- For the current television station in Orlando, Florida, see WOFL.
|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF) &
WOLF-TV 45.2 (UHF)
|Subchannels||38.1 The CW
|Owner||MPS Media, LLC
(operated though LMA by New Age Media, LLC; sale to Cunningham Broadcasting pending; to be operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group thereafter)
(MPS Media of Scranton License, LLC)
|First air date||June 3, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Scranton/
|Sister station(s)||WOLF-TV, WQMY|
|Former callsigns||WOLF-TV (1985-1998)|
|Former channel number(s)||38 (UHF analog, 1985-2008)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1985-1986)
The WB / UPN (1998-2006)
|Transmitter power||100 kW|
WSWB is the CW-affiliated television station for Northeastern Pennsylvania, New York's Eastern Southern Tier and parts of Northern New Jersey licensed to Scranton. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 31 from a transmitter northwest of Scranton and I-476.
Owned by MPS Media, it is operated though a local marketing agreement (LMA) by New Age Media. This makes it sister to Fox affiliate WOLF-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate WQMY. All three share studios on SR 315 in the Fox Hill section of Plains Township. Syndicated programming on WSWB includes: The Simpsons, Family Guy, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and 30 Rock.
Although it operates its own over-the-air signal, this cannot be received in many parts of the Wilkes-Barre area. Therefore, the station can also be seen on WOLF-TV's second digital subchannel. This broadcasts on UHF channel 45.2 (channel 56.2 PSIP) from a transmitter on Penobscot Knob near Mountain Top. NextEra Energy Resources operates a digital replacement translator on UHF channel 36 that is licensed to Waymart with a transmitter in Forest City. It exists because windmills run by NextEra at the Waymart Wind Farm interfere with the transmission of full-power television signals.
The station first signed-on June 3, 1985 with the calls WOLF-TV as the first Independent outlet in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A few days later, it added WWLF-TV in Hazleton as a full-time satellite. This channel was intended to improve WOLF-TV's coverage in the southern part of the market because its transmitter is farther north than the other major stations in the area. After a little more than a year as an Independent, WOLF-TV became a charter affiliate of Fox on October 6, 1986. Two years later, WILF-TV in Williamsport was launched as a second full-time satellite to improve coverage in the western and northern parts of the market.
In 1993, WOLF-TV's original owner Scranton TV Partners merged with Pegasus Communications. The latter immediately sought permission to move either the analog UHF channel 38 or channel 56 transmitters to the Northeastern Pennsylvania tower farm on Penobscot Knob. The move would help improve its signal that only provided Grade B coverage to much of the southern part of the market. Ultimately, Pegasus was allowed to move the WWLF transmitter.
On November 1, 1998, Pegasus activated the new analog channel 56 transmitter while moving the WOLF-TV call letters and Fox affiliation to that channel. Meanwhile, this station became a WB affiliate under new calls WSWB. This call sign was chosen because they could have meant "Scranton's WB" for its affiliation or the area it serves Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Originally, this channel was given the WSWB calls in 1981 but it were changed to WOLF-TV before the station went on-the-air in 1985. WILF in Williamsport remained as a full-time satellite.
At the time of the switch, WSWB also picked up a secondary affiliation with UPN. It showed select programming from the network on Saturday nights (since there were no shows from The WB) without the branding. At 8 the station would air America's Next Top Model and at 9 would be WWE Friday Night SmackDown. Whenever America's Next Top Model was in repeats, WSWB would air Veronica Mars instead. All UPN programming in pattern was also available on cable in the area via WWOR-TV from New York City, WPSG from Philadelphia, and WLYH-TV from Harrisburg.
On January 24, 2006, Warner Bros. Television and CBS announced that the WB and UPN networks would cease broadcasting and combine to form a new network called The CW Television Network. On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This service, which would be sister 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 May 1, 2006, it was made public WILF would be a separate station and become the area's charter MyNetworkTV affiliate. Also at that point, it became known that WSWB would affiliate with The CW. This was due to both UPN and The WB being offered on the main station. Since there was a limitation of WILF's signal in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, it was also announced that it would be added to a new third digital subchannel of WOLF-TV. WILF changed its call sign to the current WQMY on July 7 to reflect the upcoming affiliation change. MyNetworkTV launched September 5 and that station introduced its first logo. As a WSWB full-time satellite, it did not have one. WSWB began airing The CW on September 18.
On September 25, 2013, New Age Media announced that it would sell most of its stations, including WOLF-TV and WQMY, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Concurrently, MPS Media will sell WSWB to Cunningham Broadcasting; the station will continue to be operated by WOLF-TV.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|38.1||1080i||16:9||WSWB-DT||Main WSWB programming / The CW|
WSWB launched the Me-TV network on May 3, 2011 on sub channel 38.2.
On February 17, 2009, the channel shut down its analog signal and became exclusively digital.
Fox required most of its affiliates to begin offering local news in 1990 in order to help the fledgling network. To satisfy this, what was then WOLF-TV entered into a news share agreement with ABC affiliate WNEP-TV in 1991. This resulted in a nightly prime time newscast known as Newswatch 16 at 10 on Fox 38. It originated from WNEP's facilities on Montage Mountain Road in Moosic. When the Fox affiliation moved to the new WOLF-TV (previously WWLF), the newscasts did as well. The show then became known as Fox 56 News at 10 with a secondary title of Newswatch 16 at 10 on Fox 56. In November 2009, it was announced that WNEP would move its production of the news at 10 to a second digital subchannel called "WNEP 2" that recently gained Retro Television Network (RTV) affiliation.
That happened December 31, 2009 after which WOLF-TV and NBC affiliate WBRE-TV entered into an agreement. Taking over production of nightly prime time newscasts on WOLF-TV starting New Year's Day 2010, WBRE expanded the show to an hour each night and changed the title to Fox 56 News First at 10. It now originates from a secondary set at WBRE's studios on South Franklin Street in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. As was the case with the WNEP-produced broadcasts, if there are network obligations or overruns of Fox programming that prevent WOLF-TV from showing the current program, it is aired on WSWB.
- Haber, Gary (September 25, 2013). "Sinclair Broadcast Group to pay $90M for eight New Age Media TV stations". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Sinclair To Buy 8 New Age Stations for $90M". TVNewsCheck. September 25, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- WOLF-TV "Fox 56"
- WQMY website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WSWB
- Query TV Fool's coverage map for WSWB-DT
- Query TV Fool's coverage map for WSWB
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WSWB-TV