WMMP

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WMMP
Zuus Country Network Logo.png
Charleston, South Carolina
United States
City of license Charleston, South Carolina
Branding WMMP-TV
Channels Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels 4.1 ZUUS Country
Affiliations ZUUS Country (2014-present)
Owner Howard Stirk Holdings
(HSH Charleston (WMMP) Licensee, LLC)
First air date October 23, 1962; 52 years ago (1962-10-23)
Call letters' meaning Max Media Properties
(former owner of channel 36 iteration of station pre-2014)
Sister station(s) WCIV
Former callsigns WCIV (1962-2014)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (VHF, 1962-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1962-1996)
ABC (1996-2014)
DT2:
Me-TV (until 2014)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 583.3 m
Facility ID 9015
Transmitter coordinates 32°56′24″N 79°41′45″W / 32.94000°N 79.69583°W / 32.94000; -79.69583

WMMP is a television station in the Lowcountry area of South Carolina licensed to Charleston. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 34 from a transmitter in Awendaw. It is owned by the Howard Stirk Holdings.

From 2006 through 2014, WMMP (on channel 36) was the MyNetworkTV affiliate for the Charleston region; however, in August 2014, Sinclair acquired Allbritton Communications, owner of ABC affiliate WCIV. Due to ownership conflicts with WMMP, WTAT, and a recent crackdown on joint sales agreements by the FCC, Sinclair elected to sell the WCIV channel 4 license to Howard Stirk Holdings, and moved WCIV's ABC programming and news operation to a subchannel of WMMP's channel 36 signal and license on September 30, 2014. At the same time, the two stations also switched call signs, and what is now WMMP ceased airing ABC programming. As such, the current WMMP is legally an incarnation of WCIV, although as was the case prior to the switch, WMMP's previous MyNetworkTV programming remains on WCIV, virtual channel 36.1.

The station is owned by Howard Stirk Holdings and was licensed to HSH Charleston on December 4, 2014.[1][2] Howard Stirk Holdings will operate WMMP independently of WCIV and WTAT, and not enter into a local marketing agreement with Sinclair.

History[edit]

What is now WMMP launched on October 23, 1962 as WCIV, the third outlet in Charleston. The original license was granted to WTMA-TV but the call letters were later changed to WCIV before it signed-on. It took the NBC affiliation from WCBD-TV (known as WUSN-TV at the time), leaving that station to become a full-time ABC affiliate. The station was originally owned by the Washington Star Company. In 1976, businessman Joe Allbritton bought the Star and sold off the non-television assets in 1978 to form Allbritton Communications.

In 1989, WCIV was almost destroyed when Hurricane Hugo thundered ashore in September of that year. The station's building on the marsh just outside of Mount Pleasant near Sullivan's Island was flooded by the storm surge. WCIV aired from temporary studios near its transmitter site for a time and eventually moved to a new building in 1991.

The station became an ABC affiliate in 1996 as part of Allbritton's affiliation deal with the network. The station has successfully launched the careers of a number of journalists who have gone on to work in network and cable news including Joie Chen, Van Earl Wright, and Fredericka Whitfield. Many more including Dave Lucas, Monica McNeil, and Dan Potash have moved on to enjoy careers in bigger markets. WCIV coordinates a number of popular annual community events and programs including Lowcountry's Promise and Gospel Fest.

