|Branding||The CW Baltimore|
|Channels||Digital: 40 (UHF)
Virtual: 54 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||54.1 The CW
|Affiliations||The CW (2006-present)|
(operating through a LMA by
Sinclair Broadcast Group)
(Baltimore (WNUV-TV) Licensee, Inc.)
|First air date||July 1, 1982|
|Call letters' meaning||NUVision, Inc. (founding owner)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
54 (UHF, 1982–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1982–1993)
The WB (1998–2006)
|Transmitter power||845 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WNUV, virtual channel 54 (digital channel 40), is a CW-affiliated (CBS - Columbia Broadcasting System and Warner Bros. syndicates/networks) on a television station located in Baltimore, Maryland. The station is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, and is operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group through a local marketing agreement, it is part of a virtual triopoly with Fox affiliate and Sinclair's Baltimore flagship WBFF (Channel 45) and carries MyNetworkTV affiliate, WUTB (Channel 24). All three stations share studios and office facilities on 41st Street in the Woodberry section of northern Baltimore City, and WNUV's transmitter was based in Woodlawn in western Baltimore County, but moved to landmark "Television Hill", on the heights west of the Jones Falls in northern Baltimore City during the Digital/DTV switch to the 1280 foot tall WBFF-TV, Channel 45 tower.
WNUV was formerly carried on DirecTV from January 2007 to January 2008, as the satellite provider's distant CW affiliate, intended to serve the few areas of the eastern United States where The CW's programming is not available through a local station; it has since been replaced by WDCW in Washington, D.C. on Channel 50 there.
WNUV-TV began broadcasting on July 1, 1982, originally owned by a local firm called NUVision, Incorporated. The station was Baltimore's third UHF commercial outlet, but was only the second on the air at the time (alongside eventual sister station WBFF, Channel 45 which went on the air in Baltimore in 1971). Channel 54 was originally programmed as a hybrid of weekday business news from the Financial News Network (FNN - now part of CNBC (Consumer News-Business Network) and the subscription television service SuperTV. FNN programming ran during the daytime hours, while subscription television programs from the "SuperTV" syndicated programming network aired during the evening and late night hours, as well as on Sunday afternoons.
In the fall of 1984, WNUV-TV dropped weekday FNN programming and slowly began to add general entertainment programs, such as cartoons, off-network reruns and movies (which the station had already been running on weekends), while retaining Super TV programming at night and on Sunday afternoons. In the spring of 1986, the station dropped the SuperTV service and became a full-time conventional independent station, adopting the on-air brand name "Baltimore 54". At that time, Channel 54 ran morning and afternoon children's programming similar to WBFF's classic 1970's-era children's afternoon programming host "Captain Chesapeake", hosted from a mock space ship by a science fiction "Star Trek"-like crew of characters known as the "54 Space Corps". Also, during the mid-1980s, the station IDs included a "Pet of the Day", each of which was offered by a local viewer. WNUV quickly established itself as a solid competitor to WBFF to the Baltimore audiences (like most American TV cities), long used for three decades to the three main stations/networks CBS, NBC, and the later ABC, carried over from the days of national radio programming, with the more recent 1980's addition of Fox.
In 1989, WNUV-TV was bought by Abry Communications. Under its ownership, the station remained a full-time independent and picked up the broadcast rights to some Baltimore Orioles games produced by Home Team Sports. The station showed Orioles games through 2006.
In 1994, Abry merged with Sinclair Broadcast Group. However, Sinclair already owned WBFF and could not keep both stations. Accordingly, WNUV was purchased by Glencairn Ltd., headed by former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards. The Smith family, owners and founders of Sinclair (which launched WBFF in 1971) owned 97% of Glencairn's stock, so Sinclair effectively owned both stations. Sinclair further circumvented the rules by signing a local marketing agreement with Glencairn, under which WNUV's operations were merged with those of WBFF. In effect, Sinclair had emasculated WBFF's major rival. WNUV was Glencairn's first station, and similar deals resulted in Glencairn owning eleven stations all operated by Sinclair under LMAs. The Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) eventually fined Sinclair $40,000 in 2001 for illegally controlling Glencairn. WNUV was an affiliate of the Prime Time Entertainment Network programming service from 1993 until 1995.
WNUV became the original Baltimore affiliate of the United Paramount Network, when that primetime network launched on January 16, 1995. However in January 1998 – through an affiliation deal that resulted in Sinclair's five UPN affiliates switching to the network – Channel 54 became the market's WB affiliate, replacing low-power station WMJF-LP. The UPN affiliation moved to Home Shopping Network station WHSW (Channel 24), which had been purchased by UPN part-owner Chris-Craft Industries and changed its call letters/callsign to WUTB, which stood for the new local cable TV company, United Television of Baltimore.
