WFMZ-TV

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For the radio station in Hertford, North Carolina, see WFMZ (FM).
WFMZ-TV
Wfmzlogo.jpg
Allentown, Pennsylvania
United States
Branding 69 WFMZ-TV, WFMZ-TV, WFMZ-TV 69.1 (general)
69 News (newscasts)
Slogan Serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey
Channels Digital: 46 (UHF)
Virtual: 69 (PSIP)
Subchannels 69.1 WFMZ (Ind.)
69.2 AccuWX
69.3 Tuff TV
69.4 Retro TV
Translators 45 (UHF) Philadelphia
Affiliations Independent
Owner Maranatha Broadcasting Company, Inc.
First air date November 25, 1976
Call letters' meaning Family Minded Zone
Former channel number(s) Analog:
69 (UHF, 1976–2009)
Transmitter power 800 kW
Height 331 m
Facility ID 39884
Transmitter coordinates 40°33′52″N 75°26′24″W / 40.56444°N 75.44000°W / 40.56444; -75.44000
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wfmz.com

WFMZ-TV, virtual channel 69 (UHF digital channel 46), is an independent television station located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States. The station is owned by the locally-based Maranatha Broadcasting Company. WFMZ maintains studios and transmitter facilities located on South Mountain in Allentown. Syndicated programming seen on WFMZ includes Judge Judy, Steve Harvey, The Doctors, Dr. Phil, among others. The station also runs a simulcast of WFMZ-DT2 ("The 69 News AccuWeather Channel") during the overnight hours.

WFMZ mainly serves the Lehigh Valley region and Berks County, though it has significant cable coverage in much of the Philadelphia area; the Lehigh Valley is part of the Philadelphia television market. The station's over-the-air signal is moderately receivable in some counties in northwestern New Jersey that are part of the New York City market. WFMZ also provides local news coverage to and has cable carriage in Carbon, Monroe and southeastern Schuylkill Counties within the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton television market.

History[edit]

Prior to the debut of channel 69, an earlier television station that held the WFMZ callsign, which was also based in Allentown, operated on UHF channel 67 for approximately five months from December 1954 to April 1955. However, it never really thrived, in part because of the difficulties of UHF broadcasting at the time. UHF stations have never covered rugged terrain very well.

The current incarnation of WFMZ on UHF channel 69 first signed on the air on November 25, 1976, with its initial programming featuring a mix of religious and general entertainment programming, as well as two daily local newscasts.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
69.1 720p 16:9 WFMZ-HD Main WFMZ-TV programming
69.2 480i 4:3 WFMZ-AW The 69 News AccuWeather Channel
69.3 WFMZ Tuff TV
69.4 WFMZ-RT Retro TV

On January 24, 2014, Me-TV announced that it would move its Philadelphia-market affiliation from WFMZ-TV's 69.3 subchannel to KJWP (channel 2), which has carried Me-TV programming in addition to the WFMZ subchannel since November 2013.[2][3] In April 2014, Atlanta-based Tuff TV officially replaced Me-TV on the 69.3 subchannel.[4]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WFMZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 69, 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 46.[5] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 69, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

The 69 News AccuWeather Channel[edit]

WFMZ debuted The 69 News AccuWeather Channel on February 5, 2001.[6] It is broadcast on WFMZ's second digital subchannel and is available through digital cable within the Allentown area, broadcasting 24 hours a day, and according to WFMZ, was the first 24-hour local weather channel in the United States. Local weather updates are provided every 15 minutes from members of WFMZ's on-air weather staff, with national updates provided by AccuWeather airing at other times. The channel is also streamed live on the internet through the station's website. This channel is entirely locally produced, unlike The Local AccuWeather Channel associated with other AccuWeather-affiliated stations. The channel's format is similar to The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s.

