|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2014)|
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)|
|Owner||Cottonwood Communications, LLC
(operated through SSA by Ironwood Communications, LLC)
(Cottonwood Communications Portland, LLC)
|First air date||August 13, 1997|
|Former callsigns||Portland, MainE|
|Former channel number(s)||35 (UHF analog, 1997-2008)
28 (UHF digital)
|Former affiliations||UPN (primary, 1997-2006)
The WB (secondary, 1997-2001)
|Transmitter power||14.35 kW|
WPME is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for Southern Maine and Northern New Hampshire licensed to Lewiston, Maine. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 35 from a transmitter in South Gray along I-95/Maine Turnpike/Gold Star Memorial Highway. Owned by Cottonwood Communications, LLC, the station is operated by Ironwood Communications, LLC through a joint sales agreement (JSA). This makes it sister to CW affiliate WPXT and the two share studios on Ledgeview Drive in Westbrook. Syndicated programming on WPME includes Cougar Town, How I Met Your Mother, and Friends among others.
The station signed-on August 13, 1997 under a time brokerage agreement. It was owned by New England Television as sister to then-Fox affiliate WPXT. Prior to WPME's sign-on, Portland, Maine viewers that wanted to watch UPN had to view it on cable via WSBK-TV. Pegasus Communications purchased WPME outright in February 2001. The station maintained primary affiliation with UPN and secondary affiliation with The WB. It aired WB prime time on a tape delay starting at 10. When WPXT switched its affiliation from Fox to The WB, this secondary affiliation was dropped. WPME aired Boston Celtics and Bruins games in the late-1990s and Red Sox baseball until 2002. The Red Sox, owning half of cable sports network NESN, moved the games to that network.
This station's only attempt at local news was a 7 o'clock broadcast (produced by WPXT) in 2001 which was quickly canceled due to low ratings and inconsistent viewership. The station did not air a prime time newscast at 10 like many other UPN affiliates because it would compete with WPXT's nightly broadcast. However, that station's show was simulcasted on WPME for a period of time. Pegasus declared bankruptcy in June 2004 over a dispute with DirecTV over marketing of the direct broadcast satellite service in rural areas. The Pegasus station group was sold in August 2006 to private investment firm CP Media, LLC of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for $55.5 million. CP Media eventually formed a new broadcasting company, New Age Media.
On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced the two networks would end broadcasting and merge. The combined service would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of corporate parents "C"BS (the parent company of UPN) and the "W"arner Bros. unit of Time Warner.
On February 22, News Corporation announced it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming Independent. It was also created to compete against The CW. On March 9, it was announced WPXT would become Portland's CW affiliate. Later on May 1, it was made public WPME would affiliate with MyNetworkTV. The latter joined the News Corporation-owned service on September 5 while WPXT began airing The CW on September 18, 2006.
On June 27, 2008, WPME signed-on a new second digital subchannel to be the "Maine Visitor's Channel". This was dropped in October 2014 to make room for Movies! on 35.2 and QVC on 35.3. It ceased transmission in analog on September 18, 2008 ten months prior to the revised Federal Communications Commission (FCC) digital switchover deadline of June 12, 2009.
Throughout its history, the station has also produced and aired several local programs. From 2009 to 2013 this has included a simulcast of conservative weekday morning program The Ray Richardson Show produced by WLOB. This was seen for an hour from 6:30 until 7:30 featuring short features and news stories from Fox News Radio, local weather forecasts on WPME during commercial breaks, as well as live call-ins from viewers and listeners along with in-studio guests. The broadcast originated from WLOB's facility on Warren Avenue in Portland's Riverton section.
Fellow MyNetworkTV affiliate WZMY-TV, based in Derry, New Hampshire with service to southern areas of the state and Greater Boston, laid-off several employees as part of an overall strategy change in December 2009. Although that station continued to be licensed to Shooting Star Broadcasting, an outsourcing agreement was established with New Age Media resulting in WZMY becoming a sister outlet to WPME. The move was designed to streamline operations and some of its programming options in order to be more hyper-local. WZMY has since been sold to Carlisle One Media, becoming WBIN-TV.
MPS Media announced in March 2012 that it would sell WPME to Triumph Broadcasting for $75,000. The deal was contingent on WPXT's concurrent sale from New Age Media to Tyche Broadcasting. On November 13, 2012, WPME filed a non-consummation notice to the FCC, meaning the transaction is nulled and void. On February 13, 2013, MPS Media filed to sell WPME to Cottonwood Communications; this deal is concurrent with a planned sale of WPXT to Ironwood Communications, which will operate WPME through a shared services agreement. The FCC granted its approval of the sale on April 2. The sale was consummated on May 20.
|35.1||WPME||720p||16:9||Main WPME programming / MyNetworkTV|
|35.2||WPMEDT2||480i||Movies! TV (Formerly Maine Visitor's Channel)|
|35.3||WPMEQVC||"QVC Over The Air"|
- Seyler, Dave (March 12, 2012). "Second half of Portland ME TV JSA sold". Television Business Report. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- "Application Search Details". Licensing.fcc.gov. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 13, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- "MPS Media of Portland License, LLC : WPME" (PDF). Licensing.fcc.gov. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "CDBS Print". Licensing.fcc.gov. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WPME
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WPME-TV