 1960s, when it was surpassed by KYW-TV's Eyewitness News. The station then remained a strong second until the 1970s, when WPVI-TV's Action News bumped channel 10 down to third place. WCAU struggled through the late 1970s while most of its CBS sister stations dominated the ratings, but has since recovered and has been a solid runner-up to longtime leader WPVI for over a quarter century. WCAU managed to pass WPVI in the 5 p.m. time slot for a time in the early 1980s with its original Live at 5, anchored by Larry Kane and Deborah Knapp (now at KENS-TV in San Antonio). In 2001, WCAU made national news when its 11 p.m. newscast (anchored by Larry Mendte and Renee Chenault-Fattah) knocked WPVI from the top spot in the local news ratings for the first time in decades. Since 2003, WCAU has had to fend off a spirited challenge from a resurgent KYW-TV for second place in the Philadelphia ratings; Channel 3's resurgence was fueled in part by luring Mendte away from channel 10.

WCAU used music based on "Channel 2 News", written by Shelton Leigh Palmer for WBBM-TV in Chicago (the 'de facto' official music for CBS' O&O stations) and variations on it from 1982 until the 11 p.m. newscast on September 9, 1995 hours before the switch to NBC. It used the original 1975 version from 1982 to 1987, a synthesized version produced by a local composer during the 1987-88 season and the "Palmer News Package" from 1988 to 1995. KYW-TV has used variants on this theme in recent years.

Shortly after CBS agreed to sell the station to NBC, WCAU dropped its longtime moniker of Channel 10 News in favor of NewsCenter 10. After the sale closed, NBC changed the newscast name to News 10, it became NBC 10 News in 2000. On December 10, 2005, WCAU took over production of WPHL-TV (channel 17)'s nightly half-hour 10 p.m. newscast after that station shuttered its in-house news department and laid off its entire news and production staff; this new newscast was called WB 17 News at 10, Powered by NBC 10. On July 25, 2006, the program was renamed My PHL 17 News, Powered by NBC 10 to correspond with WPHL's then-pending switch to MyNetworkTV. This newscast competed with the 10 p.m. newscasts on WTXF (channel 29, which is produced in-house) and WPSG (channel 57, which is produced by KYW-TV). WPVI has since taken over production of WPHL's 10 p.m. newscast; on September 14, 2012, WCAU produced its last 10 p.m. newscast on WPHL-TV.

On November 13, 2008, Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media entered into an agreement to test a system that will allow Fox-owned stations and NBC-owned stations to pool their news resources ranging from shared video to any aerial video from a helicopter. WCAU and Fox owned-and-operated station WTXF were the first stations to undertake the plan (known as a "Local News Service" agreement) as an effective way to deal with the difficulties in costs in news operations.[17] WCAU later announced in September 2012, that it would be leaving the Local News Service agreement with WTXF and KYW-TV (which entered the agreement by 2010) and utilize its own helicopter; the new helicopter dubbed "Skyforce 10" debuted on February 25, 2013.

WCAU became the fourth and last English-language television station in the Philadelphia market to begin broadcasting its local news programming in high-definition on December 10, 2008, starting with its 4 p.m. newscast.[18] On September 12, 2011, WCAU expanded its weekday morning newscast to 4:30 a.m., along with the launch of a new midday newscast at 11 a.m., and the reduction of The 10! Show to a half-hour program. On December 6, 2011, the station announced a partnership with public broadcasting stations WHYY-FM-TV as part of a larger effort by NBCUniversal to partner with nonprofit news organizations following its acquisition by Comcast.[19] On September 15, 2012, The 10! Show ended its run after ten years. On September 17, 2012, WCAU's midday newscast expanded to one hour.[20]

Sports director Vai Sikahema may be the station's most recognizable current personality. A former Philadelphia Eagle, Sikahema is one of several former NFL stars who have gone on to become sports news anchors (other notable examples include Jim Hill of KCBS-TV Los Angeles and Len Dawson of KMBC-TV Kansas City). While Sikahema anchors the sportscasts on WCAU-TV weeknights, on-air personalities from Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia have anchored sports on weekends in recent years, owing to Comcast and NBC having become coowned since the current decade began.

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

On June 26, 1972, three news correspondents were killed in a helicopter crash in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they had been covering the flooding stemming from Hurricane Agnes. The victims were Del Vaughn of CBS News and Sid Brenner and Louis Clark of WCAU, and the pilot, Mike Sedio. The helicopter lost its rotor some three hundred feet above the Capital City Airport, crashed, and exploded on the runway.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Commercial video stations total 38." Broadcasting - Telecasting. October 7, 1946, pg. 39.
  2. ^ http://www.broadcastpioneers.com/5-23-48.html
  3. ^ "CBS, FOX may swap stations, paper says". Rocky Mountain News. July 26, 1994. Retrieved 2 April 2013. Closed access
  4. ^ "From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia". Retrieved 9/2/12. 
  5. ^ Vivendi Wraps Up Sale of NBC Universal Stake, Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2011
  6. ^ "NBCUniversal doubles in Philadelphia with Telemundo outlet". Radio & Television Business Report. March 21, 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Telemundo closes on purchase of WWSI; The addition of the full-power station in Philadelphia gives NBCU's Hispanic group 16 stations.". TVNewsCheck. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  9. ^ WCAU-TV webpage about new Comcast building Retrieved 2014-01-17
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WCAU
  11. ^ "NBC website". NBC.com. NBCUniversal Media, LLC. 
  12. ^ "COZI TV website". CoziTV.com. NBCUniversal, Inc. 
  13. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=atscmph
  14. ^ Mobile DTV Signal Map from the National Association of Broadcasters
  15. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  16. ^ FCC DTV status report for WCAU
  17. ^ http://www.philly.com//philly/business/homepage/20081114_Fox__NBC_to_pool_news_video_in_Phila__area.html
  18. ^ http://www.tvpredictions.com/localhdtoday121008.htm
  19. ^ "Quick Takes: NBC, nonprofits to team". Los Angeles Times. December 6, 2011. Retrieved Decenver 10, 2011. 
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ "Four Die in 'Copter Crash, June 27, 1972". The Morning Herald, Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "WCAU-TV NEWS ALUMNI". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  23. ^ Beh, Asha (30 January 2010). "Former Eagles Star Brookshier Dies at 78". WCAU. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  24. ^ Klein, Michael (7 October 2008). "Lori Delgado resigns from NBC10". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Feuding Philly Anchors Making, Not Breaking, News". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  26. ^ Gross, Dan (29 July 2008). "Veteran broadcaster Edie Huggins dies at 72". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^ "Don Lemon". CNN. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  29. ^ Stamm, Dan (20 July 2010). "Longtime Voice of NBC10 Dies". WCAU. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  30. ^ Blumenthal, Jeff (14 September 2009). "Business commentator Fred Sherman dies at 85". Philadelphia Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  31. ^ "Mike Strug". Temple University. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  32. ^ [3]

External links[edit]