|Green Bay/Fox Cities, Wisconsin
|City of license||Green Bay, Wisconsin|
|Branding||Fox 11 (general)
Fox 11 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Station for Balanced News and Severe Weather Coverage|
|Channels||Digital: 11 (VHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
|Translators||W40AN-D 40 Escanaba, MI|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WLUK Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||1954|
|Call letters' meaning||LUcKy Eleven (original on-air slogan)|
|Sister station(s)||Green Bay: WCWF
Milwaukee: WCGV-TV, WVTV
Marquette MI: WLUC-TV
|Former callsigns||WMBV-TV (1954–1959)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
11 (VHF, 1954–2009)
Digital: 51 (UHF, ?–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1954–1959, 1983–1995)
|Transmitter power||40 kW|
WLUK-TV, VHF digital channel 11, is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States. The station is currently owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with Suring-licensed CW affiliate WCWF (channel 14). The two stations share studios located on Lombardi Avenue (U.S. 41) on the line between Green Bay and Ashwaubenon, next to the Resch Center. WLUK's transmitter is located on Scray's Hill in Ledgeview. The station's signal is relayed in Upper Michigan on digital translator W40AN-D (channel 40), licensed to Escanaba, Michigan and transmitting from a tower in Wells Township.
- 1 History
- 2 Programming
- 3 News operation
- 4 Digital television
- 5 Out-of-market carriage
- 6 Retransmission controversies
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Early years with NBC and ABC
WLUK signed on September 11, 1954 as NBC affiliate WMBV-TV; it was originally licensed to Marinette, Wisconsin (the callsign stood for "Marinette/Bay/Valley"). The station was owned by William Walker and was largely constructed from the assets of a failed ABC affiliate in Oshkosh, WOSH-TV on channel 48. By 1959, the station changed its city of license to Green Bay and on August 22 changed its call sign to the current WLUK-TV (in reference to its then on-air slogan "Lucky 11") when it began broadcasting at full power from a new tower near Green Bay. Just before the changeover, the station also switched affiliations with WFRV-TV (channel 5), becoming an ABC affiliate. WLUK first broadcast network programs in color in 1959 and local programs began to be broadcast in color starting in 1965. In 1960, the station was sold to Morgan Murphy Stations. In 1964, WLUK was sold to Post Corporation (a small media chain not affiliated with The Washington Post Company or its Post-Newsweek Stations division), whose properties included the Post-Crescent newspaper in nearby Appleton and a sister station in Marquette, Michigan, WLUC-TV. In 1966, WLUK built a new studio and office building on Highland Avenue, which would eventually become Lombardi Avenue in 1968 after Vince Lombardi resigned his head coaching duties with the Packers. It aired some local entertainment programs, including a Saturday night polka show and a daily children's cartoon show using the franchised Bozo the Clown character.
In 1983, WLUK reclaimed the market's NBC affiliation, when WFRV switched to ABC. In 1984, Racine native George N. Gillett's Gillett Broadcasting purchased Post Corporation and with it, WLUK; it later sold WLUK to Burnham Broadcasting in 1987, in order to purchase the KKR stations (which included future fellow Fox station WITI in Milwaukee). For most of its second stint with NBC, WLUK largely downplayed its affiliation, even during the network's powerhouse days of the 1980s; it used the NBC Peacock only sparingly in the station's advertisements.
As a Fox affiliate
On July 29, 1994, Burnham Broadcasting sold WLUK-TV to SF Broadcasting – a joint venture of Savoy Communications and the Fox Broadcasting Company, then a division of News Corporation – for $38 million; the company later sold three of its other four stations (KHON-TV in Honolulu, WVUE in New Orleans and WALA-TV in Mobile) for $229 million on August 25 (a fifth Burnham station, KBAK-TV in Bakersfield, California, was excluded from the deal and was instead spun off to Westwind Communications, a new company that was formed by several former Burnham executives). As a result of the deal, SF Broadcasting announced that the four stations would become Fox affiliates; both Savoy and Fox shared ownership with Fox originally choosing to hold voting stock, ultimately opting not to retain it prior to the closure of the sale of the stations. The purchase was challenged by NBC, which filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission on September 23, 1994, alleging that News Corporation had improperly set up a shell corporation to circumvent FCC limits on the amount of monetary capital that a foreign company is allowed to invest in an American television station in order to gain control of WLUK. NBC later withdrew its petition against the acquisition on February 17, 1995. The FCC approved the WLUK purchase on April 27, 1995.