Weekdays

  • Morning Outlook (5:00 a.m.-noon): Matt Broderick
  • Afternoon Outlook (noon-5:00 p.m.): Matt Broderick
  • Evening Outlook (5:00-11:00 p.m.): Ed Hanna (Mondays and Tuesdays), Amanda Cox (Wednesday-Fridays)
  • Overnight Outlook (11:00 p.m.-5:00 a.m.): Ed Hanna (Mondays and Tuesdays), Amanda Cox (Wednesday-Fridays)

Weekends

  • Morning Outlook (5:00 a.m.-noon): Mark Shanaberger
  • Afternoon Outlook (noon-5:00 p.m.): Mark Shanaberger
  • Evening Outlook (5:00-10:30 p.m.): Amanda Cox
  • Overnight Outlook (10:30 p.m.-5:00 a.m.): Amanda Cox

Local programming[edit]

News operation[edit]

WFMZ's former nightly 10 p.m. newscast title screen, used until October 2013.

WFMZ-TV presently broadcasts 39 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with seven hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the third highest local news output in the state of Pennsylvania in general, falling short of WTXF-TV's news output by three and a half hours. Although the station's newscasts primarily focus on Allentown and southeastern Pennsylvania, WFMZ's 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. newscasts on weeknights focus primarily on news stories in neighboring Berks County and its county seat of Reading; they are branded as 69 News Berks Edition. WFMZ was awarded two Regional Emmy Awards for "Best Newscast," respectively in 2004 and 2012.

The station's news department debuted with WFMZ itself on November 25, 1976 and originally featured two daily newscasts at 7 and 10 p.m. under the title Newspulse. The news programs would be retitled as Channel 69 News by 1987 until finally being shortened to 69 News in 1999. Those two newscasts eventually expanded to include additional local newscasts on weekday mornings, weekdays at noon and 5 p.m. and every night at 6 p.m., while the 7 p.m. newscast was dropped. In February 2003, the station debuted a half-hour Spanish-language nightly newscast at 11 p.m. – becoming one of the few English-language stations (if not the only one) to offer a news program in another language; an additional half-hour Spanish newscast at 8 p.m. debuted in 2007, but was canceled two years later, leaving the 11 p.m. edition as the only newscast on WFMZ that is produced in Spanish. In 2014, the Spanish newscast expanded to 6:30 p.m. on WFMZ-DT4 and WBPH-TV 60.

In 2005, WFMZ formed a broadcast partnership with Philadelphia's ABC owned-and-operated station WPVI-TV (channel 6) that allows the two stations to cooperate in newsgathering for local stories. The current set for WFMZ's newscasts debuted in April 2006. On May 1, 2008, WFMZ became the fourth television station in the Philadelphia market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. Until it expanded the program to 5 a.m. in 2012, WFMZ was the only news-producing television station in the Philadelphia market – and effectively the largest news-producing station in the United States by market size due to Allentown being part of the Philadelphia market – whose weekday morning newscast continued to maintain a post-5 a.m. timeslot (starting at 5:30 a.m.).

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]
  • Newspulse (1976–1987)
  • Channel 69 News (1987–1999)[7]
  • 69 News (1999–present)
Station slogans[edit]
  • "Your Local News Station" (1990s-1999)
  • "Your Life, Your World, Your News" (1999–present)
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News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[edit]
Anchors[8]
  • Perla López Baray - weeknights at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. on Edición en Español
  • Jaciel Cordoba - weekday mornings on 69 News Sunrise (5:00-9:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also "History Headlines" reporter
  • Wendy Davis - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.
  • John Derr - fill-in anchor
  • Melanie Falcon - Saturday mornings on 69 News Sunrise (7:00-9:00 a.m.); also weekday Sunrise reporter & Health Beat reporter
  • Karin Mallett - Sundays at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also "One Tank Trip" feature reporter
  • Eve Tannery - weekday mornings on 69 News Sunrise (5:00-9:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Jim Vaughn - Saturday mornings on 69 News Sunrise (7:00-9:00 a.m.)
  • Rob Vaughn - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.
Weather team[8]
  • Matt Broderick - meteorologist; weekday mornings on 69 News Sunrise (5:00-9:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Amanda Cox (member, AMS; member, NWA) - meteorologist; weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
  • Kathy Craine - weather anchor; weeknights at 6:00 p.m.
  • Ed Hanna (member, AMS; member, NWA) - chief meteorologist, weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.
  • Laurie LaMonica - meteorologist; fill-in
  • Mark Shanaberger (member, AMS) - meteorologist; Saturday mornings on 69 News Sunrise (7:00-9:00 a.m.); also weekday photographer
  • Zenddy Caicedo Tintle - weather anchor; weeknights at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. on Edición en Español
Sports team[8]
  • Troy Hein - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.
  • Dan Moscaritolo - sports anchor; weeknights at 5:30 p.m.; also sports reporter and photographer
  • Jim Vaughn - sports anchor; weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also weekday sports reporter
  • Roberto Vinces - sports anchor; weeknights at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. on Edición en Español
  • Dave Lesko - sports reporter, also chief sports photographer
Reporters[8]
  • John Craven - Saturday-Wednesday reporter
  • Rosa Duarte - weeknight 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. reporter
  • Rick Edwards - weekday morning and weeknight 5:00 p.m. traffic reporter
  • Jaccii Farris - senior reporter and docujournalist
  • Catherine Hawley - Wednesday-Sunday reporter
  • Ryan Hughes - Berks County reporter
  • Jennifer Joas - Berks County reporter
  • Liz Kilmer - Berks County reporter
  • Bo Koltnow - weekday afternoon and evening reporter
  • Will Lewis - Easton-Phillipsburg bureau reporter
  • Meghan Packer - weekday evening reporter
  • Dwayne Parker - Berks County and weeknight 11:00 p.m. reporter
  • Jamie Stover - weekday evening reporter
  • Nancy Werteen - special features reporter

