|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012)|
|City of license||Madison|
|Branding||Fox 47 (general)
Fox 47 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 49 (UHF)
Virtual: 47 (PSIP)
47.3 ZUUS Country
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WMSN Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||June 8, 1986|
|Call letters' meaning||MadiSoN|
|Sister station(s)||Milwaukee: WVTV, WCGV-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
47 (UHF, 1986-2009)
|Former affiliations||DT1: Independent (6/1986-10/1986)
DT2: TheCoolTV (9/2010-8/2012)
|Transmitter power||310 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WMSN-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Madison, Wisconsin and serving Madison and Southern Wisconsin's Eastern Ridges and Lowlands. The station broadcasts a high definition signal on UHF channel 49 (or virtual channel 47.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Madison's Middleton Junction section. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WMSN's main studios are located on Big Sky Drive on Madison's west side. Programming on WMSN includes the full Fox lineup, along with syndicated programs including Judge Judy, The People's Court, and The Arsenio Hall Show, and reruns of such shows as Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|47.1||720p||16:9||WMSN-TV||Main WMSN-TV programming / Fox|
WMSN-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 47, 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 VHF channel 11. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 47.
The other commercial stations converted to digital the week of February 17 while public station WHA-TV converted on April 5. Due in part to interference concerns with fellow Fox affiliate WLUK-TV (which transmits on VHF channel 11 from Green Bay) WMSN filed a construction permit to move its digital signal to UHF channel 49, a change was made on November 5, 2010 and resulted in Madison being the only all-UHF market in Wisconsin. It also made ABC affiliate WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina the only Sinclair-owned station on the VHF dial.
WMSN-TV commenced broadcasting on June 8, 1986, airing on analog UHF channel 47. It was the first new commercial station to launch in the Madison market since WISC-TV signed on thirty years earlier. One of WMSN's earlier programs was Big Sky Theater, a Saturday night presentation of classic movies (mostly westerns) from the drive-in era. (The program's name was an acknowledgement to the Big Sky Drive-In Theater, which was located near the present day WMSN studios).
After a few months as an Independent, the station joined Fox as a charter affiliate on October 9, 1986. Since 1994, as a result of the Fox network's NFC football package, WMSN has been Madison's primary home for the Green Bay Packers; these broadcasts are routinely the highest-rated programs in the market during football season.
After completing its November 2010 switch in physical digital channels, WMSN added The Country Network on its third digital subchannel, joining TheCoolTV, which was added to subchannel 47.2 in September 2010. Though not immediately after their launches, both subchannels would be picked up by Charter Cable, the Madison area's cable provider. WMSN and other Sinclair stations dropped TheCoolTV in August 2012 at the expiration of their carriage agreement; since that time, subchannel 47.2 has not transmitted.
WMSN has been a Fox affiliate since the network's 1986 launch; the station's relationship with Fox will continue through at least 2017, the result of Fox's affiliation agreement with WMSN and Sinclair's 18 other Fox stations, a deal reached on May 15, 2012.
In 1999, ABC affiliate WKOW (then owned by the Shockley Communications Corporation) entered into a news share agreement with WMSN, which resulted in Madsion's first nightly prime time newscast, known as Fox 47 News at 9. The 35-minute weeknight broadcast (30 minutes on weekends) was originally produced from a secondary set at WKOW's studios on Tokay Boulevard in Madison. The newscasts employed no WKOW on-air branding, instead using Sinclair's standard music-and-graphics packages. Although the newscasts featured appearances from additional WKOW personnel, WMSN maintained separate weeknight anchors that normally did not appear on WKOW except to fill-in when needed. Fox 47 News at 9 is produced in a pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition format, as WMSN lacks a high definition-capable master control at its Big Sky Drive studios (outside of Fox network programming, WMSN airs no content in HD).
On January 1, 2012, WMSN's news share agreement with WKOW expired after nearly 13 years (WMSN General Manager Kerry Johnson termed the split as a "business decision"). On that same date, WMSN began a new news outsourcing agreement with WISC-TV, the Morgan Murphy Media-owned CBS affiliate that had been producing its own 9PM newscast for its TVW subchannel, a newscast that was cancelled due to the WMSN agreement. As a result, Fox 47 News at 9 is now produced by WISC and originates from that station's Raymond Road studios. In the same manner as during the WKOW years, Fox 47 News at 9 uses an identity, branding, and anchor team separate from that of WISC-TV, as well as continued use of Sinclair's standard news graphics and music packages; the same WISC news set is used for Fox 47 News at 9, though duratrans are used in the background to help differentiate the newscast from that of WISC. Fox 47 News at 9 also continues to be produced in a 4:3 SD format, unlike WISC-TV, which has produced its own newscasts in HD since 2008 (WKOW has done the same for its newscasts since 2010). Fox 47 News at 9 is currently the only prime time newscast in the Madison market (in addition to the aforementioned TVW newscast, WBUW also aired a 9PM weeknight newscast from 2003 to 2005).
+ denotes personnel normally not seen on WISC-TV
- + Michelle Carolla - Sunday through Thursday news
- Jennifer Hoff - Friday and Saturday
- Karin Swanson (CBM Seal of Approval) - weeknight meteorologist
- Bob Lesh - weekend meteorologist
- Gary Canalte - meteorologist
- + Kevin Lewis - Sports Director
- Erick Rajala - Saturday Sports anchor
- Emily Kumlien - sports and fill-in sports anchor
- Jason Nevins - "Fit Club" segment producer
- Margo Spann - Rock County Bureau
- Jessica Arp - politics
- Danikka Lewis
- Marc Lovicott
- Theo Keith
- Andy Choi
- RabbitEars TV Query for WMSN
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Sinclair Reups With Fox, Gets WUTB Option, TVNewsCheck, May 15, 2012.
- "WISC-TV now providing news services for Fox 47," from Wisconsin State Journal, 1/5/2012