|Branding||WLKY 32 (general)
WLKY News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Live, Local, Late Breaking.|
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
(WLKY Hearst Television, Inc.)
|First air date||September 16, 1961|
|Call letters' meaning||We're in Louisville, Kentucky|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
32 (UHF, 1961-2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (1961-1990)|
|Transmitter power||600 kW|
WLKY is the CBS-affiliated television station in Louisville, Kentucky. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 26 (virtual channel 32.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. Owned by Hearst Television, WLKY maintains studios on Mellwood Avenue (near I-71) on the city's east side. Syndicated programming featured on WLKY includes Anderson Live, The Closer, Steve Harvey, Access Hollywood, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. It is one of the few CBS affiliates that airs The Young and the Restless on a tape delay (airing at 4 p.m., leading into the 5 p.m. newscast); fellow CBS affiliates WAFB/Baton Rouge, WRAL-TV/Raleigh and KMOV/St. Louis also run the soap opera in the 4 p.m. timeslot.
The station signed on September 16, 1961 as an ABC affiliate. Previously, the ABC affiliation in Louisville was shared between NBC affiliate WAVE-TV and then-CBS affiliate WHAS-TV. Although Louisville had been big enough since the early 1950s to support three full affiliates, it had a fairly long wait for full network service. The Louisville market is a fairly large market geographically, and also includes some rugged terrain. The nearest VHF allocations, channels 7 and 13, had been allocated to Evansville and Bowling Green, respectively. These factors caused the first attempt at a full-time ABC affiliate in the area, WKLO-TV, to shut down after only six months on the air. With this in mind, perspective owners were skittish about setting up shop on one of the available UHF allocations in the area.
WLKY was founded by a local group, Kentuckiana Television, who in 1967 sold it to Sonderling Broadcasting (which would acquire several medium-market radio and television stations such as WAST in Albany, New York (now WNYT) until that company merged with Viacom in 1979). In 1973, Sonderling sold the station to Combined Communications. In 1979, Combined Communications merged with the Gannett Company.
In the spring of 1983, Gannett sold WLKY and WPTA in Fort Wayne, Indiana (the two smallest stations in Gannett's television station portfolio at the time) to Pulitzer Publishing after it purchased WLVI-TV in Boston (currently owned by Sunbeam Television) from Field Communications and WTCN-TV (now KARE) in Minneapolis from Metromedia. This was because the WLVI and WTCN purchases left Gannett with two television stations over the Federal Communications Commission's seven-station limit in effect at the time. Pulitzer kept WLKY but sold WPTA to Granite Broadcasting in 1989.
From 1977 to 1986, WLKY was known as "32 Alive." At the time, Combined Communications used the "Alive" moniker on four of its stations—WLKY, KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, WXIA-TV in Atlanta and WPTA in Fort Wayne. Gannett-owned WXIA still uses the "Alive" moniker, as does WPTA, although that station is no longer owned by Gannett.
In September 1990, just over seven years after Pulitzer completed its purchase of the station, WLKY swapped network affiliations with WHAS (by then owned by the Providence Journal Company, now owned by Sander Media and operated by Gannett), with WLKY taking the CBS affiliation and WHAS becoming the ABC affiliate—much to that station's chagrin. This came after then-second-place ABC became dissatisfied with the viewership ratings at some of its affiliates (while CBS was in distant third at this midpoint of the Laurence Tisch era of the network's history), and ABC wanted a stronger affiliation. WLKY had long been one of ABC's weaker affiliates, while WHAS had been the dominant station in Louisville for almost 20 years at the time.
By this time, however, cable television had gained significant penetration in the Louisville area. Indeed, to this day, cable and satellite are all but essential for acceptable television in much of Kentuckiana. Combined with a low universal cable channel number (Channel 5 on both Comcast and Time Warner), WLKY's former weakness of being a UHF station was almost completely nullified.
The switch to CBS provided a major windfall for WLKY that winter, as it became Louisville's home for NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Owing to the region's status as a college basketball hotbed and area teams Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana being long-time fixtures in the tournament, NCAA Tournament games on WLKY are consistently among the highest-rated programs in the market during the tournament's run. In 2008, for instance, NCAA games attracted a 21.6 rating and a 36 share, the highest in the nation.
