WISH-TV

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WISH-TV
WISH-TV logo.png
Indianapolis, Indiana
United States
Branding WISH-TV (general)
24-Hour News 8 (newscasts)
Slogan Today, Tomorrow, Always. (primary)
Indiana's Own (secondary)
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Subchannels 8.1 The CW
8.2 local weather
8.3 weather radar
Translators WIIH-CD 17 (UHF) Indianapolis
Affiliations The CW
Owner Media General
(Indiana Broadcasting, LLC)
First air date July 1, 1954; 60 years ago (1954-07-01)
Call letters' meaning Pronounced as wish
(as in making a wish)
Sister station(s) WNDY-TV
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1954–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
ABC (1954–1956)
CBS (1956–2014)
Secondary:
DuMont (1954–1955)
NBC (1954–1956)
Transmitter power 22.8 kW (main signal)
15 kW (fill-in translator)
Height 284 m (main signal)
190.5 m (fill-in translator)
Facility ID 39269
Transmitter coordinates 39°53′25.0″N 86°12′20.0″W / 39.890278°N 86.205556°W / 39.890278; -86.205556
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wishtv.com

WISH-TV, virtual channel 8 (VHF digital channel 9), is a CW-affiliated television station located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by Media General, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WNDY-TV (channel 23). The two stations share studio facilities located on North Meridian Street (at the north end of the Television Row section) on the near north side of Indianapolis; WISH-TV maintains transmitter facilities located on Walnut Drive in the Augusta section of the city's northwest side (near Meridian Hills).

WISH-TV's studios also serve as a master control hub and house some internal operations for Media General's fifteen other owned and/or operated television stations in the Midwestern U.S. (WANE-TV/Fort Wayne, WLFI-TV/Lafayette, WTHI-TV/Terre Haute, WOOD-TV-WOTV-WXSP-CD/Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, WDTN-WBDT/Dayton, WKBN-TV-WYTV-WYFX-LD/Youngstown) and two former LIN stations now owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group in the process of being re-hubbed to SBG (WLUK-TV-WCWF/Green Bay), in addition to handling traffic, accounting services and some programming responsibilities for the Media General stations previously owned by WISH's longtime former owner LIN Media.

On cable, WISH-TV is available on Bright House Networks channel 3, Comcast Xfinity channel 7 and AT&T U-verse channel 8 in standard definition and Xfinity digital channel 708, and Bright House Networks and AT&T U-verse channel 1008 in high definition.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The station first signed on the air at 6:00 p.m. on July 1, 1954. Founded by C. Bruce McConnell – owner of radio station WISH-AM (1310, now WTLC) – it was the third television station to sign on in the Indianapolis market, after WFBM-TV (channel 6, now WRTV), which signed on in May 1949 and Bloomington-licensed WTTV (channel 10, now on channel 4), which signed on six months later in November 1949. WISH-TV originally operated as a primary ABC affiliate with a secondary affiliation with the DuMont Television Network. The station also carried several CBS and NBC programs that WFBM-TV and WTTV respectively declined to carry. WISH-TV originally transmitted its signal from a tower it shared with WISH radio; the following year, the station constructed a 1,000 feet (300 m) transmitter tower, which allowed the station to improve its signal coverage in the market.

As a CBS affiliate[edit]

In 1956, McConnell sold the station to the Indiana Broadcasting Company, the broadcasting subsidiary of J.H. Whitney and Company and owners of WANE-TV in Fort Wayne. The new owners persuaded CBS to move its programming to channel 8, taking that affiliation from WFBM. Conversely that same year, WISH-TV lost the ABC affiliation to WTTV (this resulted in WLBC-TV (channel 49, allocation now occupied by PBS member station WIPB) in Muncie serving as the de facto ABC affiliate for the northern part of the market as WTTV's signal did not extend very far north outside of Indianapolis's northern suburbs as its transmitter was located farther south than the market's other stations). Also in 1956, WISH became one of the first television stations in the United States to install a videotape machine.

WISH-TV's studio facility on Meridian Street.

