Northwest Pennsylvania's CW (on DT2)
WICU 12 (on DT3)
|Channels||Digital: 16 (UHF) &
WICU-DT 12.3 (VHF)
Virtual: 35 (PSIP)
35.2 The CW
(Lilly Broadcasting of Pennsylvania License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||April 24, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||SEE alludes to
CBS eye logo
|Sister station(s)||WICU, WENY-TV|
|Former callsigns||WSEE (1954-1981)|
|Former channel number(s)||35 (UHF analog, 1954-2009)|
|Former affiliations||UPN (secondary, 1995-2006)|
|Transmitter power||75 kW
5.4 kW (WICU-DT3)
306.7 m (WICU-DT3)
WSEE-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Northwestern Pennsylvania that is licensed to Erie. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 (or virtual channel 35.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Old Waterford Road in Greene Township. The station can also be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 1005. Owned by Lilly Broadcasting, WSEE operates the area's NBC affiliate WICU-TV (owned by SJL Broadcasting) through a shared services agreement (SSA) and the two outlets share studios on State Street in Erie. WSEE can also be seen over-the-air in standard definition on WICU's third digital subchannel on VHF channel 12.3 from the same Greene Township transmitter.
WSEE-TV began broadcasting on April 24, 1954 as a CBS affiliate. ABC programming was shared by WSEE and WICU until WJET-TV signed-on in 1966. UPN content was aired on weekends by WSEE beginning January 16, 1995. In 1998, this station launched a cable-only WB affiliate as part of The WB 100+. It had the fictional call sign "WBEP". On January 24, 2006, UPN and The WB announced that they would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW.
The letters would represent the first initial of its corporate parents: CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On September 18 of that year, WSEE launched a new second digital subchannel to simulcast "WBEP" allowing non-cable subscribers access to the new network. That station began official use of the call sign WSEE-DT2 and became part of The CW Plus. This service is similar to The WB 100+.
Back in 2002, WICU entered into a local marketing agreement with WSEE. From that point until June 1, 2009, this station continued to operate from its own studios on Peach Street (U.S. 19) in Downtown Erie. On that date, WSEE merged into WICU's facilities on State Street. On February 17, 2009 at noon, WSEE-TV's digital signal remained on channel 16 when the analog to digital conversion was completed. On May 14, Lilly Broadcasting advised all off-air staffers at WSEE that their services would no longer be required. Most on-air personnel have continued to work through the duration of the contracts although at least one (WICU reporter Kelsie Smith) was moved to sister station WENY-TV in Elmira, New York; two vacant WICU meteorologist positions were eliminated; and another (WSEE news anchor Raychel Vendetti) was laid-off outright.
Its over-the-air digital broadcast signal covers Erie, Warren, and Crawford counties in Pennsylvania; reaches east to Jamestown, New York, west to Ashtabula, Ohio, north to London and Hamilton in Ontario, and south to Clarion, Pennsylvania. The station can also be seen via satellite in North America and the Caribbean through C band. It is available in Costa Rica through one of the country's major cable providers, Cabletica, and in Puerto Rico on all three cable companies serving the island as well as part of the locals package on Dish Network. Until November 2012, all news and syndicated programming were broadcast in standard definition even though some of the network and syndication companies have made HD feeds of those shows available. In September 2012 WSEE begun to air the talk show Live with Kelly and Michael in HD. In November of that year, WSEE began showing more syndicated shows in HD. WICU and WSEE merged their websites in June 2011.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|35.1||1080i||16:9||WSEE-DT||Main WSEE-TV programming / CBS|
|35.2||720p||WBEP-DT||Northwest Pennsylvania's CW|
|35.3||480i||4:3||WICU SD||Simulcast of WICU-TV|
WSEE was carried on Rogers Cable in London, Ontario until September 2005 when it was replaced by Detroit's WWJ-TV. It was also offered on many cable systems in the Hamilton, Niagara, and Grand River regions of Ontario. The station was dropped in these areas by the late 1990s. WSEE is still available on some cable systems in Canada that serve communities on Lake Erie. Atlantic Broadband, the cable provider that serves McKean County, Pennsylvania and portions of Cattaraugus County, New York, announced that WSEE would replace Buffalo's WIVB-TV in January 2009. That station has had several high-profile compensation disputes with that cable company. Though an agreement was eventually reached with WIVB, WSEE was kept on the Atlantic Broadband lineups. However, Time Warner Cable announced it would remove WSEE (along with WICU) from its cable lineups in Westfield and Dunkirk, New York in favor of CFTO-TV from Toronto and the new YNN Buffalo despite the fact that Westfield and Dunkirk are arguably within WSEE's must carry territory.