Pulitzer sold its entire broadcasting division, including WLKY, to what was then Hearst-Argyle Television in 1999. Hearst's aggressive marketing helped make the station a factor in the ratings for the first time in memory, and by the dawn of the new millennium it was waging a spirited battle with WAVE for the runner-up slot in the market behind long-dominant WHAS-TV.
On July 9, 2012, WLKY's parent company Hearst Television was involved in a dispute with Time Warner Cable after that company's purchase of Insight Communications, leading to WLKY being pulled from Time Warner Cable and temporarily replaced with Nexstar Broadcasting Group station WROC-TV of Rochester, New York; Time Warner chose the Rochester station as they do not own the rights to carry any of the other regional CBS affiliates. The substitution of WROC in place of WLKY lasted until July 19, 2012, when a deal was reached between Hearst and Time Warner.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|32.1||1080i||16:9||WLKY-HD||Main WLKY programming / CBS|
WLKY discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 32, 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 26. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 32.
In 2008, WLKY changed its branding from WLKY NewsChannel 32 to WLKY News. The station's news helicopter "NewsChopper 32" was renamed "WLKY NewsChopper". A new graphics package debuted as well.
In February 2010, WLKY became the third station in the Louisville market to begin airing its newscasts in widescreen – and the second to air them in upconverted widescreen standard definition rather than true high definition.
In February 2012, WLKY debuted a two-hour extension of its weekday morning newscast from 7-9 a.m. on its Me-TV affiliated 32.2 subchannel. It competes with the longer-established in-house morning newscast in that timeslot on Fox affiliate WDRB. On September 17 of that year, WLKY launched a half-hour 10 p.m. newscast on that same subchannel to compete with WDRB's hour-long, in-house news program and what was then a WHAS-produced half-hour newscast on CW affiliate WBKI-TV in that slot (the WHAS newscast on WBKI officially ended its run on October 26, 2012; thereafter, syndicated programming replaced the 10 p.m. newscast). WLKY also shortened its morning MeTV news program to one hour, 7-8 a.m., on September 17, 2012.
For most of its tenure as an ABC affiliate, WLKY was one of that network's weaker stations in terms of local viewership, usually ranking third in the Nielsen ratings. Occasionally, however, it overtook WAVE for second behind long-dominant WHAS. However, since the affiliation switch to CBS and rise of cable and satellite penetration, WLKY has been far more successful in the Nielsen ratings. Even with the affiliate "downgrade" from VHF to UHF, CBS' network ratings in the Louisville market during the early to mid 1990s remained strong at a time when its ratings in many other markets stagnated or declined, with WLKY leading in the recent May 2011 sweeps from sign-on to sign-off, including newscasts. It has been one of CBS' strongest affiliates for the last decade, although Louisville has been one of the few Nielsen markets where all four network stations have about equal ratings and strong news operations. In the recent February 2013 sweeps period, WLKY and WDRB began distancing themselves from WHAS and WAVE in total-day ratings, largely due to their higher-rated syndicated and local programming lead-ins to their newscasts.
- WLKY-TV News (1961-1963)
- Metro Report (1963-1967)
- Complete Information News (1967-1969)
- 32 Eyewitness News (1969-1977)
- 32 Alive Newsroom (1977-1984)
- 32 Alive News (1984-1986)
- Channel 32 News (1986-1998)
- NewsChannel 32 (1998-2008)
- WLKY News (2008–present)
- "Your Ticket to Good Viewing" (1961-196?)
- "Keep Your Eye on 32 Eyewitness News" (early 1970s)
- "It's All Right Here on 32 Alive" (late 1970s)
- "Looking Better All the Time" (early 1980s)
- "Turn to the Channel 32 News" (late 1980s)
- "If It Matters to You, It Matters to Us" (late 1980s)
- "Louisville's 24-Hour News Source" / "32 for You" (early 1990s-1995)
- "Where the News Comes First" (1995-2005)
- "Live. Local. Latebreaking." (1998–present; also used by sister station KOCO in Oklahoma City since the same period)
- Steve Burgin - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m.; also investigative reporter
- Vicki Dortch - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 (WLKY-DT2 MeTV) and 11:00 p.m.
