|Branding||WKYC Channel 3 (general)
Channel 3 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||We Keep You Connected|
|Channels||Digital: 17 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
3.2 Weather Radar
|First air date||October 31, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning||KYW Cleveland
(nod to former calls of KYW-TV)
|Former callsigns||WNBK (1948–1956)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1948–1954)
3 (VHF, 1954–2009)
2 (VHF, 1999–2009)
|Transmitter power||868 kW (digital)|
|Height||296.1 m (digital)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WKYC, channel 3, is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, that is owned by the Gannett Company. The station's studio is located in downtown Cleveland on the shore of Lake Erie, while its transmitter is located in Parma, Ohio. Syndicated programs broadcast on WKYC include Rachael Ray, Ellen, Dr. Phil, and Entertainment Tonight.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.1||1080i||16:9||WKYC-HD||Main WKYC programming / NBC|
As part of the analog to digital television conversion, WKYC shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009. The station's digital broadcasts remained on UHF channel 17. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continue to display WKYC's virtual channel as 3.1. WKYC was the "nightlight" station for the Cleveland market, providing digital television transition information supplied by the National Association of Broadcasters. On June 16, 2009, the -TV suffix was removed from the station's call sign; the station is now known simply as WKYC. The analog signal signed off completely on July 12, 2009.
The station made its on-air debut on October 31, 1948, as WNBK on VHF channel 4. It was the second station in Cleveland to sign on, eleven months after WEWS (channel 5), and was the fourth of NBC's five original owned-and-operated stations launched by the network, three weeks after WNBQ (now WMAQ-TV) in Chicago. WNBK was a sister station to WTAM radio (1100 AM), owned by NBC since 1930.
Although there was no coaxial cable connection to New York City, AT&T had just installed a cable connection between WNBK, WNBQ, WSPD-TV (now WTVG) in Toledo, KSTP-TV in St. Paul, Minnesota and KSD-TV (now KSDK) in St. Louis, creating NBC's Midwest Network. WNBK became one of the originators of programming for the regional network, along with WNBQ. Two days after signing on, on November 2, 1948, WNBK transmitted its coverage of the Truman/Dewey election results to the NBC Midwest Network. On January 11, 1949, WNBK began carrying NBC's New York-originated programming live via a cable connection to Philadelphia.
As a result of frequency reallocations resulting from the Federal Communications Commission's 1952 Sixth Report and Order, WNBK was moved to channel 3, swapping frequencies with fellow NBC affiliate WLWC (now WCMH-TV) in Columbus in order to alleviate same-channel interference with another NBC station, WWJ-TV (now WDIV) in Detroit. After construction was completed on the station's new transmitter in Parma, the channel switch took place on April 25, 1954.
Westinghouse moves in
In June 1955, NBC agreed to trade WNBK and WTAM-AM-FM to Westinghouse Electric Corporation in return for KYW radio and WPTZ television in Philadelphia. Although Cleveland was a top-10 television and radio market at the time, NBC had long wanted to "trade up" its holdings to a larger market. Also, Philadelphia was the largest market in which it did not own a station. The swap became official in February 1956, as NBC moved its operations (including much of its Cleveland staff) to Philadelphia to operate the renamed WRCV-AM-TV. Westinghouse took over the former WNBK/WTAM operation and changed its call letters to KYW-AM-FM-TV.
Under Westinghouse ownership, KYW-TV launched Barnaby, a children's program which starred Linn Sheldon as the title character. The show premiered in 1956 and was an immediate hit, running on weekday afternoons for ten years. Another Westinghouse creation was the country's first 90-minute local news block in 1959, called Eyewitness (a precursor to the Eyewitness News format). In 1961, channel 3 originated a local 90-minute weekday daytime variety talk show with former band singer Mike Douglas, which went up against WEWS's One O'Clock Club. Quickly eclipsing the competition, The Mike Douglas Show became so popular that Westinghouse decided to carry the program on its other stations in 1963, and eventually to syndicate the program nationwide.
Perhaps even more notable was the exclusion of two NBC programs from KYW-TV's schedule. The Tonight Show, which was reformatted after original host Steve Allen's departure as the short-lived Tonight! America After Dark, was dropped by channel 3 in June 1957 and replaced with a late-night movie following the 11:00 p.m. newscast. NBC revived Tonight with Jack Paar as host in July of that year, but KYW-TV continued with its own programming, which also included the Westinghouse-produced-and-syndicated (new) Steve Allen, Regis Philbin, and Merv Griffin programs. The Paar-hosted Tonight Show would not be seen in Cleveland until October 1957, when NBC agreed to terms with WEWS to carry the program. KYW-TV also did not carry NBC's early-evening newscast, The Huntley-Brinkley Report, for exactly one year comprising the 1959-1960 television season. Like with the Tonight Show, WEWS also ran this program in Cleveland.