Sinclair tried to purchase WNUV outright in 2001 as part of a merger with Glencairn. However, the FCC turned down the request because Baltimore was one of six markets where Sinclair could not legally have a duopoly. The Baltimore market, despite its relatively large size (it is the 24th-largest market) has only seven full-power stations (or six, if the two Maryland Public Television of PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) stations licensed in the market are treated as one) – too few to legally permit a duopoly (the FCC requires a market to have eight unique station owners once a duopoly is formed – effectively limiting duopolies to markets with at least nine full-power stations). As a result, WNUV was one of five stations retained by Glencairn, which was renamed Cunningham Broadcasting. However, Cunningham (and WNUV) is still effectively owned by Sinclair since most of its stock is held by trusts owned by the Smith family. There is nearly uncontestable evidence that Glencairn/Cunningham has served as a corporate shell used by Sinclair to circumvent FCC ownership rules.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that they would shut down the two smaller independent networks, The WB and UPN and merge some of their programming on a new network to be called "The CW". One month later, Fox, which had bought WUTB in 2001, announced the formation of MyNetworkTV, with WUTB and the other Fox-owned UPN affiliates as the nuclei. Conventional wisdom suggested that WNUV would become Baltimore's CW affiliate. However, when The CW released the initial list of affiliates outside its core group of stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting and CBS Television Stations, WNUV was not included on the list. Sinclair later announced that it would affiliate most of its WB and UPN affiliates with "MyNetworkTV" a month after that network announced its formation, leading to speculation that WNUV would revert to being an independent station. It was not until May 2, 2006, that Sinclair entered into a deal to affiliate the company's UPN and WB affiliates that did not sign with MyNetworkTV, including WNUV, with The CW. The station's branding switched in September to "The CW Baltimore". The CW Television Network commenced operations on September 18, 2006.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|54.1||720p||16:9||WNUV-HD||Main WNUV programming / The CW|
WNUV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 54, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 40, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 54.
After the conversion to digital programming with the availability of additional "sub-channels" or "side-channels" to be broadcast on the Channel 54 signal, two syndicated networks showing Country Music videos, now on the "ZUUS Country" network (like the old "Country Music TV" (CMT) cable channel beginning in 1983) and "TheCoolTV" with rock music videos, similar to what formerly had played on MTV [Music Television] and VH-1 [Video Hits One] also from the 1980's in the earlier days of national cable TV programming, were broadcast to the Baltimore audience beginning in 2010. Earlier in 2013, the Cool TV network went dark for some business reorganization and was recently replaced according to a new agreement with Sinclair Group in June 2014 by a new syndicated programming digital network called "GetTV" (from CPT Holdings/CPE US Networks III, Inc. for Sony Pictures Entertainment) with older usually black & white movies from the 1930's to 1950's such as what has been popular and broadcast for two decades on the "Turner Classic Movies" (TCM) cable TV channel since the late 1980's, competing with other similar networks such as "This TV", "Cozi TV" or of older ("classic") 1950's to 1970's-era television series on "Antenna TV", "Retro TV", "Me TV", "Bounce", etc. which are available nationally in various cities/localities and some in the Washington or the Baltimore television markets. Combined with a new avenue of additional commercial and advertisement saturation segments, this enables a more interesting program option for audiences with only a TV set equipped to receive local broadcast stations with no increasingly expensive cable hook-up or satellite dishes something different to watch rather than the usual main ABC, NBC, CBS, or Fox television networks programming or what their individual local stations run during off-prime time hours, plus simply additional profit-making systems.
Testing new technologies
Sinclair has twice used WNUV as a testing ground for new television technologies.
In February 2013, WNUV received FCC authorization to begin conducting tests of the OFDM-based DVB-T2 terrestrial television standard and other future television broadcast standards, with the aim of identifying the feasibility of next-generation standards for mobile device usage and 4K ultra-HD; the experimental broadcasts began on the morning of March 28. The tests run between 1am and 5am and do not interrupt cable reception; the lost programs are aired on a digital subchannel of WBFF.
WNUV launched a 6:30 p.m. newscast in 1997 called "UPN 54 News at 6:30" (changed to "WB 54 News at 6:30" in January 1998). The newscast shared the same news set and anchors as Channel 45 - WBFF's 10 p.m. newscast. In January 2005, Sinclair decided to move Channel 54 - WNUV's 6:30 p.m. newscast over to WBFF airing at 5:30 p.m. weeknights. The station currently airs no live newscasts, but airs rebroadcasts of WBFF's weeknight 11 p.m. newscast at 12:30 a.m. the following morning.
- Jeff Barnd - weeknights at 12:30 a.m.
- Jennifer Gilbert - Monday-Thursdays at 12:30 a.m.
- Karen Parks - Fridays at 12:30 a.m.; also weeknight reporter
- SkyWatch Weather
- Vytas Reid (member, AMS) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:30, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Emily Gracey - meteorologist; weeknight fill-in, also "Hometown Hot Spot" feature reporter
- Sports team
- Bruce Cunningham - sports director; weeknights at 12:30 a.m.
- Morgan Adsit - sports anchor; fill-in
- Jeff Abell - general assignment reporter; weekend anchor and fill-in anchor
- Kathleen Cairns - general assignment reporter
- Keith Daniels - general assignment reporter
- Judy Kurtz - general assignment and feature reporter
- Joy Lepola - investigative reporter
- Karen Parks - general assignment reporter
- Melinda Roeder - general assignment reporter
- John Rydell - general assignment reporter
- Myranda Stephens - general assignment reporter
- WB woos and wins Sinclair, "Broadcasting & Cable", July 21, 1997.
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- News Corp. Unveils My Network TV, "Broadcasting & Cable", February 22, 2006.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WNUV
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- Dickson, Glen (2009-07-13). "Special Report: Mobile DTV Heats Up". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- Lung, Doug (2013-02-21). "Details on WNUV's Experimental License to Test OFDM". TV Technology. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- Dodson, Andrew (2013-03-28). "With CFP, Air Test, ATSC 3.0 Off And Running". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- Eggerton, John (2013-02-19). "Exclusive: FCC OKs Test of TV Transmission Standard". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2013-06-26.