Fox 6 (on DT2)
|Channels||Digital: 40 (UHF)
Virtual: 40 (PSIP)
|Owner||Gormally Broadcasting, LLC (sale to Meredith Corporation pending)
(Gormally Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
|First air date||April 9, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||Guy Gannett Broadcasting
|Former callsigns||WHYN-TV (1953-1979)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
55 (UHF, 1953-1959)
40 (UHF, 1959-2008)
Home Shopping Network (overnights)
DT2: The Tube
|Transmitter power||460 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WGGB-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Licensed to Springfield, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 40 from a transmitter on Mount Tom in Holyoke. Locally-owned by Gormally Broadcasting, it has studios on Liberty Street in Springfield. Syndicated programming on WGGB includes The Insider, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Doctors, and The Rachael Ray Show among others.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|40.1||720p||16:9||ABC 40-HD||Main WGGB-TV programming / ABC|
|40.2||FOX 6-HD||WGGB-DT2 Fox / MyNetworkTV|
WGGB-DT2 first became active under Sinclair Broadcast Group ownership. The broadcast group signed a deal which added The Tube (a 24-hour digital music channel) to many of the company's stations including WGGB. As a result of lacking any advertising and incoming revenue source, The Tube shut down operations at the end of 2006.
Meanwhile, the market did not have a Fox affiliate of its own with Springfield being the largest television market in the United States to have this distinction. WTIC-TV in Hartford and even WFXT in Boston served as the default affiliate on cable. At one point, new Class A outlet WFXQ-CD had been rumored as attempting to affiliate with the network (hence the station's call letters). That station is owned as part of a duopoly with rival WWLP.
On March 31, 2008, WGGB announced it would launching the area's first locally-based Fox affiliate on its second digital subchannel. Almost immediately, WTIC had its cable channel location on Comcast systems taken by WGGB-DT2, and as a result, was moved to the digital tier on channel 292. Charter eventually followed suit as well placing WTIC on digital channel 261. When WGGB-DT2 signed-on for the second time, it also added MyNetworkTV as a secondary relation. Currently, programming from the Fox sister network is seen in a delayed manner from 12:35 until 2:35 early the next morning. There is no local branding and/or logo indicating the secondary MyNetworkTV affiliation status aside from network promotions.
WGGB-TV upgraded its over-the-air digital signal to allow the transmission of ABC network programming in high definition on October 15, 2004. The station discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 40, on December 1, 2008. It may have occurred as early as November 29 due to transmitter failure. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 55, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era UHF channel 40, on June 12, 2009. Channel 55's spectrum was reassigned for use by Qualcomm's MediaFLO system.
The station signed-on April 9, 1953 as WHYN-TV broadcasting an analog signal on UHF channel 55. It was the second television station to launch in the Springfield market debuting one month after NBC affiliate WWLP (channel 22). Founded by the owners of radio station WHYN (560 AM and 93.1 FM), the station originally operated as a primary CBS affiliate with a secondary affiliation with DuMont. During the late-1950s, it was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. WHYN lost the DuMont affiliation when the network folded in 1956; it later switched its affiliation to ABC in 1958 after Independent station WTIC-TV (now WFSB) in the nearby Hartford market switched to CBS and became that network's affiliate of record in Springfield. The Hartford station blocked several attempts by WGGB to switch from ABC back to CBS.
WHYN relocated its signal to UHF channel 40 in 1959. The station was purchased by Guy Gannett Broadcasting in 1979 which changed its call letters to WGGB-TV effective at the start of the following year. On February 13, 1994, a WGGB video crew taped a heated confrontation between Temple University head basketball coach John Chaney and University of Massachusetts Amherst head coach John Calipari at a post-game press conference, where at one point, Chaney had made a death threat against Calipari. The footage (which was watermarked with the station's logo and call letters) was picked up by ESPN and has since been shown thousands of times. The incident was ranked the fifth-biggest outburst in sports history by Fox Sports Net's The Best Damn Sports Show Period in 2006.
