WMMP

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WMMP
Wwmp mntv.png
Charleston, South Carolina
Branding My TV Charleston
Slogan My City. My Station.
My TV Charleston.
Channels Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
Subchannels 36.1 MyNetworkTV
36.3 ZUUS Country
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WMMP Licensee, L.P.)
First air date November 1992; 21 years ago (1992-11)
Call letters' meaning Max Media Properties
(former owner)
Sister station(s) WTAT-TV
Former callsigns WCTP (1992-1995)
WBNU (1995-1997)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
36 (1992-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1992-1995)
The WB (1995-1997)
UPN (1997-2006)
The Tube, TheCoolTV (on DT2)
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 the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for the Lowcountry area of South Carolina licensed to Charleston. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 36 from a transmitter in Awendaw. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WMMP operates Fox affiliate WTAT-TV (owned by Cunningham Broadcasting) through a local marketing agreement (LMA). The two share studios on Arco Lane in North Charleston (though with a Charleston address). Syndicated programming on this channel includes: Maury, and The Jerry Springer Show.

History[edit]

WMMP signed-on in November 1992 as WCTP, an independent station, thus filling the void left by WTAT joining Fox six years earlier. It joined The WB as a charter affiliate on January 11, 1995. On November 20, it changed its calls to WBNU. In 1997, Max Media Properties (a company partially related to the present-day Max Media) bought the station, changed its calls to the current WMMP, and switched its affiliation to UPN. The WB was relegated to cable in Charleston for the remainder of its run.

Only a year later, Max Media sold WMMP to Sinclair, giving the station its third owner in as many years. Sinclair already operated WTAT, then owned by Sullivan Broadcasting, through an outsourcing agreement. When Sinclair tried to acquire Sullivan's stations outright in 2001, it could not legally keep both WMMP and WTAT because Charleston has only six full-power stations (too few to legally permit a duopoly).

Although WTAT was longer-established, Sinclair opted to keep WMMP and sold WTAT to Glencairn, Ltd. That company was owned by Edwin Edwards, a former Sinclair executive, and appeared to be a minority-owned company. However, nearly all of Glencairn's stock was controlled by the Smith family founders of Sinclair. In effect, the company now had a duopoly in the Charleston market which was a violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. Glencairn and Sinclair further circumvented the rules by crafting a local marketing agreement with WMMP, with WMMP as senior partner.

In 2001, the FCC fined Sinclair $40,000 for illegally controlling Glencairn. Later that year, it was renamed Cunningham Broadcasting. However, nearly all of Cunningham's stock is still controlled by trusts in the names of the children of the Smith brothers, so for all intents and purposes Sinclair still has a duopoly in Charleston. Glencairn and Cunningham have been accused of serving as a shell corporation which Sinclair has been using for the purpose of circumventing FCC ownership rules. Prior to its 2007 shutdown, WMMP aired The Tube on its second digital subchannel.

Soon after Fox announced the formation of MyNetworkTV, Sinclair announced that most of its WB and UPN affiliates, including WMMP, would affiliate with that network. Since the launch of MyNetworkTV in 2006, WMMP has aired any Fox programming in the event WTAT preempts the network for weather/emergency updates or local specials.

On July 29, 2013, Allbritton Communications Company announced that it would sell its entire television group, including WCIV, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[1] 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.[2]

On December 6, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) informed Sinclair that applications related to the deal need to be "amended or withdrawn," as the existing local marketing agreement between WMMP and WTAT-TV would remain with Sinclair; this would, in effect, create a new LMA between WCIV and WTAT, even though the FCC had ruled in 1999 that such agreements made after November 5, 1996 covering more than 15% of the broadcast day would count toward the ownership limits for the brokering station's owner. In addition, the existing LMA between WMMP and WTAT dates to July 1, 1998, and thus cannot be grandfathered.[3] On March 20, 2014, as part of a restructuring of the Sinclair-Allbritton deal in order to address these ownership conflicts, Sinclair announced that it would sell WMMP to another company in order to receive approval of its purchase of WCIV, and in turn, terminate its shared services agreement with WTAT owner Cunningham Broadcasting (which holds majority stock interest in Cunningham, and has long been used by Sinclair to form LMAs with stations that the company cannot legally own due to FCC ownership limits). Cunningham would acquire the non-license assets of WTAT, and seek to form a shared services agreement with the prospective owner of WMMP.[4][5] 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 use of multicasting, WMMP would both carry its existing programming and inherit WCIV's ABC affiliation, syndicated programming, and news operation.[6][7] Sinclair opted to retain WMMP because its facilities are superior to those of WCIV.[7]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
36.1 720p 16:9 WMMP-MY Main WMMP programming / MyNetworkTV
36.2 480i 4:3 WMMP-CO Dark
36.3 WMMP-TC ZUUS Country

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WMMP shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 36, on February 17, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[9] The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 35 to its analog-era UHF channel 36.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "Sinclair Buying Allbritton Stations For $985M". TVNewsCheck. July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ Kreisman, Barbara A. (December 6, 2013). "Letter to Sinclair and Allbritton legal counsel" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ Sinclair Offers to Sell Stations Ahead of FCC Decision, TVSpy, March 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Sinclair Proposes Restructuring Of Allbritton Transaction In Order To Meet Objections Of The Federal Communications Commission, The Wall Street Journal (via PRNewswire), March 20, 2014.
  6. ^ Eggerton, John (May 29, 2014). "Sinclair Proposes Surrendering Three Licenses to Get Allbritton Deal Done". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Jessell, Harry A. (May 29, 2014). "Sinclair Giving Up 3 Stations To Appease FCC". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WMMP
  9. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations

External links[edit]