Indiana Broadcasting became the Corinthian Broadcasting Corporation in 1957, with WISH-TV serving as the company's flagship station. Corinthian merged with Dun & Bradstreet in 1971. Dun & Bradstreet sold its entire broadcasting unit to the Belo Corporation in February 1984. However, the merger put Belo two stations over the television ownership limits that the Federal Communications Commission had in effect at the time. As a result, the company sold WISH-TV and WANE to LIN Broadcasting (the predecessor of LIN Media) the following month in March 1984. LIN was headquartered in Indianapolis for many years, with WISH-TV serving as that company's flagship television property; the company eventually moved its headquarters to Providence, Rhode Island in the late 1990s, resulting in WPRI-TV replacing WISH as LIN's flagship station. In 1995, the station relocated its transmitter to a new tower built in the Augusta section of Indianapolis.

In 2002, WISH-TV began handling the master control operations of WANE-TV and fellow sister station WLFI in Lafayette. The hub expanded to include the Buffalo duopoly of WIVB-TV and WNLO in October, with other LIN-owned stations gradually being added to the WISH hub by the summer of 2003.[1]

LIN later acquired low-power independent station W11BV (channel 11, now WIIH-CD channel 17 and a fill-in translator for WISH-TV) in 1992. On February 10, 2005, the Paramount Stations Group subsidiary of Viacom sold UPN affiliate WNDY-TV (channel 23, now a MyNetworkTV affiliate) as well as its Columbus sister station WWHO to LIN TV for $85 million, creating a duopoly with WISH-TV when the sale was finalized that spring.[2] On May 18, 2007, the LIN TV Corporation announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in the sale of the company.[3]

On September 15, 2008, LIN and Time Warner Cable entered into an impasse during negotiations to renew retransmission consent deals for some of the group's television stations. Bright House Networks, one of two major cable providers serving Indianapolis, negotiates retransmission consent contracts through Time Warner Cable. LIN TV requested compensation for carriage of its stations in a manner similar to the deals that cable networks have with pay television providers, as other broadcast station owners began to seek compensation from cable and satellite providers for their programming. The carriage agreement with Bright House expired on October 2.[4] By 12:35 a.m. on October 3, LIN's television stations were replaced on Time Warner Cable systems in markets where the group owns stations and where either provider operates systems with programming from other cable channels. LIN's stations (with the exception of WIIH-CA) were restored 23 days later on October 26 through a new carriage agreement reached between Time Warner Cable and LIN TV.

On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would buy LIN Media in a $1.6 billion deal, described as a "merger."[5][6] The merger was completed on December 19.[7]

Affiliation switch with WTTV[edit]

On August 11, 2014, Tribune Broadcasting announced that CW affiliate WTTV would become the market's CBS affiliate on January 1, 2015, as part of an agreement that also renewed the CBS affiliations on Tribune-owned stations in five other markets.[8] The deal, which resulted in the end of WISH-TV's 58-year relationship with CBS, was reportedly struck as a result of WISH station management balking at the network's demands for reverse retransmission consent compensation from its affiliates.[9] This marked the second time in Indianapolis television history that WTTV took an affiliation from WISH, the first being ABC in 1956.

As the other major broadcast networks had existing affiliation deals with other area stations (WRTV's ABC affiliation was up for renewal around this time, though the E. W. Scripps Company reached a deal to allow ten of its stations to remain with that network the day prior to the announcement[10]), WISH announced on December 11, 2014 that it would become an independent station upon losing CBS, filling timeslots previously occupied by network shows with additional newscasts and an expanded inventory of syndicated talk shows, newsmagazines and sitcoms,[11] including some relocated from sister station WNDY-TV to make up for the station's loss of CBS' daytime and late-night programs.[12]

However, on December 22, Tribune announced that it would sell the market's CW affiliation to Media General (which happened three days after the completion of the company's merger with LIN); as a result, WISH became a CW affiliate, in effect switching affiliations with WTTV and preventing a situation in which The CW, which WTTV originally planned on carrying over its second digital subchannel (which had previously been affiliated with This TV prior to December 2014), would be relegated to the lower digital subchannel tier on local cable systems and probable subjection to non-carriage by satellite providers for months.[13] The loss of WISH's CBS affiliation also affected the Media General-LIN merger, with the purchase price being lowered by $110 million in stock, though no other factors were affected.[14]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[15]
8.1 1080i 16:9 WISH-HD Main WISH-TV programming / The CW
8.2 480i 4:3 LWS Local Weather Station (LWS)
8.3 Radar Forecast 8 VIPIR HD

WISH-TV operates a 24-hour local weather service on its second digital subchannel, branded as LWS (or "Local Weather Station"); similar to the now-defunct SkyTrak Weather Network service previously operated by WTHR (channel 13) and its sister station WALV-CD (channel 46), the service also began to be simulcast on low-power sister station WIIH-CA on January 1, 2009, after that station lost its Univision affiliation; WIIH-CA dropped the service when it was converted into a fill-in translator of WISH-TV in January 2011. Channel 8 carries a half-hour simulcast of the LWS service on its primary channel on Friday nights/early Saturday mornings. The station also carries a 24-hour feed of its Doppler radar system, "Forecast 8 VIPIR HD," on its third digital subchannel.