This station has been part of the Primetime 24 lineup since November 1997 when it replaced Raleigh's WRAL-TV due to that station's regular pre-emptions of CBS programming. The service provides American network television service to C band satellite and some cable viewers in Latin America, the Caribbean, and in rural parts of the United States where local signals are not available. This feed of WSEE varies from its local one where local commercials are replaced with ads directed towards the Caribbean (especially direct response ads). Also, the station's local newscasts are replaced with infomercials although there is a taped Caribbean weather forecast by WSEE's weather staff (often in tropical clothing) nightly at 11, which is available through a WSEE-managed website specific to Caribbean weather and is branded as "One Caribbean Weather".
Although the shared services agreement between WSEE and WICU was established in 2002, the actual beginning of newscast consolidation between the two did not start until WSEE actually moved into WICU's studios. WSEE aired the final newscast from its separate Peach Street studios on May 28, 2009. With the challenges of moving, this station went without local news for nearly four days while technical and logistical arrangements were finalized.
When it resumed broadcasts, WSEE's weeknight news at 11 p.m. was recorded while it broadcast live on the CW at 10. The program in its new time slot now began to air against another prime time newscast seen for an hour on WFXP. Ironically, WICU had previously aired a broadcast on the Fox affiliate through a news share agreement until 1998 at which point WJET took over the production.
After WSEE moved its operations into the State Street facility, the existing studio set was split in two, allowing each station's newscast to look unique. However, a second production control room was not immediately built for WSEE. This would prevent simultaneous live newscasts airing on WSEE and WICU until January 2013. Until that time, WSEE recorded most of its local news in advance so that the control room could be used for WICU's news programming. Originally, WSEE's sixty minute weekday morning show Mornings Live was recorded at 4 a.m. and then aired at 6 a.m.. It retained the show's branding (as made obvious by the lack of current conditions during weather forecasts) despite the actual operation. In 2012, Mornings Live broadcast live from 4 until 5 a.m. on WSEE-DT2 while the station recorded the morning show for its later showing on WSEE.
Until January 2013, this station's weeknight news at 6 was usually recorded during the mid-afternoon. The studios were unable to air two live broadcasts at the same time until a second high-definition production control room was added. Sister station WICU airs a midday show weekdays at 12:30 following WSEE's long-running noon newscast. On weekends, the two television stations jointly produce local news at 6 and 11 p.m. These shows are known as Weekends Now and can be delayed or pre-empted on one station due to network obligations. The WSEE news department also produces the weekly public affairs program The Insider (unrelated to the syndicated newsmagazine of the same name), which airs weekends Sunday morning on WSEE.
During the week, WSEE and WICU maintain talent for news and sports that generally appear on one station. Most video footage and content is shared, coming from the same newsroom. In cases of breaking news, severe weather, or election coverage, the two simulcast newscasts and occasionally include the CW subchannel as well. On weekday mornings, WSEE-DT2 provides a simulcast of the first hour of WICU's 12 News Today at 5 and the NBC affiliate's midday show at 12:30. It also airs the nationally syndicated broadcast The Daily Buzz from 6 until 9 like other CW Plus stations in the Eastern Time Zone.
Along with their sister station WICU, WSEE upgraded their newscasts to high definition in November 2012. The Newswatch branding was dropped after 28 years to coincide with the switch. WSEE's newscasts are now branded as "SEE News."
Notable former staff
- Micah Johnson - reporter and news anchor (1984–1985); now CEO of Entegy Group
- Leila Feinstein - reporter (1995–2000); now at KTLA-TV
- Lloyd Newell - primary news anchor (1984–1986); now professor at Brigham Young University and host of Music and the Spoken Word
- Dave Price - reporter (1997); served as weekday weather anchor for The Early Show
- John Stehr - news anchor and reporter (1980); now at WTHR-TV
- Steve Scully; now at C-SPAN
- Lilly Broadcasting and SJL Choose Axcera for Digital Television Transmitters, 12 April 2007 
- Radio Station World
- SJL Broadcasting Group
- Brainy History
- Backchannel Media
- Press and Tower
- Holliday, Anne. WIVB Being Pulled from Bradford Lineup. WESB. 22 December 2008.
- "John Stehr bio". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Interview with Steve Scully, C-SPAN -- December 2004". journalismjobs.com. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- ErieTVNews.com - WICU/WSEE-TV website
- CWErie.com - Northwest Pennsylvania's CW website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WSEE-TV