Despite its success in Cleveland, Westinghouse was not happy with how the 1956 trade with NBC played out. Almost as soon as the ink dried on the trade the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation, claiming NBC extorted and coerced them into agreeing to the deal. The investigators discovered that Group W had only agreed to the deal after NBC threatened to remove its affiliation from WPTZ (the present-day KYW-TV) and Westinghouse's other NBC affiliate, WBZ-TV in Boston, and to withhold a primary affiliation with newly purchased KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. In 1964, after an investigation that lasted eight years, the FCC ruled in favor of Westinghouse and ruled the 1956 trade null and void.
NBC re-assumed control of the Cleveland stations on June 19, 1965. Instead of restoring the previous WNBK and WTAM identities, the stations' new call letters became WKYC-AM-FM-TV, mostly as a nod to Westinghouse's stewardship of the stations. The AM station, for instance, had become a top 40 powerhouse under the moniker "KY11." WKYC-TV was separated from its sister stations in 1972, when NBC sold the WKYC radio stations to Ohio Communications. The AM station changed its calls to WWWE before resuming its historic WTAM calls in 1996, while the FM station became WWWM and then, in 1982, WMJI.
In a reverse of what took place in 1956, some radio and television staffers who worked for Westinghouse in Cleveland moved to Philadelphia along with the KYW call letters. This included news reporter Tom Snyder, news director Al Primo, and Mike Douglas. WKYC-TV continued to air The Mike Douglas Show for many years after both the host and the program moved to Philadelphia, where it remained until 1978. Westinghouse also took the Eyewitness News name and format with it to Philadelphia; it would later return to Cleveland, being used on WEWS from 1972 to 1990. Other Westinghouse employees – such Linn Sheldon, Clay Conroy (who played Barnaby's sidekick "Woodrow the Woodsman" before getting a spinoff show of his own), and staff announcer Jay Miltner (who had been with the station since its inception in 1948) – remained in Cleveland. To this day, the Philadelphia stations insist they "moved" to Cleveland in 1956 and "returned" to Philadelphia in 1965 after the trade was voided.
NBC also relocated many of their top Philadelphia radio and television executives and some on-air personalities to Cleveland, such as meteorologist Wally Kinnan. Kinnan's arrival displaced Dick Goddard, who had been with channel 3 since 1961. Goddard moved to Philadelphia with Westinghouse but returned to Cleveland in early 1966 and joined WJW-TV (channel 8), where he has remained for more than 45 years. Evening sports anchor Jim Graner, who had joined the station in 1957 while also serving as the color commentator for the Cleveland Browns radio network, remained through the transition; he stayed on until his death in 1976. One show that made the jump to Cleveland was the award-winning documentary series Montage, produced and directed by Dennis Goulden. This nationally acclaimed series of over 250 episodes investigated the issues and lifestyles of the Cleveland community during the 1960s and 1970s. The Tonight Show also returned to WKYC-TV's schedule in February 1966, after airing on WEWS during channel 3's Westinghouse years.
For much of the time between NBC's repurchase of the station and the dawn of the 21st century, WKYC-TV's news department was usually a very distant third in the ratings. Part of the reason was that during most of its second stint as an NBC-owned station, it served mainly as a farm system for NBC with almost no local talent. Given Cleveland's status as a mid-major television market, most of the promising reporters or anchors that NBC employed at WKYC could end up being promoted to other higher-profile NBC-owned outlets, especially New York City flagship WNBC-TV. Many WKYC alumni went on to long and successful careers with NBC. Most notably, current Today weatherman Al Roker served as WKYC's chief weatherman from 1978 to 1983.
As a result of this practice, turnover at channel 3 was very high, and it was unable to establish a cohesive news department and successfully compete against either WJW-TV or WEWS in the ratings. It was by far NBC's weakest owned-and-operated station. Two of the few long-tenured personalities during this time included Joe Mosbrook and Del Donahoo. Both joined WKYC in 1967 (Donahoo from WOW in Omaha) and enjoyed long tenures at the station. Mosbrook retired in 2002, while Donahoo was co-host of Today in Cleveland with Tom Haley until 1997 and a feature reporter (under the "Del's Folks" banner) until 2006. At the same time, channel 3 enjoyed several technical advances with NBC's parent company, RCA (and since 1986, General Electric). It was Cleveland's first television station to broadcast full-time in color on September 13, 1965 (almost immediately after NBC regained channel 3 from Group W), the first to broadcast in stereo in 1985, and the first VHF station to closed-caption their local newscasts for the hearing-impaired in 1990.