On August 7, 2009, WISH-TV began operating a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 8.1, which originally was only accessible via an app for BlackBerry devices.[16]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WISH-TV signed on its digital signal on VHF channel 9 on December 17, 1998; two days later on December 19, the station broadcast its first program in high definition when it broadcast an NFL game telecast in the format. The station shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 9.[17][18] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.

On January 29, 2010, LIN TV filed an application to the FCC to operate a digital fill-in translator on UHF channel 17,[19] an allotment that was previously occupied by the analog signal of Class A sister station WIIH-CA; the FCC granted a construction permit to build the translator's transmitter facilities on June 16.[20] The translator, which shares the same transmitter facility as WISH's main signal in the Augusta section of Indianapolis and began operating on January 13, 2011, serves parts of Indianapolis that lost signal coverage after the 2009 digital transition. The translator is mapped as virtual channel 8, which results in PSIP channel duplication while tuning sequentially on digital tuners in areas that are able to receive both signals, as the translator simulcasts WISH-TV's main channel and its two digital subchannels.

Programming[edit]

Syndicated programs broadcast by WISH-TV includes Steve Harvey, Rachael Ray, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Family Feud and The Real.[12] It is one of the fewest stations to carry both Steve Harvey hosted shows. The station also carries the The Bill Cunningham Show from The CW at 1:00 p.m. weekdays, two hours earlier than the network-recommended time of 3:00 p.m., which has been the common scheduling among CW stations with syndicated talk shows that pull stronger ratings and/or have full-fledged news operations; it also delays the network's E/I block One Magnificent Morning by three hours (to 10:00 a.m.) due to its Saturday edition of its Daybreak newscast. The station also produces the hour-long talk and lifestyle program Indy Style, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 a.m. For many years, WISH-TV had carried Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, acquiring the local rights to the programs from NBC affiliate WTHR in Fall 1988; both game shows moved back to WTHR in 2002.

As a CBS affiliate, WISH-TV cleared the majority of the CBS network schedule in its later years, with exception of the Saturday edition of CBS This Morning, the weekend editions of the CBS Evening News and the second half-hour of Face the Nation, which aired instead on WNDY. WNDY also aired other CBS programs channel 8 was unable to air due to extended breaking news or severe weather coverage, or special programming; such an example occurred from 2009 to 2011, when WNDY aired the US Open while WISH-TV opted to carry its regular programming schedule before syndicators made a Tuesday start to the syndicated season near-universal starting in 2012.

Sports programming[edit]

In its later years as a CBS affiliate, WISH-TV aired most Indianapolis Colts regular season games as well as any playoff games involving the team through CBS, via the network's broadcast rights to the NFL's American Football Conference. The move of Colts games to WISH-TV when CBS acquired the rights to the AFC in 1998 coincided with the debut of rookie quarterback Peyton Manning, who spearheaded the Colts offense through 2010, when he signed with the Denver Broncos (because of Manning's popularity in the area, WISH-TV generally aired Broncos games if no Colts game was scheduled to air on CBS). WISH-TV has also carried two Super Bowl games featuring the Colts that were televised by CBS: 2007's Super Bowl XLI (in which the Colts beat the Chicago Bears) and 2010's Super Bowl XLIV (in which the team lost to the New Orleans Saints). In addition, the station aired Colts-related programs during the NFL season: Countdown to Kickoff, Colts UpClose, and Huddle Up Indy.

As a result of WISH swapping its CBS affiliation with CW affiliate WTTV in January 2015, the station's status as the unofficial "home" station of the Colts ended after the 2014 NFL regular season. Consequently, it will no longer air any Colts related progamming after the 2014-15 season (except for Countdown to Kickoff and possibly Huddle Up Indy), nor will WISH and WNDY be affiliated with the Colts. Colts games began to air on WTTV on January 4, when the Colts defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the NFL playoffs. The coach's show and "Colts Up Close" will move to WTTV and its sister Fox affiliate WXIN (channel 59), for the 2015-16 NFL season.[21]

WISH was also previously the home of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, to which CBS picked up the exclusive rights for the 1981-82 season. Due to Indiana's status as a college basketball hotbed and local teams such as Indiana and Purdue being longtime fixtures in the tournament, NCAA Tournament games on WISH had long been among the highest-rated programs in the market during tournament season. This also ended when WISH swapped affiliations with WTTV, which now (through CBS) holds the local television rights to the NCAA Tournament.

