|East St. Louis, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri|
|Channels||Digital: 47 (UHF)
Virtual: 46 (PSIP)
(sale to Ion Media Networks pending)
(Roberts Broadcasting Company)
|First air date||September 11, 1989|
|Call letters' meaning||Roberts
UHF (channel position) or UPN (former affiliation)
|Former callsigns||WHSL (1989-2003)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
46 (UHF, 1989-2009)
|Former affiliations||HSN (1989-2003)
|Transmitter power||109.4 kw|
WRBU is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area that is licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois. It broadcasts a standard definition digital signal on UHF channel 47 (virtual channel 46.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter near House Springs. As the flagship station of owner Roberts Broadcasting, WRBU maintains studios on North Kingshighway Boulevard on the northwest side of St. Louis. It is the only major network affiliate in the St. Louis area that is licensed to a city on the Illinois side of the market.
The station debuted on the airwaves on September 11, 1989 as WHSL, serving as a full-time affiliate of the Home Shopping Network. WHSL added primetime programming from UPN in September 2002. In January 2003, the station changed its call sign to the present-day WRBU. Three months later on April 1, 2003, the station became a UPN affiliate full-time and added sitcoms, syndicated talk shows and reality shows to fill out the schedule. Until this switch, St. Louis had been the largest city in the United States by market size that did not have a full-time UPN affiliate. Prior to channel 46 aligning with the network, its programming had been seen through secondary affiliations with KPLR-TV from 1999 to 2002 and even earlier on ABC affiliate KDNL-TV from 1995 to 1999, with both stations carrying UPN programs after primetime hours. KPLR previously shared the UPN affiliation with religious independent station KNLC, though KNLC turned down most UPN programs whose content was deemed inappropriate to air on the station.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced the formation of the jointly-owned The CW Television Network, which would a de facto merger of The WB and UPN (the latter of which CBS acquired one month earlier in December 2005 following its split from Viacom). That announcement also mentioned that the network had signed a ten-year affiliation agreement with Tribune Broadcasting for 13 of the 16 WB affiliates that the company owned at the time, with KPLR-TV named as the St. Louis affiliate of the new network. Nearly one month later on February 22, News Corporation announced the launch of competing network MyNetworkTV, that is operated by two of the company's subsidiaries: Fox Television Stations and syndication division Twentieth Television. In March 2006, Channel 46 announced that it would take the MyNetworkTV affiliation; the network launched on September 5 of that year. The station serves as a backup NBC affiliate in the event that KSDK preempts the network's programming due to special programming, breaking news or severe weather coverage.
From February 2003 until March 2010, WRBU, through the joint venture St. Louis/Denver LLC, was half-owned by Roberts, with the other half held by the TeleFutura subsidiary of Univision Communications; Roberts continued to operate the station through a time brokerage agreement during this time, and appointed the directors of WRBU's licensee. Roberts also transferred its station in Denver, KTVJ (the operations of which were taken over by Univision, becoming TeleFutura affiliate KTFD-TV), to St. Louis/Denver LLC. In March 2010, St. Louis/Denver LLC was dissolved; Roberts then retook full ownership of WRBU, and Univision took full ownership of KTFD. On December 4, 2013, Roberts filed to sell WRBU to Tri-State Christian Television; however, on December 11, the United States bankruptcy court gave initial approval for a plan by Roberts' creditors to instead transfer WRBU and its sister stations, WZRB in Columbia, South Carolina and WAZE-LP in Evansville, Indiana, to a trust with Ion Media Networks (a creditor in Roberts' chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings) as its beneficiary, with Roberts' attorney subsequently stating that Ion would purchase the three stations.
WRBU currently does not broadcast its primary digital channel in high definition, making it one of the few network-affiliated stations in the United States not to operate an HD feed on their digital signal, although promos for the station on their Facebook page are in HD. It is currently unknown when WRBU will begin broadcasting in HD.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|46.1||480i||4:3||WRBU-DT||Main WRBU programming / MyNetworkTV|
WRBU shut down its analog transmitter on January 21, 2009 (five months prior to the official date of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion), and continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition digital channel 47. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WRBU's virtual channel as 46.
- '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.
- Tribune TV Stations to Lead Affiliate Group of New Network, Tribune Company corporate website, January 24, 2006.
- News Corp. Unveils My Network TV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- Romano, Allison (March 9, 2006). "My Network TV Signs Six Affils". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO TRANSFER CONTROL OF ENTITY HOLDING BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. November 12, 2002. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO TRANSFER CONTROL OF ENTITY HOLDING BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. March 18, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. December 4, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- Mueller, Angela (December 11, 2013). "Judge approves creditors’ proposal in Roberts Broadcasting bankruptcy". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- Brown, Lisa (December 11, 2013). "Roberts' TV stations to be sold". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- List of Broadcast Stations (A-I) Going Digital On February 17, 2009, About.com
- Official website for WRBU "My46"
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WRBU
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WRBU-TV