|Syracuse, New York
|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)
Virtual: 68 (PSIP)
68.2 ZUUS Country
|Translators||16 W16AX Ithaca|
(Bristlecone Broadcasting, LLC)
|First air date||February 15, 1986|
|Call letters' meaning||We're SYracuse Television|
|Former callsigns||WKAF (February–September 1986)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
68 (UHF, 1986–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1986–1987)|
|Transmitter power||621 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WSYT is the Fox-affiliated television station for Central Upstate New York that is licensed to Syracuse. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 19 (or virtual channel 68.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Otisco. The station can also be seen on Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS channel 8 with HD on Verizon FiOS channel 508 and Time Warner Cable channel 868. Owned by Bristlecone Broadcasting, WSYT operates MyNetworkTV affiliate WNYS-TV (license is locally-owned) through a local marketing agreement (LMA).
Both television outlets share studios on James Street in the Near Northeast section of Syracuse. Syndicated programming on the station includes Seinfeld, Judge Judy, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy! among others. WSYT operates an analog repeater, W16AX channel 16, in Ithaca. Licensed as a Class A station, this has a transmitter along NY 96B/Danby Road in East South Hill. It has an application to air a low-powered, Class A digital signal on channel 22.
The station was originally assigned the call letters WKAF and was on UHF channel 62 rather than 68. After being reassigned to channel 68, the owners of WKAF (Channel 62 Inc.) got the station on-the-air February 15, 1986 and aired religious programming for three hours a day. The station was sold to The Flatley Company in late-1986 and construction of facilities on James Street in Syracuse began. WSYT began full-time operation on April 5, 1987 with a general entertainment format of cartoons, classic sitcoms, recent sitcoms, movies, drama shows, and sports. The premiere of WSYT coincided with the prime-time launch of Fox.
The Flatley Company owned one other station, WNHT in Concord, New Hampshire which was an Independent before joining CBS for the purpose of developing a second local news operation for the state of New Hampshire. WNHT could not compete with WMUR-TV as well as stations from Boston, Massachusetts (WNEV now WHDH-TV) and Portland, Maine (WGME-TV) which were available in most of WNHT's viewing area. In 1989, Flatley decided to shut down WNHT while keeping the license for a few more years. Now known as WPXG, it serves as a satellite of Boston's Ion O&O WBPX.
Flatley owned WSYT until 1992 when the station was sold to Encore Communications later known as Max Media Properties, LLC. In 1998, the Sinclair Broadcast Group bought the station. That company entered into a local marketing agreement with UPN affiliate WNYS in 1995 and began operating that station out of WSYT's facilities. In 2006, Sinclair and Fox finalized a six-year affiliation contract extension for Sinclair's nineteen Fox affiliates including WSYT. The affiliation contract now expires in March 2012. It was carried on cable in the Kingston, Ontario area until 2009. That market is currently served by WNYF-CD in Watertown (for over-the-air ATSC viewers) and on cable by sister stations WUTV in Buffalo and WUHF in Rochester.
Like other Sinclair-owned stations in the region, WSYT and WNYS have transmitting digitally-only signals since February 17, 2009. Until August 2008, WSYT had the highest analog channel allocation of any Fox affiliated television station before being eclipsed by KSWB-TV in San Diego when that station swapped The CW with XETV. WSYT's analog power was limited to 1,000,000 watts due to its proximity to Canada. Until June 12, 2009 the official day of the DTV transition, UHF analog stations in the United States were licensed to transmit up to 5,000,000 watts. All of this changed on February 17, 2009, when WSYT went digital-only and moved to a less power-hungry transmitter on UHF channel 19.