News operation[edit]

Former 24-Hour News 8 open.
Station ID for WISH-DT2, the Local Weather Station.

WISH-TV presently broadcasts 54 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with nine hours on weekdays and 4½ hours on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces two half-hour sports highlight programs on Sunday evenings: The Sports Locker, which airs at 10:30 p.m. and Indy Sports Tonight, which airs at 11:30 p.m.

In 1963, WISH-TV became the first television station in the market to provide extensive live coverage of a major local news event, when it covered the deadly explosion at the Fairgrounds Coliseum. WISH-TV's newscasts were the highest-rated in the Indianapolis market from the mid-1980s until WTHR overtook it for the #1 position in 2002. The station's ratings success was largely attributed to the longevity of most of its news staff, some of whom have been at the station for over 20 years. Mike Ahern was the station's main weeknight news anchor as well as the de facto face of its newsroom for more than 30 years (the longest tenure of anyone in Indianapolis television history); he joined channel 8 as a reporter in 1967 and was promoted to lead anchor in 1974, where he remained until his retirement from the anchor chair on December 1, 2004 (Ahern later hosted sister station WNDY's now-cancelled interview program One on One). Debby Knox joined Ahern as co-anchor on the weeknight newscasts in 1980 and remained with the station until she retired on November 26, 2013. Stan Wood served as the station's main weather forecaster from the 1960s until 1991, while Patty Spitler served as anchor of the noon newscast and entertainment reporter from 1982 to 2004. Lee Giles, who left the station in 2004, was one of the longest-tenured news directors in local broadcasting.

For a time during the 1990s, WISH-TV advertised that "more people in Central Indiana get their local news from 24-Hour News 8 than from any other source" at the close of many of its newscasts and in promos for its newscasts. The station's local newscasts are currently at a distant second place behind WTHR in most timeslots, except during the 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. period on weeknights, when both stations maintain a much tighter viewership margin. However, due to the recent strength of CBS' primetime lineup (as well as the fact its late news serves the lead-in for Indianapolis native David Letterman's late night talk show on the network, the Late Show), WISH has recently regained the lead in the 11:00 p.m. slot. The station's "I-Team 8" investigative reports have earned the station numerous journalism awards, including Regional Emmy, Peabody[22] and Edward R. Murrow Awards (the station was awarded the latter in 1998 and 2006). In 2008, the Indiana Associated Press Broadcast Association honored WISH-TV with the "Outstanding News Operation" and "Outstanding Weather Operation" designations.

In 1990, WISH-TV implemented the "24-Hour News Source" concept that was originally developed that year by WEWS-TV in Cleveland; the format, which began spreading to other television stations nationwide around that timeframe, involves the production of 30-second news updates that air at or near the top of every hour during local commercial break inserts – even during primetime network and overnight programming – in addition to the station's long-form newscasts in regularly scheduled timeslots. The station continues to utilize the format to this day (which is reinforced in the branding that the station has used for its news programming off-and-on since 1990, 24-Hour News 8, and all but one of the varying news slogans it had used from 1990 to 2014), even as stations elsewhere had discontinued the hourly update format by the early 2000s. As of June 2014, WISH-TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan sister station WOOD-TV (which also brands its newscasts as 24-Hour News 8) and KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa are the only remaining U.S. television stations that still utilize the "24-Hour News Source" concept in some form.

For many years, the news themes that WISH-TV had commissioned have incorporated components (including the eight-note musical signature) from the song Back Home Again in Indiana; these include two custom packages by Stephen Arnold Music – "Newsleader" (used from 1991 to 1997) and the "WISH-TV News Music Package," a customized version of Arnold's "Counterpoint" package (used from 1997 to 2004) – and an alteration of the V.3 package from 615 Music's "In-Sink" (used from 2004 to 2012).[23] The 615-composed custom package "A New Wish," introduced on September 5, 2012, was the first theme used by the station in 21 years to omit compositional ties to "Back Home Again in Indiana". On February 28, 2005, shortly after LIN TV announced its purchase of channel 23, WISH-TV took over production of WNDY's 10:00 p.m. newscast from WTHR, which had produced the program from its inception on March 16, 1996; this partnership expanded to include an hour-long extension of WISH's weekday morning newscast at 7:00 a.m., which debuted on January 5, 2009.