WLUK became a Fox affiliate in August 1995, swapping affiliations with WGBA-TV (channel 26, which had acquired the Fox affiliation three years earlier after WXGZ-TV – channel 32, now WACY-TV – shut down due to financial issues). Like most former "Big Three" network affiliates that switched to Fox during that time, WLUK picked up almost no syndicated programming from WGBA, though it was unnecessary because of WGBA's local marketing agreement with WACY-TV (channel 32); WGBA's programming largely moved to that station instead.
Because of Fox's 1994 acquisition of television rights to the NFL's National Football Conference, the switch made WLUK the unofficial "home" station of the Green Bay Packers after years on WBAY (and two years on WFRV), which became a major ratings draw. Unlike the New World Communications stations that converted to Fox affiliates, WLUK carried Fox Kids programming, running it one hour earlier on weekday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m. The station ran Fox Kids until the weekday block ended in December 2001 (when it had been pushed back to as early as 10 a.m.), and its successor Saturday morning children's blocks known as Fox Box and later 4KidsTV until the latter block ended nationally in December 2008, when 4Kids Entertainment and Fox parted ways due to a contract dispute. By the time 4Kids TV ended its run, Fox permanently discontinued providing network-supplied children's programming, replacing it with the infomercial block Weekend Marketplace.
Since channel 11 joined Fox, Packer football games have routinely drawn an 80% share of the viewing audience – far and away the highest-rated programs in the market, and through Fox's NFL rights deal, the station has broadcast two of the three Super Bowl games the Packers have appeared in, both victories, since 1994; Super Bowls XXXI and XLV, both by far the highest-rated programs in the Green Bay market's history. SF sold WLUK and the other three Fox affiliates in 1997 to Silver King/USA Broadcasting, whose existing stations prior to the purchase had mainly been affiliated with the Home Shopping Network (both Silver King and HSN which were owned by USA Networks at the time). Emmis Communications purchased the station along with WVUE, KHON and WALA, in 1998. Emmis put all of its stations up for sale early in 2006, in order to focus on its radio station properties, with LIN TV later emerging as the buyer of WLUK.
On June 4, 2010, LIN TV entered into shared services and local sales agreements to operate CW affiliate WIWB (channel 14, now WCWF) as part of a deal involving LIN and ACME Communications-owned stations in markets where both companies owned stations. WLUK began to provide technical, engineering, promotional, administrative and other operational support services for WIWB, with advertising sales services under a related but separate joint sales agreement. That station moved its operations into WLUK's studios that August. LIN would purchase WCWF outright in April 2011, under a failing station waiver (an indication that the station was in an economically non-viable position, which permitted a duopoly even though Green Bay has only seven full-power stations, one fewer than that required by FCC rules to legally permit a duopoly between WLUK and WCWF if both were economically viable), creating the Green Bay market's first legal television station duopoly.
On March 21, 2014, LIN Media entered into an agreement to merge with Media General in a $1.6 billion deal. Because Media General already owns ABC affiliate WBAY-TV (which Media General acquired in 2013 as part of its merger with Young Broadcasting), and since WBAY and WLUK rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Green Bay market in total day viewership, the companies were required to sell either WBAY or the WLUK/WCWF duopoly to another station owner in order to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as planned changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations which would prohibit sharing agreements. To settle the situation, Media General announced on August 20, 2014 that it would keep WBAY, choosing to sell WLUK and WCWF to Sinclair Broadcast Group as part of a multi-market deal (Sinclair would also acquire WJAR/Providence and WTGS/Savannah, while Media General would acquire Sinclair's WTTA/Tampa Bay and KXRM-TV & KXTU-LD/Colorado Springs).
Sinclair's acquisitions of WLUK and WCWF were completed on December 19, 2014, and expanded the company's presence in Wisconsin, as it already owns the Fox station in Madison (WMSN-TV) and the CW/MyNetworkTV tandem in Milwaukee (WVTV and WCGV-TV respectively). The deal also placed WLUK back under common ownership with Marquette's WLUC-TV, which Sinclair acquired in 2013 (both WLUK and WLUC shared common ownership between the 1960s and mid-1980s).