From 1973 to 1984, WKYC tried to use the Action News branding several times while also using the music and graphics associated with the other NBC-owned stations, which employed the NewsCenter name. On March 19, 1984, the station dropped the Action 3 News name and adopted its current moniker, Channel 3 News. WKYC also adopted a new logo and a new slogan called "Turn to 3"; the accompanying jingle was composed by Frank Gari. The "Turn to 3" jingle and image campaign was borrowed by many TV broadcasters around the world – most notably Detroit's WXYZ-TV.
Various anchors – such as Virgil Dominic, Doug Adair, Mike Landess, Dave Patterson, Mona Scott, Judd Hambrick, Leon Bibb and Dick Feagler – set designs, and imaging campaigns were tried out, usually with little to no success. Finally, after years of sagging ratings, the network sold majority control of WKYC (51%) to Multimedia, Inc. in 1990. Due to its long ownership by NBC, to this day channel 3 is the only major station in Cleveland to have never changed its primary affiliation.
At that time, Multimedia's entertainment division (now part of NBC's syndication arm) produced a number of syndicated daytime talk shows, and as a result Multimedia productions such as The Jerry Springer Show (who himself had come from then-sister station WLWT in Cincinnati), Sally Jessy Raphael and Donahue ended up on WKYC's daily schedule. The station tried to rebuild its news operation with an emphasis on local talent and continuity, under the tagline "We're Building Our Station Around You." In 1993, the NBC peacock was dropped from the primary station logo, which italicized the numeral 3, was put in a square, and took a red-white-blue color scheme, though WKYC was still (and continues to be to this day) identified as "Channel 3" (the previous logo was a plain Helvetica "3", and was modified to become the logo today, after replacing the logo used since the mid-1980s, an abstract, rectangular 3). WKYC even set up a telephone feedback hotline, dubbed "Talkback 3", intended to field suggestions and comments from viewers.
As an NBC affiliate
WKYC did not immediately reap any windfall from longtime CBS affiliate WJW-TV's switch to (and eventual purchase by) Fox in 1994. However, ratings for WKYC's newscasts gradually began to improve towards the end of the decade. The station started to finish in first in assorted timeslots and posted some of the highest ratings books in the station's history. The Gannett Company purchased Multimedia in November 1995, and acquired the remaining 49% of the station from NBC in early 1999. Even after Gannett's purchase of WKYC, the station continued to suffer. For instance, in September 1999, WKYC expanded its 6 p.m. newscast to one hour. This aggravated viewers because NBC Nightly News was pushed back to 7 p.m. This practice was modified in July 2000 when NBC Nightly News was moved back to 6:30, and the second half-hour was used to start a 7 p.m. newscast, which continues to air.
WKYC accomplished another first in Cleveland television history by becoming the first station in Northeast Ohio to broadcast in high-definition in 1999. Soon after Gannett bought full control of the station, it moved from its longtime studios in the former East Ohio Gas building on East Sixth Street in downtown Cleveland to their Lakeside Ave. state-of-the-art studio on the shores of Lake Erie, which Channel 3 refers to as its "digital broadcast center".
WKYC finally became a factor in the Cleveland television news race in 2003, when it picked up Dr. Phil and placed it in the 5–6 p.m. slot. This move proved to be very successful for two reasons. First, at 5 p.m., since all of the other local major network affiliates were broadcasting news, this gave viewers an alternative. Second, WKYC was able to get many viewers to change channels at the end of WEWS's 4 p.m. broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show to Dr. Phil at 5 p.m. (the syndication contracts for both shows disallowed them from airing against each other).
During Dr. Phil, WKYC heavily promoted its 6 p.m. newscast, which began to experience sharp ratings increases at 6, which trickled down to the 7 p.m. newscast. In early 2004, viewers began turning away from WJW-TV and WEWS's hard-hitting newscasts to the more traditional WKYC. This helped WKYC rise to first place in the news ratings for the first time in decades. All of its newscasts won their timeslots. WKYC even managed to push WJW's popular morning newscast into second place. This continued until May 2005, when WKYC made two major changes in their newscasts. First, the station had reporters lengthen the time of their stories, hoping to provide more detail. Second, in attempt to combat the common viewer complaint that "all news is bad", WKYC started inserting more "positive" stories into their newscasts. The combination of the two resulted in less "hard" news, and viewers began turning away.
