|Syracuse, New York
|Branding||CW 6 (general)
|Slogan||TV Now (general)
We Know What's
Central to You
|Channels||Analog: 14 (UHF)
Digital: WSTM-DT 24.2 (UHF)
Virtual: 3.2 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||The CW (2006-present)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WSTQ Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||June 19, 2000|
|Call letters' meaning||disambiguation of WSTM|
|Sister station(s)||WSTM, WTVH|
|Former callsigns||WAWA-LP (2000-2003)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (2000-2001)
|Transmitter power||9.8 kW (analog)
210 kW (WSTM-DT2)
|Height||203.6 m (analog)
393 m (WSTM-DT2)
|Facility ID||10320 (analog)
|Public license information:||Profile
WSTQ-LP is the low-powered, CW-affiliated television station for Central Upstate New York. Licensed to Syracuse, it broadcasts an analog signal on UHF channel 14 from a transmitter on West Kirkpatrick Street (alongside WOLF-FM's tower) in the city's Lakefront section. Owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station is sister to NBC affiliate WSTM-TV and CBS affiliate WTVH. The latter, however, is actually owned by the Granite Broadcasting Group but operated by Sinclair through joint sales and shared services agreements.
All three outlets share studios on James Street in the Near Northeast section of Syracuse. Syndicated programming on WSTQ includes The Wendy Williams Show, How I Met Your Mother, That 70s Show, and The Middle among others. WSTQ and WSTM split coverage of New York Yankees games produced by the YES Network for MyNetworkTV affiliate WWOR-TV.
Due to its low-powered status, the station does not reach all of the Syracuse market. Therefore, it is carried on on WSTM's second digital subchannel to expand the station's outreach. WSTQ-LP is branded as CW 6, in reference to its channel position on Syracuse area cable systems (and not over-the-air channel 6, which is held in the Syracuse market by another low-powered station).
The station signed-on June 19, 2000 as WAWA-LP owned by Venture Technologies Group, LLC. It was technically an Independent although very few syndicated programming was shown since the majority of the line up consisted of home shopping and other paid shows. On October 20, 2001 ten months after WNYS-TV dropped its UPN affiliation, WAWA picked it up.
For two years, it fought to get carriage on Time Warner Cable. Due to the lack of programming on the station, the cable company refused to carry it. It could be argued Time Warner's control of the rival WB network played some role. By federal law, it was not obligated to carry WAWA due to its status as a low-powered station which has no "must-carry" protection.
Time Warner had already added WSBK-TV from Boston to its line-up on channel 6 in July 2001. This was done even though there was a cost of nearly $1 million a year in out-of-market licensing fees. At one point, WAWA even offered to pay Time Warner Cable to carry the station. Low-powered outlets buying channel space on cable is commonplace due to the lack of "must-carry" protection. WAWA took the case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and asked them to adopt a rule that would require Time Warner to black out WSBK's prime time UPN line up whether it carried WAWA or not. In the end, the FCC ruled against the station.
In 2003, Raycom Media (then-owner of WSTM) purchased WAWA from Venture Technologies for an undisclosed amount of money. The station had its call letters changed to WSTQ-LP (derived from WSTM) and was given the on-air branding of "UPN 6, The Q". Raycom used "6" to reflect its pending cable channel slot on Time Warner which was obtained July 1, 2003 following WSTQ's acquisition by the company. Ironically, the same "must-carry" laws that kept WAWA off Time Warner eventually got the station on the system.
The law gives full-powered stations the option of "retransmission consent" or requesting compensation from cable systems to carry them. In this case, full-powered WSTM can require cable systems like Time Warner to offer low-powered WSTQ on the system as part of the compensation for carrying the full-power station. As a result of the ownership change, this station moved into WSTM's facilities.
Until 2005, WSTQ carried the Bill Keeler Show (a daily and later weekly local comedy series). When the show did not register in the ratings and was losing money, Keeler yanked the show from the Syracuse market in 2005. Keeler also cited FCC requirements that would require his show to be captioned in Syracuse which was an additional infrastructural expense. On March 27, 2006, Raycom Media announced the sale of WSTQ and WSTM to Barrington Broadcasting. As a result of the January 2006 announcement of UPN and The WB networks merging to create The CW, WSTQ revealed in March that it would become Syracuse's affiliate with the new network.
The station became a CW affiliate on September 18 and changed its branding to "CW 6". Also in 2006, Ion Television affiliate WSPX-TV filed an application with the FCC to broadcast its digital signal on channel 14 where WSTQ's analog signal is located now. This was abandoned in favor of channel 15 on December 3, 2008. Originally, this station had a separate section on WSTM's website located at "wstq.com" (it has since been abandoned). WSTQ was not affected by the consolidation of sister station WSTM with rival WTVH. On February 28, 2013, Barrington Broadcasting announced the sale of its entire group, including WSTQ-LP, to Sinclair Broadcast Group. The sale was completed on November 25.
After Raycom acquired WSTQ, WSTM began producing a 30-minute prime time newscast called Action News at 10 on UPN 6, which competed with Fox 68 Eyewitness News at 10 seen on WSYT. That program, produced by WTVH, was seen every night unlike WSTQ's show which only aired on weeknights. Action News at 10 would eventually be expanded to a seven night operation on January 8, 2005. In April 2006, WTVH ceased newscast production on WSYT in order to focus on improving its own third place ranked operation. However, the Fox outlet's 10 p.m. show was WTVH's most successful soundly beating WSTQ in the ratings.
When this station became a CW affiliate, the title changed to Action News at 10 on CW 6. On August 30, 2010, the newscast's format was extended to an hour on weeknights featuring more coverage and additional segments. Soon after, on September 7, rival ABC affiliate WSYR-TV added a prime time newscast to its second digital subchannel. Unlike traditional 10 o'clock shows, however, this only airs live for fifteen minutes and is then repeated four times in the hour.
In mid-December 2010, WSTM became the first station in the market to upgrade local newscasts to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although the broadcast on WSTQ was technically included, it was initially only seen in the updated resolution on Time Warner Cable channel 866. This is because WSTM-DT2 (serving as WSTQ's digital signal) only transmitted in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition until January 2013 when the subchannel was upgraded to high definition transmissions (allowing the WSTQ broadcasts to be seen terrestrially in widescreen). However, the WSTQ newscast is still seen in downscaled 4:3 on the station's analog feed. Corresponding with the upgrade, the program received an updated graphic and music package while being renamed The CW 6 News at 10, from CNY Central.
- Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.