Other locally-produced programming[edit]

The station also produces various local programs about business, sports and health related issues:

  • The American Law JournalThe American Law Journal debuted in 1990 and is hosted by attorney Christopher Naughton, who is joined by various attorneys who answer questions about law-related topics. The program features calls from viewers seeking free advice from any of the attorneys about the topic of the week.
  • Animal Doctor – This program, hosted by weeknight 6 p.m. weather anchor Kathy Craine, features veterinarians from around the region discussing various animal- and pet-related issues.
  • The Big Ticket – This program is a high school football highlight show that airs every Friday at 11 p.m. (in place of the Spanish-language Edición en Español newscast, which airs at 6:30 pm on WFMZ-DT4 instead) during the fall season. The Big Ticket features highlights from local games featuring Lehigh Valley and Berks County schools, along with interviews from players and coaches. It debuted in 1995 and is currently hosted by primary sports anchors Troy Hein and Jim Vaughn, with reports from sports reporter Dave Lesko and weeknight 5:30 p.m. sports anchor Dan Moscaritolo.
  • Business Matters – This discussion program, hosted by Tony Iannelli, features a panel of experts gathering to discuss various business issues.
  • The Freddy AwardsThe Freddy Awards, which debuted in 2003, are modeled after the Tony Awards ceremony awarding Broadway plays. A panel of evaluators view musical performances from participating high schools. The best are honored in a ceremony that is broadcast live on WFMZ each year. Ed Hanna and Shelley Brown host the ceremony from The State Theater in Easton.
  • Lehigh Sports Magazine – This sports program, which debuted in 1994 and airs during the fall season,[9] is currently hosted by Saturday morning anchor Jim Vaughn; it features interviews with Lehigh University coaches and players.
  • Talk With Your Doctor – The program debuted on January 17, 2000,[10] and is currently hosted by Doug Eberhart. Eberhart is joined by a panel of doctors from St. Luke's Hospital, who discuss various health-related issues and also features calls from viewers seeking medical advice.
  • The Peak – This program debuted on September 30, 2012,[11] and is hosted Ashley Russo and Mike Mittman. Each episode features the latest medical innovations, nutritious recipes, as well as interesting events happening in the area.

Out-of-market cable, satellite and over-the-air coverage[edit]

Iin New Jersey, WFMZ is carried on basic cable in Phillipsburg and Milford (which are located in the western part of the New York City market). WFMZ is carried on cable providers in Schuylkill County (Hazleton, Tamaqua, Pottsville, and surrounding areas). Carbon County, and Monroe County (all located in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market). In the northwestern part of the state, it is available on digital cable on Comcast's Port Murray system alongside CBS owned-and-operated station KYW-TV (channel 3), Fox O&O WTXF-TV (channel 29) and NBC O&O WCAU (channel 10). It is not carried on satellite in portions of the market lying within the New York City market. Over-the-air reception from its main transmitter begins to decrease past US Highway 206.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]