Over the summer of 2005, while Dr. Phil was airing repeats, WKYC lost the top spot at 6 to WEWS. However, channel 3 retook the top spot at 6 p.m. during the November 2005 sweeps period. Additionally, despite fears due to a weak NBC prime time schedule, WKYC retained its top spot at 11 p.m. which it has held for 17 straight ratings periods. In the February 2006 ratings period, WKYC continued its first place streak by placing first at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Its morning newscast was second only to WJW's.
In the November 2006 ratings period, WKYC's airing of Dr. Phil continued to lead at 5 p.m., and its 11 p.m. newscast held on to first place (though by a very slim margin over WOIO), although it slipped from first to third at 6 p.m. It came in last place at noon (it was the only "Big Four" affiliate station in Cleveland not to air a newscast at that time slot). Channel 3's late-afternoon and early-evening slump continued since that time, reaching its nadir to date in the February 2008 ratings period, when both Dr. Phil and the 6 p.m. newscast finished third behind WJW's and WEWS's newscasts.
Another reason for the sustained success was that for the first time in their history, WKYC had stability at the anchor desk. From 2000-2007, the anchor team for all weeknight newscasts consisted of Tim White and Romona Robinson, chief meteorologist Mark Nolan and sports director Jim Donovan. The long standing team broke up in 2007 when Nolan was moved to morning news anchor, and weekend meteorologist Betsy Kling was promoted to weeknights. In December 2008, White's contract was allowed to lapse and Robinson anchored the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts solo until her departure at the end of 2011.
On January 16, 2012, former CBS News reporter and anchor Russ Mitchell became the new primary weeknight anchor/managing editor. On April 2, 2012, Kris Pickel became the new weeknight co-anchor with Mitchell at 6 and 11 p.m., marking a return of the traditional two-person anchor team at WKYC after three-plus years of solo anchors.
In March 2013, the station made national headlines when it opted to pre-empt NBC's Thursday night sitcom lineup for two weeks with Matlock telefilms. Coming so shortly after it was announced about NBC's sagging ratings, the decision was perceived to be a result of the lineup's poor performance. WKYC's manager revealed that the station has typically preempted the lineup for Matlock telefilms quite often for the past ten years and has nothing to do with ratings.
WKYC-TV has been the over-the-air home of Cleveland Indians baseball since the 2006 season, through a ten-year contract. This deal brought the Indians back to over-the-air TV after four years of the team being exclusively on cable. WKYC also provides studios for SportsTime Ohio – the regional sports network owned by the team itself until 2013 – which airs the remainder of Indians games on cable and satellite, and simulcasts the games shown on Channel 3. During baseball season, Channel 3 airs a weekly half hour Indians-themed program, Indians Tonight, Sundays at 11:35 p.m. Matt Underwood and former Indians outfielder Rick Manning are the team's announcing team. All Indians games and related programming is broadcast in HD.
WKYC is the official television partner of the Cleveland Browns, and as such airs all non-nationally televised pre-season games with sports director/Browns radio voice Jim Donovan and former Browns QB Bernie Kosar calling the action. Channel 3 also airs numerous Browns-related programs during the season: Browns Insider (Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.) Browns Pregame Huddle (Sundays at 11:30 a.m.) and Browns Tonight (Sunday nights at 12:05 a.m.).
WKYC also occasionally airs Browns games which originate on either ESPN or NFL Network, as NFL rules state that a game showed on a cable network must be simulcast on a local, over-the-air station in the participating teams' markets. All Browns games and related programming is broadcast in HD.
On June 2, 2011, WKYC announced that the station had acquired the rights to be the Cleveland area's Ohio Lottery affiliate from WEWS. On July 1, 2011, the station began carrying the lottery's Pick 3, Pick 4, and Pick 5 drawings on weeknights, the twice weekly Classic Lotto, Powerball, and Mega Millions drawings, and its weekly Saturday night game show Cash Explosion.
As of August 13, 2012, WKYC airs 26 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (consisting of four hours of newscasts on Monday through Fridays, and four hours on Saturdays and Sundays). Channel 3 also airs Live on Lakeside, a local 90 minute midday news/talk program (Lakeside referring to the street where WKYC's studios are located). When Live on Lakeside is factored in, channel 3 airs 5½ hours of local programming each weekday. WKYC is the only Cleveland major network affiliate that does not air local news in the traditional 5 p.m. weekday timeslot, but somewhat offsets that by airing local news at 7 p.m., being the first Cleveland station to do so in 2000 (Fox affiliate WJW would later debut a 7 p.m. newscast of its own in 2010).