Outside of the Fox network schedule, syndicated programs featured on WLUK include Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!; Live! with Kelly and Michael, Judge Judy; and Seinfeld among others.  A longtime staple on WLUK's daily schedule was reruns of the NBC drama Little House on the Prairie; the station was one of the few in the nation to count Little House towards its fulfillment of educational and informational content obligations for young audiences, citing in part the series' inspiration from the Little House children's book series authored by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Little House was dropped from WLUK's daily schedule in September 2013, in part to make room for new acquisition Live!. For that year, it purchased syndicated E/I programming on a barter basis for weekend airings to fulfill E/I requirements, which was reduced to an hour in mid-September 2014 as WLUK took the Fox-offered E/I block Xploration Station, which features two hours of compliant programming.
Since becoming a Fox affiliate in 1995, WLUK has featured an extensive amount of local news coverage (see below). Local non-news programming includes Living with Amy, which debuted in September 2008 and currently airs in the 10 a.m. weekday time slot; hosted by former former Good Day Wisconsin anchor Amy Hanten, Living features lifestyle, cooking, and paid business spotlight segments, with the cooking segments mainly sponsored by local supermarket chain Festival Foods, which has made a recipe compilation book featuring previous Living with Amy recipes available in-store.
During the Green Bay Packers season, WLUK airs an assortment of Packers-related programming, including Inside the Huddle, which offers previews, reviews, and analysis of Packer games on Sunday mornings and Monday evenings, as well as the Packers' annual "Fan Night" scrimmage in August and extended newscasts with training camp coverage. Also airing during the Packers season is The Better Half; hosted by Rachel Manek and airing Friday mornings at 10AM, the show features interviews, discussions, and advice from wives and girlfriends of Packers players and coaches.
WLUK-TV presently broadcasts 38 hours of local newscasts each week (with 6 hours on weekdays and 4 hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among the Green Bay market's broadcast television stations and the second-highest among Wisconsin's television stations (behind Milwaukee Fox affiliate WITI, which carries 52 hours each week).
In addition to its main facilities, the station operates a Valley Newsroom on West College Avenue in Appleton along U.S. 41. The station has its own weather radar, known as "Fox 11 StormTrackerX", at its main studios on Lombardi Avenue. The station also maintains a tower camera on its Doppler tower known as the "Lambeau Cam" which is mainly pointed in the direction of Lambeau Field.
The station dropped its nightly newscast in 1967 and did not resume regular local news broadcasts until 1971. However, WLUK did occasionally run documentaries and sports programs to fulfill Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public service regulations as well as a weekly commentary by Appleton Post-Crescent editor John Torinus. After gaining the Fox affiliation in August 1995, this station expanded its local news offerings: in its first year with the network, local news ran on weekdays from 6 to 8 a.m. (the morning newscast being extended by one hour and syndicated programming filling the 8 a.m. hour to fill timeslots vacated by the departure of Today), 5 to 6:30 p.m. (with a half-hour added at 5:30 p.m. to fill the timeslot vacated by the departure of NBC Nightly News), and 9 to 10:30 p.m. The 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts were eventually dropped by the early 2000s and replaced with syndicated programming, while the morning newscast expanded over time to four hours; additional morning newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays were added later in the 2000s.
In 2007 (during Fox's coverage of the Major League Baseball League Championship Series), WLUK's 9 p.m. newscast began to air over a leased access channel on Time Warner Cable on nights in which Fox broadcasts sports programming or movies during the primetime hours that run into the 9 p.m. timeslot on channel 11; WCWF took over carriage of the preempted/delayed 9 p.m. newscasts in October 2010, as a result of the SSA between WCWF and WLUK. On June 5, 2007, WLUK replaced WGBA-TV as the provider of weather updates for the 11-station Midwest Communications radio cluster in Green Bay/Fox Cities and Sheboygan. In 2009, a new addition to the Lombardi Avenue studios was completed to expand the station's newsroom space, and is known as the "Fox 11 Digital Content Center".
Channel 11 was also the first local television station in the market to have full featured iOS and Android Market applications (for mobile phones and tablets), and the only one utilizing Yahoo! Widgets (for Internet-connected televisions). In March 2012, the station's newscasts were moved into the Content Center as the station prepared its studio and facilities for high definition broadcasting, and began construction of an HD-optimized news set. Beginning with the 5 p.m. newscast on April 23, 2012, WLUK became the third station in the Green Bay-Appleton market to begin broadcasting its local news programming in high definition. The station uses the AFD #10 flag to present its newscasts in letterboxed widescreen for viewers watching on cable television through traditional 4:3 sets.