WSYT owned the local broadcast rights to Syracuse University basketball from 1987 through 2003 when rights were acquired by Time Warner Cable and aired on their local sports channel. During the majority of those years, WSYT produced a live post-game show as well as a weekly basketball coach's show with Jim Boeheim. They also acquired the rights to Big East football in the 1990s and would air a post-game show after a Syracuse Orangemen game was shown. The coverage was expanded to include a football coach's show with Paul Pasqualoni and a football preview show hosted by Steve Hyder and Joe Zone. In the late-1980s, WSYT aired New York Yankees games that were produced and broadcast by WPIX in New York City.
On November 1, 2010, WSYT launched The Country Network on sub-channel 68.2, replacing a standard definition feed of the primary channel. On May 15, 2012, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Fox agreed to a five-year extension to the network's affiliation agreement with Sinclair's 19 Fox stations, including WSYT, allowing them to continue carrying the network's programming through 2017. In a YouTube video posted by sister station WBFF in Baltimore in July 2012, it was revealed that the station will air Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune beginning September 17, 2012. WSYT is one of a handful of Fox affiliates to air the game shows, along with WBFF, WXIX-TV in Cincinnati, WVUE-DT in New Orleans, WLUK-TV in Green Bay, and WALA-TV in Mobile among the Fox affiliates to air the popular game shows.
Sinclair announced the sale of WSYT, the LMA for WNYS, and sister station WYZZ-TV in Peoria–Bloomington, Illinois to Cunningham Broadcasting on February 28, 2013, following its acquisition of Barrington Broadcasting. The sale is necessary due to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s ownership rules, as Sinclair chose to keep Barrington's WSTM-TV. However, in an updated filing with the FCC, it was revealed that WSYT will instead be sold to Bristlecone Broadcasting, LLC; a company owned by Brian Brady, owner of Stainless Broadcasting Company (whose only other asset in New York is WICZ, the Fox affiliate in the neighboring market of Binghamton).  Those transactions were completed on November 25. Following consummation of the sale, Sinclair continued to operate WSYT and WNYS through a transitional service agreement for six months, until May 2014. Sinclair will continue to own the studio and transmitter space for at least ten years.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|68.1||720p||16:9||WSYT-DT||Main WSYT programming / Fox|
WSYT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 68, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 68, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
From 1996 until 2000 through a news share agreement, WSTM produced a prime time newscast for WSYT. Known as Fox 68 News at 10, the broadcast could be seen every night for thirty minutes. After WSTM declined to renew the arrangement, WSYT then partnered with WTVH to keep the broadcasts continuing. Now known as Fox 68 Eyewitness News at 10, this effort was eventually joined by an hour-long weekday morning show called Fox 68 Eyewitness News at 7 (both shows maintained the same branding as WTVH's operation did at the time). Meanwhile, in 2003, WSTM brought back a nightly prime time show at 10 for its newly acquired sister station WSTQ.
In April 2006, WTVH ceased producing news programming for WSYT in order to focus on its own third place ranked newscasts. However, the 10 o'clock broadcasts were WTVH's most successful having soundly beat WSTQ in the ratings. Since dropping news programming from this CBS outlet, WSYT remains one of a handful of big four network-affiliated stations throughout the country that do not produce or air local newscasts. Pending the consummation of Sinclair gaining control of WTVH/WSTM/WSTQ and assuming the operations of Bristlecone-owned WSYT, perhaps there may be a new prime time news program at 10 in the future for the Fox affiliate.
- Cogeco to replace channels:Syracuse feeds to be lost, MIKE KOREEN, Kingston Whig-Standard, January 2009 (broken link)
- As thousands Upstate wait for TV coupons, 3 area stations may not delay switch to digital, Mark Weiner, Syracuse Post-Standard, February 6, 2009
- TV Query Results – Video Division (FCC) USA
- Sinclair Reups With Fox, Gets WUTB Option, TVNewsCheck, May 15, 2012.
- Wheel and Jeopardy move to Fox 68 in September
- Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License Federal Communications Commission, 9 August, 2013
- RabbitEars TV Query for WSYT
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WSYT "Fox 68"
- WNYS-TV "My 43"
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WSYT
- Query the FCC's TV station database for W16AX