|Newark - Columbus, Ohio|
|City of license||Newark, Ohio|
|Channels||Digital: 24 (UHF)
Virtual: 51 (PSIP)
51.2 Church Channel
51.5 Smile of a Child
|Owner||Trinity Broadcasting Network
(Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, Inc.)
|First air date||March 9, 1980|
|Call letters' meaning||We Stand For Jesus|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
51 (UHF, 1980-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1980-1998)
Pax TV / i / ION (1998-2007)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WSFJ-TV began operations on March 9, 1980. It was the first independent television station in Columbus, as well as the first new commercial station in the area since 1949. Columbus had a much longer wait for an independent station than many other cities that got full network service before 1950. However, the Columbus market is a very large market geographically, and UHF stations do not carry well across large blocks of territory.
Initially the station ran only Christian programs, including (but not limited to) The PTL Club, Jimmy Swaggart, The 700 Club, Another Life, and children's programming. In the fall of 1980 WSFJ began running secular programming such as Independent Network News and New Zoo Revue during the week, and Wild Kingdom along with some hunting and wildlife shows on Saturdays, though programming remained predominantly Christian. It was the only over-the-air source of non-network programming in central Ohio until WTTE (channel 28) signed on in 1984.
In the fall of 1998, the station affiliated with Pax TV (later i and now ION Television), running the network's programming from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. WSFJ also began to be seen on a translator in Columbus, WCPX-LP channel 48, which was owned by Pax's parent company, Paxson Communications (now ION Media Networks). WSFJ itself was the largest ION affiliate owned by a company other than ION Media Networks.
WSFJ was sold to Guardian Enterprise Group in 2004. In 2005, WSFJ began to acquire some family-friendly programming separate from its affiliation with i and rebranded the station as GTN51--short for "Guardian Television Network." Guardian Enterprise Group was located in the same office as WSFJ. Other companies under the Guardian Enterprise Group include Guardian Studios, and Guardian Human Resources.
In March 2007, WSFJ moved its master control and studio into a facility at Easton Town Center, which generated the content that was sent to their new digital transmission facility in Pataskala, off of SR 161. That year, WSFJ launched its digital signal on channel 24.
ION sold WCPX-LP in 2007, and in January 2008 it was relaunched as an Azteca América affiliate. At the same time, ION programming disappeared from WSFJ, leaving it exclusively with family entertainment, religious shows, and paid programming.
In July 2008, it was announced that Guardian would sell WSFJ to the Trinity Broadcasting Network for $16 million. Guardian retained its other properties, including the upcoming .2 Network, and acquired W23BZ, which had been a low-power repeater of TBN; it picked up WSFJ's programming when channel 51 began carrying TBN programming on October 1, 2008. However, by selling off its full-powered station and getting a low-powered signal, GTN would find themselves at a disadvantage -- being on a low-power signal, it lost its must-carry status; as a result, Guardian urged viewers to contact their cable systems to pick up GTN after the move to channel 23.
WSFJ now repeats the TBN feed most of the day, with virtually no local programming. TBN has long been known for buying existing stations in order to get must-carry status on local cable systems.
In July 2012, WFSJ upgraded their studios and equipment, and now carry the TBN affiliated subchannels seen on all other full power TBN stations. This station's digital signal, like most other full-service TBN owned-and-operated stations, carries five different TBN-run networks.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|51.1||480i||4:3||TBN||Main TBN programming|
|51.2||TCC||The Church Channel|
|51.5||SOAC||Smile of a Child TV|
TBN-owned full-power stations permanently ceased analog transmissions on April 16, 2009.
TBN-owned full-power stations ceased analog transmissions on April 16, 2009. WSFJ remained on its pre-transition channel number, 24, using PSIP to appear on viewers' sets as channel 51.
- TBN Official site
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WSFJ-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WSFJ-TV