Notable former on-air staff
- Reggie Aqui - reporter and anchor (1998–1999; later working for CNN and now at KGW/Portland, Oregon)
- Sean Cronin - meteorologist (1984-1986, candidate for the U.S. House from Wisconsin's 7th congressional district in 2000)
- Jay Johnson - anchor (1982–1987, previously at WFRV-TV; elected to represent the 8th District in the U.S. House from 1997–1999 and was US Mint Director from 2000–2001; died on October 17, 2009)
- Kyra Phillips (now co-host of CNN's afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom)
- Bill Weir (currently at CNN; former co-anchor of ABC's GMA Weekend and Nightline and sports anchor of WGN Morning News)
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||1080i||16:9||WLUK HD||Main WLUK-TV programming / Fox|
WLUK-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 51 to VHF channel 11. On August 17, 2011, the station increased its transmitter power from 17.19 kW to 40 kW. Prior to this, Madison Fox affiliate WMSN-TV had broadcast its digital signal on channel 11, WLUK had to decrease its transmitter power to prevent interference with that station; when WMSN moved their digital channel to the UHF band to address reception issues in the Madison area, WLUK applied to the FCC to increase power once again.
In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, WLUK is only available over-the-air in Menominee County and via a low powered digital translator in Escanaba. Despite this, WLUK was formerly carried by Charter Communications in the West and Central Upper Peninsula, along with WLUC-DT2 except in Gogebic County which is covered by the signal of Duluth, Minnesota's Fox affiliate KQDS-TV and the Eastern Upper Peninsula which is covered by WWUP-DT 10.2 (a standard definition digital simulcast of Cadillac, Michigan's WFQX-TV). WLUK can also be seen on Charter in Ludington, Michigan, across Lake Michigan from the Green Bay area.
Until April 2008, WLUK's high definition signal was only available over-the-air as the station had maintained edicts going back to its ownership under Emmis not to allow local cable or satellite providers to broadcast its digital signal without paid retransmission consent. LIN TV continued to apply this policy after its purchase of the Emmis stations and eventually extended it further to the remainder of its existing stations. Station officials kept their stance against local pay television providers defending the station's stance on WLUK's website and in on-air promotions. The first provider to carry WLUK-DT was Dish Network as part of a March 13, 2008 carriage agreement with LIN TV. Originally, the signal was to be added in May 2008, but Dish began offering HD feeds of the Green Bay stations early on April 16, surprised viewers with WLUK carried on channel 5163. DirecTV followed on June 8.
With retransmission agreements firmed up with the satellite providers, LIN TV began to pursue the market's major cable providers for new deals. Charter was the first to be affected with its carriage agreement with WLUK expiring on July 1. By June 11, Charter and LIN reached a new agreement under undisclosed terms and WLUK-DT began to be carried on digital channel 611 shortly thereafter; AT&T U-verse struck an agreement to carry the digital signal on June 30, 2008, while Comcast's Manitowoc system offered compensation to carry WLUK-DT on June 12 on digital channel 234. This left Time Warner Cable as the lone holdout in the area to carry the HD feed as the provider and LIN TV had not come to an agreement nationally.
With no success from either viewer pressure or contentious negotiations, the system was forced to pull WLUK from its systems on October 3, 2008. Time Warner quickly offered free antennas for customers to receive the station. WLUK encouraged viewers to switch to Dish Network and U-verse in order to continue to watch the station in some form. In the month that followed, the ratings of LIN TV stations affected by the Time Warner dispute plunged, while viewers complained about the loss of Green Bay Packers and MLB Playoff games on WLUK.
By the time of the 2008 World Series, Time Warner Cable made an odd but creative move to allow its viewers to watch the games by offering Fox Sports en Espanol on basic cable, which carried the Series in Spanish while encouraging viewers to turn down the Spanish play-by-play audio and listen to the game in English on ESPN Radio affiliate WDUZ. Eventually the two companies came to a new carriage agreement on October 29, and WLUK's analog signal was restored on the same day with WLUK-DT being added on digital channel 712 (currently 1012) shortly thereafter, giving the station's digital signal full cable and satellite carriage on par with the other "Big Three" network affiliates.