Sale to Howard Stirk Holdings; ABC and Me-TV move to channel 36[edit]

On July 29, 2013, Allbritton Communications announced that it would sell its entire television group, including WCIV, to Sinclair.[3] As part of the deal, Sinclair was planning to sell the license assets of WMMP to Howard Stirk Holdings (owned by conservative talk show host Armstrong Williams), but would still operate the station through shared services and joint sales agreements.[4] However, the FCC ruled that such an arrangement would "result in the elimination of the grandfathered status of certain local marketing agreements and thus cause the transactions to violate our local TV ownership rules." However, in December 2013, FCC Video Division Chief Barbara Kreisman ruled that "the proposed transactions would result in the elimination of the grandfathered status of certain local marketing agreements and thus cause the transactions to violate our local TV ownership rules."[5][6]

While Sinclair attempted to sell WMMP and planned to terminate an SSA with the Cunningham-owned Fox affiliate WTAT, as well as foregoing any operational or financial agreements with the buyers of the stations being sold to other parties,[7][8] on May 29, 2014, Sinclair informed the FCC that it had not found a buyer for WMMP and proposed surrendering the WCIV broadcast license; through the use of multicasting, WMMP would both carry its existing programming and inherit WCIV's ABC affiliation, syndicated programming, and news operation.[9][10] Sinclair opted to retain WMMP because its facilities are superior to those of WCIV.[10] However, following the closure of the Allbritton deal, Sinclair reached a deal to sell WCIV's license to Howard Stirk Holdings, and offer it studio space at WMMP's existing facilities.[11][12][13]

The transition process began on September 25, 2014, as a simulcast of WCIV was added to WMMP's second subchannel, along with Me-TV on 36.3 (replacing ZUUS Country on that channel), and MyTV Charleston remaining on 36.1. The two stations then swapped licenses; WCIV's call sign was moved to the WMMP license and virtual channel 36, while WMMP's call sign was moved to the WCIV license which will be sold to Howard Stirk Holdings. The original WCIV signal went silent on September 30, 2014, making ABC exclusive to WCIV-DT2.[14] The ZUUS Country network, which was displaced on 36.3 by WCIV's former DT2 affiliation, Me-TV after the move of the ABC and Me-TV schedules to the channel 36 license, currently airs on WCIV as an interim source of programming while the sale of WMMP to Howard Stirk Holdings is in progress.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[15]
4.1 480i 4:3 WMMP-TC ZUUS Country

On October 1, 2011, WCIV added Me-TV on digital subchannel 4.2,[16] replacing The Local AccuWeather Channel. With the transition to WMMP, 4.2's signal moved to 36.3.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WCIV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[17] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 34,[18] using PSIP to display WCIV's virtual channel as 4 on digital television receivers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official FCC Blog". Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "FCC Broadcast Actions". Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Heath, Thomas; Wilgoren, Debbi (July 29, 2013). "Allbritton to sell 7 TV stations, including WJLA, to Sinclair for $985 million". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Sinclair Buying Allbritton Stations For $985M". TVNewsCheck. July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ Halonen, Doug (December 6, 2013). "FCC Targets Sinclair Sidecar Deals In 3 Mkts.". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ Hagey, Keach (December 6, 2013). "FCC Asks Sinclair to Revise Plans to Use 'Sidecar' Companies". The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company). Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ Eck, Kevin (March 21, 2014). "Sinclair Offers to Sell Stations Ahead of FCC Decision". TVSpy. Mediabistro. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Sinclair Proposes Restructuring of Allbritton Transaction in Order To Meet Objections of the Federal Communications Commission" (Press release). Baltimore: PR Newswire. March 20, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2014 – via The Wall Street Journal. 
  9. ^ Eggerton, John (May 29, 2014). "Sinclair Proposes Surrendering Three Licenses to Get Allbritton Deal Done". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Jessell, Harry A. (May 29, 2014). "Sinclair Giving Up 3 Stations To Appease FCC". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License". CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission. Charleston Television, LLC. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Howard Stirk Holdings Grabs WCIV for $50,000". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "DESCRIPTION OF TRANSACTION AND UNIQUE SERVICE TO BE PROVIDED". Howard Stirk Holdings. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Time to rescan for ABC News 4's new channel". ABCNews4.com. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  15. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WMMP
  16. ^ Me-TV Beefs Up Roster With 10 New Stations, TVNewsCheck, September 15, 2011.
  17. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  18. ^ CDBS Print

External links[edit]