WETM-TV

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WETM-TV
Wetmlogo.png
Elmira/Corning, New York
United States
Branding WETM 18 (general)
WETM 18 News (newscasts)
WETM 2 (on DT2)
Slogan Coverage You Can Count On
Channels Digital: 18 (UHF)
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
Subchannels 18.1 NBC
18.2 Independent
Affiliations NBC
Owner Nexstar Broadcasting Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
First air date September 10, 1956
Call letters' meaning Elmira (city) and Times Mirror (former owner)
Sister station(s) WSYR-TV, WWTI,
WIVT, WBGH-CA,
WROC-TV, WUTR,
WFXV, WPNY-LP,
WFFF-TV, WVNY
Former callsigns WSYE-TV (1956-1980)
Former channel number(s) 18 (UHF analog, 1956-2009)
2 (VHF digital, 2004-2009)
Former affiliations UPN (on DT2, 2004-2006)
Transmitter power 45 kW
Height 376 m
Class DT
Facility ID 60653
Transmitter coordinates 42°6′22″N 76°52′17″W / 42.10611°N 76.87139°W / 42.10611; -76.87139
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website mytwintiers.com

WETM-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Central and Western Twin Tiers of Southern Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Licensed to Elmira, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 18 from a transmitter on Hawley Hill in Big Flats. The station can also be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 3 and in HD on digital channel 1203. Owned by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, WETM has studios on East Water Street in downtown Elmira. Syndicated programming on this station includes Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and The Dr. Oz Show among others.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
18.1 1080i 16:9 WETM-DT Main WETM-TV programming / NBC
18.2 480i 4:3 WETM-2 WETM-DT2

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

It became the first station in Elmira to broadcast a high definition feed in 2005 with the launch of a digital signal on VHF channel 2. WETM-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 18, at 12:01 a.m. 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 relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 2 to UHF channel 18.[2]

The station's secondary feed has its roots in W30AA, a translator of PBS WSKG-TV in Binghamton. That station closed down the translator in 2003 after concluding the expenses required to operate W30AA were not justified by its limited viewership base. [3] WSKG subsequently sold the W30AA license to Clear Channel Communications (then-owner of WETM) which brought it back on-air in September 2004 as UPN affiliate WTTX-LP identified on-air as "UPN 30". [4] With the September 2006 merger of UPN and The WB to form The CW, WTTX competed to become the area's affiliate. Ultimately, this went to cable-only WB 100+ station "WBE" which was operated by ABC affiliate WENY-TV.

WTTX was dealt another blow when WSKG launched full-time satellite WSKA on the channel 30 allotment forcing Clear Channel to shut down the low-powered station. WTTX's programming was moved to WETM-DT2 which became an Independent after The CW launched on September 18, 2006. WETM-DT2 won a New York State Broadcasters Association Award for its coverage of high school sports in 2006, 2008, and 2010. The station airs local sports such as Elmira Jackals hockey and New York Yankees baseball.

History[edit]

The station signed-on September 10, 1956 as WSYE-TV. It was owned by Newhouse Communications as a semi-satellite of NBC affiliate WSYR-TV (now WSTM-TV) in Syracuse. It is Elmira's oldest surviving station behind WTVE which launched a few years earlier but went dark after Hurricane Hazel blew through the Elmira area in 1954 and took out its tower. Originating early on from WSYE's original studios on Hawley Hill was a ladies informational program called The Dana Near Show. In 1980, WSYE and WSYR owner Newhouse Communications sold the stations to the Times Mirror Company which changed the call letters to WSTM-TV and WETM-TV respectively.

Over the next several years, Times Mirror cut the last ties between the two and later sold this station to Smith Broadcasting in 1986. Under Smith's ownership, a reversal of the station's origins took place with the 1996 launch of a Class A semi-satellite in Binghamton, WBGH-CA. Set up in the wake of established NBC affiliate WICZ-TV defecting to Fox, WBGH eventually split-off except for simulcasting WETM's newscasts. This station became the first outlet in the market with an internet presence starting in 1998. In 2000, Smith Broadcasting entered into a management agreement with The Ackerley Group to operate WETM.

