|Newark, New Jersey -
New York, New York
|Branding||UniMás Nueva York|
|Channels||Digital: 30 (UHF)
Virtual: 68 (PSIP)
68.2 WXTV-DT (Univision)
(Univision New York, LLC)
|Founded||September 29, 1974|
|Call letters' meaning||TeleFUTura|
|Sister station(s)||WADO, WXNY-FM, WXTV|
|Former callsigns||WBTB-TV (1974-1977)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
68 (UHF, 1974-2009)
53 (UHF, ?-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1974-1986 and 2001-2002)
|Transmitter power||200 kW|
|Height||429 m (1,407 ft)|
WFUT-DT, virtual channel 68, is a Spanish-language television station licensed to Newark, New Jersey, which serves as an affiliate of the UniMás network for the New York City market. Owned by the Univision Broadcast Group along with WXTV (channel 41), the stations share studios in Secaucus, New Jersey and transmitting facilities at the Empire State Building.
WFUT first signed on September 29, 1974 as WBTB-TV (named for original owners Blonder-Tongue Broadcasting; its calls before that were WWRO-TV as a construction permit, but the calls were changed by the first transmission, a test card with a drawing of a shade tree with the WBTB calls). Unfortunately, the station went dark in February 1975 because many cable systems refused to carry the signal and few viewers were either aware of, or simply did not care much for a UHF television station at the upper end of the dial.
However, in July 1975, financial adviser Eugene Inger and broadcaster Keith Houser teamed up to resurrect the station. The new WBTB-TV became the first "specialty station" as defined by the Federal Communications Commission with niche programming -- daily reports and updates from the New York financial exchanges. When the stock markets were closed, WBTB offered shows such as the Grand Ole Opry during late afternoons, a locally-produced variety series called The Uncle Floyd Show hosted by Floyd Vivino, and Christian programming hosted by Keith Houser at night. Saturdays featured ethnic programs from Bulgaria and Spain as well as religious programming during the day on Sunday and on weekday mornings before the stock market opened.
In 1976 Wometco Enterprises, the founding and longtime owners of WTVJ in Miami, purchased the station originally with the intent of making it more of a general entertainment station, and changed the station's callsign to WTVG in 1977. WTVG acquired the rights to some programs such as Lassie, Mister Ed, Green Acres, Speed Racer, among others. However, due to high program costs in the New York City market, and the presence of six existing commercial VHF stations -- including independents WNEW-TV, WOR-TV and WPIX -- WTVG was at too much of a disadvantage to grow into a major player.
In the fall of 1977 Wometco launched a nationwide, over-the-air subscription television service called Wometco Home Theater, and opted to use WTVG as its flagship station. In 1978, the station's calls were changed to WWHT to match the program service. Viewers who subscribed to WHT were given set-top converter boxes (created by, ironically, Blonder-Tongue) which descrambled the channel 68 signal.
By 1980, WWHT was running religious shows from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., WHT programming 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 8 p.m. through the overnight, more religious shows from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., general entertainment from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and business news from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. On weekends the station ran children's programming early Saturday morning followed by brokered programming from late morning to about 4 p.m. Sundays consisted of religious shows until 4 p.m. WHT began after 4 p.m. on weekends at that point. Also, at that point, WSNL-TV (channel 67, now WFTY-DT) in Smithtown, New York, was purchased by Wometco and began simulcasting WWHT.
In the spring of 1981, WWHT dropped afternoon programming and began running Financial News Network from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. In the spring of 1983, WHT began offering programming 24 hours a day. WWHT at this point only ran some religious programming from 7 to 10 a.m. weekdays and Sundays and WHT programming the rest of the time. FNN, brokered shows and the few entertainment shows were dropped, with the Uncle Floyd Show moving to the New Jersey Network. In 1984, a year after Wometco's founder Mitchell Wolfson died, WWHT/WSNL and the other Wometco stations were all sold to investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which also bought the Storer Broadcasting group of stations.
By 1985, WHT folded, due to huge losses as a result of the expansion of cable television; as a result, the station switched to music videos as U68, programmed by Steve Leeds (later at MTV). KKR was looking to sell all of its broadcast properties. The former Wometco stations were sold to separate buyers, with WTVJ eventually going to NBC. (The other Storer stations picked up by KKR went to Gillett Broadcasting.) However, in the fall of 1986, WWHT and WSNL were sold to the Home Shopping Network and became WHSE and WHSI, respectively, and aired the HSN format full-time for the next sixteen years. When Barry Diller bought the USA Network, the company was renamed USA Broadcasting.
By the late 1990s, HSN's broadcasting arm, known as USA Broadcasting, planned to switch their HSN stations to an independent format, with WHSE/WHSI slated to switch in 2000 as WORX "The Worx 68". Promos and station IDs were actually produced for the station, and classic series such as Taxi, I Love Lucy, Cheers, and many others were acquired for the station. Several sister stations did indeed switch in the couple years before. However, only weeks before the planned switch, USA put all their stations up for sale and soon after made plans to sell WHSE and the rest of the stations to The Walt Disney Company, which would have made it a sister station to ABC owned-and-operated WABC-TV, but Univision Communications outbid its competition in a close race. USA Broadcasting, as a result of the pending sale, scrapped these plans, meaning that WHSE would remain with Home Shopping for a few more months. In the fall of 2001, WHSE switched to AIN/UATV, networks generally used by low-powered stations. Once Univision completed the sale over a year after it was announced, the station became a charter Telefutura affiliate on January 14, 2002, re-called as WFUT-TV.
WFUT-DT broadcasts on digital channel 30.
|68.1||1080i||16:9||WFUT-DT||Main WFUT/UniMás programming|
- More information about Wometco Home Theater
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFUT