|This article is outdated. (January 2013)|
|Ithaca/Syracuse, New York|
(Word of God Fellowship, Inc.)
|First air date||2002|
|Call letters' meaning||New York Ithaca|
|Former channel number(s)||52 (UHF) (2002-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Univision, to 2009|
|Transmitter power||60 kW|
WNYI is a television station in Ithaca, New York, serving the Elmira and Syracuse television markets. The station, now owned by Daystar, had formerly broadcast on analogue UHF channel 52 before going silent in 2009 as a result of the US digital TV transition. WNYI is rebroadcast in Syracuse on WDSS-LP 38.1, a 15,000-Watt low-power digital television station that broadcasts on UHF Channel 38.
The original construction permit was issued to "Ithaca 52 Inc." in December 1999, valid for three years, with the first program tests run in late 2002 to meet an FCC deadline. The initial broadcast consisted of 26 kW of colour bars from a tower location near Ithaca College.
The station was sold to Caroline Pawley in June 2003 and to Equity in 2004; as a Univisión affiliate it had been fed remotely via satellite from Equity Broadcasting's central automated satellite hub in Little Rock, Arkansas since 2004. WNYI, licensed as a full service station despite its low signal power terrestrially, had applied for must-carry access to Time Warner Cable in Syracuse, New York in May 2005. While Ithaca is nominally in the Syracuse market area, the terrestrial WNYI signal had always been inadequate to reach Syracuse or other communities outside of Ithaca itself. The station had made various applications for an increase in licensed power but no decisions had been made by the Federal Communications Commission on these requests.
WNYI was the only full-service television station in upstate New York to provide Spanish language programming.
At auction on April 16, 2009, Daystar bought WNYI, pending approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It is likely that Daystar will change programming to its namesake network imminently. Univision programming briefly moved to WOBX-LP channel 35, formerly a local The Box affiliate, in the Syracuse market; it had since switched affiliations to AMGTV, leaving the region (and, for that matter, all of upstate New York with no local Spanish-language television station.. Univision has since been restored to Time Warner Cable systems in the area using the network's default national cable feed.
Because it was granted an original construction permit after the FCC finalized the DTV allotment plan on April 21, 1997, the station did not receive a companion channel for a digital television station. Instead, at the end of the digital TV conversion period for full-service stations, WNYI would be required to turn off its analog signal and turn on its digital signal on another channel (called a "flash-cut"). WNYI planned to move to channel 20.
Both the ability of WNYI to transition to digital and its ability to continue broadcasting were directly jeopardized as on December 8, 2008, the licensee's parent corporation filed a petition for bankruptcy relief under chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code, case #4:08-BK-17646-M, US district court for the district of Arkansas, notifying the FCC that "This station must obtain post-petition financing and court approval before digital facilities may be constructed. The station must cease analogue broadcasting on (the end of DTV transition in) 2009, regardless of whether digital facilities are operational by that date. The station will file authority to remain silent if so required by the FCC."
While the DTV Delay Act extended this deadline to June 12, 2009, Equity had applied for an extension of the digital construction permit in order to retain the broadcast license after the station went dark. WNYI could not continue analogue operations as it was a full service station on a frequency which is to be reallocated for non-broadcast use at the end of the digital television transition.
On June 12, 2009 a license to cover was granted to Word of God Fellowship for WNYI by the FCC. That firm was required to construct digital television facilities on an in-core frequency before WNYI could be returned to the air, which needed to occur before June 12, 2010, lest the license be automatically forfeited to the FCC. On the weekend of May 22–23, WNYI commenced digital broadcasts on channel 20, within weeks of its license deadline.
- Northeast Radio Watch, December 2002 WNYI as "the long-delayed debut of a TV station that almost didn't make it"
- Northeast Radio Watch, April 2004 announcement of Equity acquisition of WNYI, WNGS
- SPANISH-LANGUAGE TV SEEKING CABLE ACCESS; STATION IN ITHACA INSISTS TIME WARNER MUST CARRY ITS PROGRAMS IN CNY, William LaRue, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), May 24, 2005
- Fybush, Scott (2010-05-24). Two Station Sales in New York. NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved 2010-05-24.