Clear Channel Communications inherited the management agreement when it purchased the assets of Ackerley in late-2001. In 2004, Smith Broadcasting sold WETM outright to Clear Channel after the death of Smith Broadcasting founder Robert Smith. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Providence Equity Partners. [5]

Newport announced on July 19, 2012 that it would sell twelve of its television stations (including WETM) to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group. [6] The sale was finalized on December 3, 2012. On July 26, the station was knocked off-the-air by widespread power outages caused by a confirmed tornado that struck downtown Elmira during the afternoon. By the next day around mid-morning, WETM had a feed restored to Time Warner Cable. [7] [8]

News operation[edit]

News open.

WETM has traditionally been a ratings stronghold in the Central Twin Tiers area. This is because the news department at rival WENY is quite small compared with WETM. In addition, WENY does not provide any newscasts in several traditional timeslots (such as a midday broadcast during the week, weeknights at 5, and weekends news). There is however, the market's only local news offering weeknights at 5:30 seen on WENY-DT2. WETM does not produce a newscast then unlike most NBC affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone.

While serving as a semi-satellite of WSTM, WETM produced separate local newscasts seen weeknights at 6 and 11 from its original Hawley Hill studios. There were also weekday morning news and weather cut-ins (airing at :25 and :55 past the hour) during Today from 7 until 9. The 2004 launch of WETM-DT2/WTTX-LP introduced the area's first prime time broadcast at 10 which can be seen for thirty minutes on weeknights. WETM 18 News at 10 currently competes with a ten minute news and weather update seen on Fox affiliate WYDC (which is taped in advance). WETM-DT2 also simulcasts the entire weekday morning show in addition to the weeknight newscasts at 5 and 6 from the main channel.

On June 5, 2009, WIVT and WBGH in Binghamton announced there would be a consolidation of news operations with WETM after Newport Television made across the board cuts. [9] [10] However, those two stations would continue to be locally operated and maintain engineer staff at their own studios. [11] WIVT and WBGH then began simulcasting WETM's newscasts with only regional weather coverage of the Eastern Twin Tiers and not much of a news focus. [12] A separate newscast, specifically focusing on the Binghamton area, was brought back to those two stations on June 28, 2009 through a simulcast on both outlets. [13] This effort originally consisted of a 6 p.m. weeknight newscast entirely produced from WETM's studios. Eventually, production of the news and sports portions of the broadcast shifted back to Binghamton.

These segments are recorded earlier in the day (usually by 5 o'clock) and feature locally-based photojournalists. A repeat of the 6 o'clock newscast at 11 was subsequently added to the schedules of WIVT and WBGH. During the broadcast, WETM still provides a local weather forecast that is regional in nature (and also recorded in advance). Soon after adding the hyper-local Bighamton news, WIVT ceased simulcasting WETM's newscasts making the taped weeknight program the only local news shown on the station. However, WBGH continued to air WETM's weekend 11 p.m. newscast until at some point in late-2013.

Newscast titles[edit]

  • Channel 18 News (1980s-1990s)
  • 18 News (1990s-2005)
  • WETM 18 News (2005-present)

News music packages[edit]

  • "WNDU 1986 News Theme"
  • "News Station"
  • "News Source"
  • "The NBC Collection"

News team[edit]

Anchors

  • Zach Wheeler - weekday mornings and weekdays at noon
  • Jeff Stone - Chief Managing Editor; weeknights at 5, 6, and 11 also Twin Tiers Weekly host
  • Marissa Perlman - weeknights at 5, 6, 10, and 11; also Community Focus host
  • Erica Brecher - weekends; also reporter
  • Henry Dormann - Friends & Neighbors host

WETM 18 Storm Team

  • Chip Maxham (CBM Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights
  • Nicole Phillips - meteorologist; weekday mornings and weekdays at noon
  • Sean Bailey - meteorologist; weekends

Sports

  • Alex Cawley - Director; weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
  • Mario Sacco - weekends; also sports reporter
  • Chuck Brame - WETM 18 Sports Blitz host; also sports reporter

Reporters

  • Fred Ball - "Chef Fred" segment producer
  • Jim Reed - "Law Talk" segment producer
  • Jeremy Kahn - weekday mornings
  • Shannon Lins
  • Ben Amey

Notable former staff

References[edit]

External links[edit]