Most of Guy Gannett's television stations, including WGGB, were acquired by the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1998. On May 5, 2007, the station unveiled a redesigned website which included the addition of video news stories seen on the station's newscasts. In late-July 2007, Sinclair sold WGGB to locally-based Gormally Broadcasting for $21.2 million. The sale closed on November 2, resulting in WGGB being the only locally-owned television station in the market. In addition to WGGB, Charter systems offer fellow ABC affiliate WCVB-TV from Boston on channel 23 (Comcast does not offer such access).
On June 18, 2014, the Meredith Corporation (owner of WFSB in Hartford) announced that it would acquire WGGB creating a duopoly with low-powered CBS affiliate WSHM-LD. Although FCC broadcast ownership rules normally forbid same-market ownership of two of the four highest-rated television stations (based on monthly total-day ratings), which often constitute stations affiliated with the four major broadcast networks (the Springfield market has only three full-power television stations, too few to allow a duopoly in any normal circumstance), the deal is permissible under FCC rules which allow common ownership of full-power and low-power television stations (the respective class designations of WGGB and WSHM) in all markets.
WWLP has traditionally been the most watched station in the Pioneer Valley according to Nielsen ratings. However, there have been brief times when WGGB was on top and extended periods in which the two outlets were basically neck-and-neck with WWLP having a slight edge. Originally, its newscasts were known as NewsWatch 40. The station cut back financially under Sinclair ownership, and during that period, rumors of cancelling ABC 40 News or converting to the now-defunct News Central format sometimes spread.
It was one of several Sinclair-owned stations that did not participate in the controversial News Central hybrid news format; this centralized operation incorporated national news segments, local weather forecast segments, and some sports coverage based out of studios at Sinclair's corporate headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland that was supplemented by local content at most of Sinclair's in-house news departments. However, WGGB did air Sinclair's "The Point" (a one-minute conservative political commentary) that was also controversial and a requirement of all company stations with newscasts until the series was discontinued in December 2006.
In October 2005, WSHM entered into the local newscast competition after establishing a news department. Initially, that station did not compete on the same level as WGGB and WWLP since it only offered news weeknights at 6 and every evening at 11. However, its ratings grew substantially across the board during the May 2009 sweeps period to within decimal points of WGGB in several key demographics. In Fall 2006, WGGB rehired Ed Carroll to be Chief Meteorologist who had previously been at the station from 1989 until 1993 before moving to WBZ-TV in Boston. Until April 2007, it did not carry World News Now from ABC News in the early weekday morning hours choosing instead to air programming from the Home Shopping Network (HSN).
After becoming locally owned-and-operated, WGGB's news department underwent significant changes. Several prominent on-air personnel resigned or were laid-off. The station debuted a brand new set, graphics theme, and music package on April 24, 2008. In order to increase its presence in Springfield and fend of a challenge by WGGB, WSHM launched the area's first prime time newscast at 10 on August 18. The program aired in a commercial-free, face-paced format every night for twenty minutes on its cable-only 24-hour local weather channel and was steamed live on its website. This program was eventually dropped for an unknown reason. On September 8, WGGB-DT2 followed suit with the addition of a prime time show of its own. Known as Fox 6 News at 10, this half-hour newscast originally featured a separate graphics package and music theme from the main WGGB broadcasts. Eventually, it was expanded to weekends and became known as ABC 40 First on Fox.
On April 6, 2009, WGGB's weekday morning show became a full two-hour broadcast like most other ABC affiliates. WGGB-DT2 simulcasts this program then replays it at 7. The main station then added a half-hour to the newscast becoming Pioneer Valley's first station offering a weekday morning broadcast beginning at 4:30 (WGGB-DT2 simulcasts that half-hour as well). It shares resources with WCVB, NECN, and WFXT for news from Eastern Massachusetts. In return, WGGB does the same for western areas of the state. On September 14, 2011, WGGB officially became the first station in the Springfield market to upgrade local news production to high definition level (shows seen on WGGB-DT2 were included with the change). On September 15, 2014, WGGB's weekday noon newscast was expanded to an hour.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WGGB
- See http://www.radio-info.com/smf/index.php/topic,114971.0.html 3rd message.
- Application_id=1274076&Service=TV&Form_id=387&Facility_id=25682 "DTV TRANSITION STATUS REPORT". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956.
- Meredith Acquires WGGB in Springfield, TVSpy, June 18, 2014.