On March 5, 2011, WLUK was removed from Dish Network as LIN and Dish could not come to terms on a new carriage agreement, and was restored when a new agreement was reached on March 12. WCWF remained unaffected as LIN's purchase of that station had not yet been finalized and was under the terms of their pre-WLUK SSA carriage agreement negotiated with ACME Communications.
Removal from out-of-market cable providers
On September 4, 2012, WLUK's signal was removed by Charter Communications systems in the Upper Peninsula and Marquette, and from systems in Sheboygan County, Lomira (both with WITI in-market) and Montello (part of the Madison market served by WMSN-TV) on September 27, 2012. This was due not to either the station or LIN removing access to the station, but contractual agreements by the Fox network itself which disallow signal duplication of network programming by an out-of-market signal despite the station's longtime service to each area, a source of controversy already in other duplicative market areas in the past. WITI added the WLUK-produced The Better Half to their Friday afternoon schedule for the Milwaukee market that year, which has since moved to WTMJ. WLUK continues to present the forecasts on Midwest Communications' Sheboygan radio stations despite the loss of coverage on that city's cable provider.
- The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says September 11, while the Television and Cable Factbook says August 9.
- Broadcasting Magazine, Oct. 12, 1964, page 54.
- "Company Town Annex". Los Angeles Times. July 29, 1994. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- "Company News; Fox Adds 3 Network-Affiliated Stations". August 27, 1994. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- "NBC asks FCC to put brakes on Fox's Expansion Plans". The Deseret News (via the New York Times News Service). September 27, 1994. Retrieved May 9, 2014..
- "NBC drops opposition to Fox". Broadcasting & Cable. February 20, 1995. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- Carter, Bill (April 28, 1995). "The Media Business; F.C.C. Approves Purchase of TV Station by Fox Unit". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Fox Broadcasting Company Awarded NFC Broadcast Rights
- Schneider, Michael (November 7, 2001). "Fox outgrows kids programs". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- LIN, ACME Share Services in Three Markets, Broadcasting & Cable, June 4, 2010.
- LIN And Acme In 3 New SSA Deals, TVNewsCheck, June 4, 2010.
- TV Station Mega Merger: Media General, LIN Set $1.6 Billion Deal from Variety (March 21, 2014)
- Media General acquiring LIN Media for $1.6 billion, Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2014.
- Media Gen/LIN To Sell/Swap In Five Markets, TVNewsCheck, March 21, 2014.
- "Media General, LIN Sell Stations In 5 Markets". TVNewsCheck. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Sinclair Broadcast Group Closes on Certain Station Acquisitions and Divestitures with Media General, Press Release, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Retrieved 19 December, 2014
- Fall 2014 program preview from Fox11Online.com (9/5/2014)
- Northern Wisconsin Fox station opens news and content center, Broadcast Engineering, June 22, 2009.
- Cover Photos
- A look at Fox 11's High Definition studio
- Eggerton, John (August 26, 2007). "CNN Adds a Web Anchor". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WLUK
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- FOX 11 WLUK-TV Upgrades Signal Power to 40 KWatts ERP
- DISH Network(R) and LIN TV Reach Retransmission and Marketing Agreement, Sys-Con Media (via Business Wire), March 13, 2008
- LIN TV, WLUK sign retransmission pact with DirecTV
- Breaking: Charter, LIN TV reach tentative deal to continue carriage of WLUK, add HD
- Statement from Charter on Carriage Agreement with WLUK-TV
- AT&T to launch U-Verse June 30th
- LIN TV, WLUK ink long-term retransmission deal with Comcast
- LIN TV refuses Time Warner an extension, will pull WLUK off at midnight
- TWC Wisconsin offers World Series to LIN TV-area customers, Engadet, October 22, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
- Time Warner Cable creatively bypassing WLUK for World Series
- LIN TV, Time Warner Cable Reach Retrans Deal, AdWeek, October 29, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
- WLUK restored as LIN TV and Time Warner reach agreement, HD signal now available
- Press release (3 August 2012). "Marquette and Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan: WLUK-TV11 Green Bay, WI". Charter Communications. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Press release (3 August 2012). "Sheboygan, Lomira and Montello, WI: WLUK-TV11 Green Bay, WI". Charter Communications. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Kerhin, Brian (1 October 2012). "Where Did Fox 11 Go?". WLUK-TV. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WLUK-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for W40AN-D