On September 8, 2008, WISH-TV became the second television station in Indiana to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; the WNDY newscasts were included in the upgrade. On September 9, 2013, WISH-TV added a half-hour to its weekday morning newscast at 4:30 a.m., becoming the last English language news-producing station in the market to expand its morning newscast to a pre-5:00 a.m. timeslot (WTHR had an eight-year head start, expanding its morning newscast into the 4:30 slot in 2005; that station was later joined by WXIN in 2009 and WRTV in 2010).

When it became an affiliate of The CW on January 1, 2015, WISH-TV became one of three CW affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone (the others being WPIX in New York City and WCCB in Charlotte) with a functioning news department. It expanded its news programming by 20 hours (increasing its weekly total from 34 to 54 hours a week). Most existing newscasts were retained, though the 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. newscasts it produced for WNDY moved to channel 8 (the former of which is part of an expansion of Daybreak that extended the weekday edition of the program by two hours and the weekend editions by one), while the noon newscast expanded to one hour and a 6:30 p.m. newscast on weeknights was added.[24][25] The weekend 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts were also shortened to a half-hour, with the Sports Locker being moved to bookending the latter and the 11:00 p.m. news on Sunday nights, and a new sports program (Indy Sports Tonight) replacing it in its former slot.

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Local hub will serve up to 16 LIN stations, Indianapolis Business Journal, September 9, 2002. Retrieved June 26, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  2. ^ LIN buys UPN pair, The Hollywood Reporter, February 10, 2005. Retrieved June 26, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  3. ^ http://www.lintv.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=298&Itemid=114
  4. ^ http://www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8908738
  5. ^ "Media General to buy WISH-TV parent in deal worth $1.6B". Indianapolis Business Journal. Associated Press. March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Sruthi Ramakrishnan (21 March 2014). "Media General to buy LIN Media for $1.6 billion". Reuters. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Media General Completes Merger With LIN Media, Press Release, Media General, Retrieved 19 December 2014
  8. ^ "cbs-moving-indianapolis-affiliation-to WTTV". TVNewsCheck. August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ Variety http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/cbs-switches-indianapolis-affiliation-in-tribune-pact-bumping-cw-to-digital-channel-1201279881/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "Scripps, ABC Sign New Affiliation Deal". TVNewsCheck. December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ Lindquist, David (December 11, 2014). "WISH-8 lining up celebrity talk, syndicated sitcoms". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "WISH-8 lining up celebrity talk, syndicated sitcoms". IndyStar. David Lindquist. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Malone, Michael (December 22, 2014). "Tribune Sells Indianapolis CW Affiliation to Media General". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ Palazzo, Anthony (20 August 2014). "Media General Cuts Lin TV Price After CBS Drops Affiliate". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  15. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WISH
  16. ^ Eggerton, John (2009-08-07). "LIN TV Develops Blackberry App For Mobile TV Service". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  17. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  18. ^ CDBS Print
  19. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1354342&Service=LD&Form_id=346&Facility_id=39269
  20. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/Auth_Files/1364690.pdf
  21. ^ "WXIN-WTTV To Carry Indianapolis Colts". TVNewsCheck. December 29, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  22. ^ 66th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2007.
  23. ^ http://www.615music.com/core/news_music_demos.cfm
  24. ^ "WISH-TV announces local news expansion". WISH-TV. October 1, 2014. .
  25. ^ Jeff Newman; Anthony Schoettle (October 1, 2014). "WISH-TV Expanding Daily Newscasts by Four Hours". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved December 17, 2014. .
  26. ^ "About Mike Ahern". 16 May 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "About Chet Coppock". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  28. ^ "Ed Harding bio". WCVB-TV. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  29. ^ Debby Knox announces retirement
  30. ^ "Nicole Briscoe bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  31. ^ "Mark Patrick Joins Hammer & Nigel". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  32. ^ "Jane Pauley Biography". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  33. ^ "About Rolland G. Smith". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  34. ^ "Steele Sage bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  35. ^ "John Stehr bio". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  36. ^ "Anne Marie Tiernon bio". WTHR. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  37. ^ "Vince Welch bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 

External links[edit]