On May 22, 2006, WKYC-TV became the second television station in the Cleveland market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high-definition. On January 22, 2013, WKYC began broadcasting its newscasts (as well as their entire programming schedule) in 16:9 widescreen for those without HD or digital television, as introducing new graphics for its newscasts. WKYC's current graphics package is identical to that of its sister Gannett-owned stations, including Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA.
The following have served as the station's newscast titles:
- The Sohio (Esso) Reporter (1948–1956)
- Today's News/Tonight's News (1956–1959)
- Eyewitness (1959–1961)
- Eyewitness News (1961–1965; first station to use this branding)
- Channel 3 News (1965–1973 and 1984–present)
- The Sixth Hour Report/The Eleventh Hour Report (1965–1973)
- TV-3 News (1973–1975)
- Action 3 News (1975–1984)
Current on-air staff
The primary news anchors on WKYC include Michael Cardamone (host of Live on Lakeside), Stephanie Couignoux (update anchor for Live on Lakeside), Erin Kennedy and Chris Tye weekday mornings; Lynna Lai and John Anderson (who also serves as sports anchor) weekend evenings; Russ Mitchell (also managing editor) and Kris Pickel weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.; Robin Swoboda weeknights at 7 p.m.; and Kim Wheeler weekend mornings and noon (also education reporter).
The WKYC weather team features chief meteorologist Betsy Kling (AMS CBM and NWA Seals of Approval) weeknights; Bruce Kalinowski (AMS Seal of Approval) weekend evenings and Thursday-Friday middays; Marcus Walter weekend mornings and noon, and Monday-Wednesday middays; and Hollie Strano (NWA Seal of Approval) weekday mornings (also co-host of Live on Lakeside).
WKYC's sports team features sports director Jim Donovan weeknights (also play by play announcer for Browns preseason games, and co-anchor of the 7 p.m. newscast), reporter/fill-in anchor Dave Chudowsky (also sideline reporter for Browns preseason telecasts), and former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel as a special weekly contributor. As the over the air TV home of the Browns, WKYC features numerous Browns analysts, such as Doug Dieken, Vic Carrucci, Nick Sorensen, and Bernie Kosar (color commentator for preseason TV games). For Indians telecasts, the broadcasting team includes Rick Manning (color analyst), Al Pawlowski (pregame/postgame host, play by play announcer for select games, and fill-in sports anchor), Jason Stanford (pregame analyst), Matt Underwood (play by play), and Katie Witham (field reporter).
General assignment reporters are Maureen Kyle, Jennifer Lindgren, Pamela Osborne, A.J. Ross, Sara Shookman and Will Ujek (also sports reporter); specialty reporters are Tom Beres (politics reporter), Pat Butler (weekday morning traffic reporter), Joe Cronauer (feature reporter), Desiray Cross (Live on Lakeside feature reporter/fill-in host), Matt Granite ("Ways 2 Save" consumer reporter), Karina Mitchell (entertainment reporter), Tom Meyer (investigative reporter), Kevin Myeroff CPA (financial reporter), Monica Robbins (health reporter) and Kim Wendel (web reporter).
Cable coverage in Canada
When atmospheric conditions permit, WKYC's signal can be picked up as far away as Detroit and into Canada in Windsor and London, Ontario. The station is readily available over-the-air to Kingsville, Leamington and Pelee Island, and was once one of the three Cleveland area stations carried on local cable providers in those three locations; WEWS and WJW-TV were also available until 2000, when Cogeco displaced Shaw Cable as the cable provider for Essex County.
On October 16, 2009, the Windsor Star had notified readers that digital subchannels of the Detroit and Toledo stations would be added, while the Cleveland stations (such as WKYC) and some Toledo stations would have to be dropped from the listings to make room for them, starting with the next issue of the TV Times, released the next day. The only Cleveland local station remaining in the Windsor-area TV Times is WUAB.
WKYC was also carried on cable channel 3 in London, Ontario prior to 1974, but was bumped to make room for the newly launched Global Television Network.
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- Busis, Hillary (2013-03-01). "NBC affiliate airs 'Matlock' instead of network's Thursday shows | Inside TV | EW.com". Insidetv.ew.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- Deadline, The. "Cleveland Affiliate Disses NBC Primetime With 21-Year-Old 'Matlock' Movie - And Will Do It Again". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
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- Zuhosky, Drew. "Get to Know Katie Witham " TribeVibe". Tribevibe.mlblogs.com. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
- WKYC-DT Staff Bios, E-mail & Social Media Directory
- WKYC.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WKYC
- WKYC's Director's Cut with Frank Marek (blog)