- Monica Hardin - weekday mornings on WLKY News This Morning (4:30-7:00 on WLKY and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WLKY-DT2 MeTV)
- Christina Mora - weekend mornings on WLKY News This Morning (5:00-8:00 weekends and 8:00-9:00 a.m. Sundays); also weekday reporter
- Karen Roby - weekday mornings on WLKY News This Morning (4:30-7:00 on WLKY and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WLKY-DT2 MeTV)
- Lexy Scheen - weekend mornings on WLKY News This Morning (5:00-8:00 weekends and 8:00-9:00 a.m. Sundays); also weekday reporter
- Rick Van Hoose - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 (WLKY-DT2 MeTV) and 11:00 p.m.
- Jay Cardosi (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 (WLKY-DT2 MeTV) and 11:00 p.m.
- Jared Heil (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - meteorologist; weeknights at 10:00 (WLKY-DT2 MeTV) and Saturdays at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Susanne Horgan (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings (5:00-8:00 weekends and 8:00-9:00 a.m. Sundays) and Sundays at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m.
- Matt Milosevich (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on WLKY News This Morning (4:30-7:00 on WLKY and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WLKY-DT2 MeTV) and weekdays at noon
- John Belski (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; severe weather specialist, occasional on-air duties
- Fred Cowgill - sports director; weeknights at 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 (WLKY-DT2 MeTV) and 11:00 p.m.
- Derek Forrest- sports anchor; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m.
- Marissa Alter - general assignment reporter
- Ann Bowdan - general assignment reporter
- Drew Douglas - general assignment reporter
- Tim Elliott- general assignment reporter
- Liz Everman - "Wednesday's Child" feature reporter
- Natalie Grise- weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30-7:00 on WLKY and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WLKY-DT2 MeTV); also weekday reporter
- Daniel Kemp - general assignment reporter
- Jessica Oh - general assignment reporter
- Maxine Rouben - consumer reporter ("Real Deal")
Hearst Television Washington Bureau
- Hallie Jackson - Washington bureau reporter
- Sally Kidd - Washington bureau reporter
- Nikole Killion - Washington bureau reporter
Notable former on-air staff
- Michael Gargiulo - reporter (now morning anchor for WNBC/New York City)
- Mark Giangreco - sports anchor (now at WLS-TV/Chicago)
- Carissa Lawson - reporter/fill-in anchor
- Dan Lewis - anchor (now evening anchor for KOMO-TV/Seattle)
- Tom Mintier - reporter (moved to CNN)
- Diane Sawyer - reporter and weather anchor (1967-1970; now anchor of ABC's World News)
- Chris Clausen - announcer (1990-2008; died in 2008)
- Duane Pohlman - investigative reporter (now anchor/investigative reporter with WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio)
- Charlie Van Dyke - announcer (1986-1990; does voice-overs for WLKY rival WAVE since 2013)
- Pulitzer Publishing Company's television station in Louisville, WLKY-TV, to join the CBS Television Network as a new affiliate in September, PR Newswire. August 14, 1990. HighBeam Research, (February 17, 2011).
- Louisville No. 1 in basketball TV ratings. The Courier-Journal, 2008-04-06.
- Where to Watch Me-TV: WLKY
- Adweek: "Hearst and Time Warner Cable Part Ways Over Retrans", July 10, 2012.
- Adweek: "Imported Signals in Retrans Fight Raise Regulatory Questions", July 10, 2012.
- Orlando Sentinel: "WESH off Bright House; Pennsylvania station is substitute", July 10, 2012.
- Broadcasting & Cable: "Hearst TV, Time Warner Cable End Viewer Blackout", July 19, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WLKY
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- WLKY Adding News Hours in Mornings on Digital Channel, LouisvilleKY.com, January 30, 2012.
- LOUISVILLE: WLKY launching 10 p.m. newscast tonight, September 17, 2012.
- Redding, Rick. "At the Sweeps Half, WLKY Winning". LousivilleKY.com. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- News Team
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WLKY
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WLKY-TV