|Steubenville, Ohio / Wheeling, West Virginia|
|Branding||WTOV 9 (general)
News 9 (newscasts)
|Slogan||WTOV (or News) 9 Is Everywhere.|
|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WTOV Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||December 24, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||We're
Television for the
|Former callsigns||WSTV-TV (1953-1979)|
|Former channel number(s)||9 (VHF analog, 1953-2009)
57 (UHF digital, 2002-2009)
|Transmitter power||23 kW|
WTOV-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Steubenville, Ohio, covering the Upper Ohio Valley, including Wheeling, West Virginia. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter in Mingo Junction, Ohio. Owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station has studios in Steubenville. Syndicated programming on the station includes: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dr. Phil, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and Live! with Kelly and Michael among others.
The station went on air as WSTV-TV (for STeubenVille) on December 24, 1953. It was owned by Rust Craft Broadcasting along with WSTV radio AM 1340 (which went off the air in 2011) and FM 103.5 (now WOGH). When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened bidding for the channel 9 license, Rust Craft and CBS emerged as the favorites. CBS planned to move the station's license to Pittsburgh in order to get its own station in what was then the sixth-largest market. However, the FCC turned CBS' bid down. The major cities in the Upper Ohio Valley are so close together that they must share the VHF band, and the FCC had opted not to issue any more VHF construction permits to Pittsburgh in order to give Wheeling/Steubenville and the other smaller markets in the area a chance to get on the air. The Wheeling/Steubenville TV market, despite its very close proximity to Pittsburgh and overlapping signals, remains a separate market by FCC standards today.
Channel 9 was originally a CBS affiliate, but also carried a secondary affiliation with ABC, sharing that network's programming with NBC affiliate WTRF-TV. It changed its call letters to WTOV (standing for "We're Television for the Ohio Valley") in 1978 after Rust Craft merged with Ziff Davis. During its time as a CBS affiliate, the station struggled in the ratings due to the presence of Group W powerhouse KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, which to this day remains widely viewable in the area both over-the-air and available on cable. The station began phasing out ABC in the 1970s, but continued to carry a few ABC programs in off-hours for many years. Channel 9 had little need to air many ABC shows, however, as Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV was widely available on cable.
On January 7, 1980, WTOV swapped affiliations with WTRF and became an NBC affiliate. At the time of the switch, NBC had struggled in the ratings for a number of years and then-market leader WTRF wanted a stronger affiliation. However, in the ensuing years the affiliation switch began to benefit WTOV. For starters, instead of competing with one of CBS's strongest stations in KDKA-TV for network programming from the nearby Pittsburgh market, WTOV now competed with future sister station WIIC-TV (which became WPXI the following year), long one of NBC's weakest major-market affiliates. Secondly, NBC as whole began to improve in the ratings in the early 1980s and by the middle of the decade was America's most-watched network, while CBS went through a serious decline that the network wouldn't recover from until the late 1990s. These factors led WTOV-TV to surpass WTRF-TV in the ratings in the Wheeling/Steubenville market, a position it has held by a long shot ever since the affiliation switch.
In 1983, Ziff Davis sold WTOV, along with then-sister stations WEYI-TV in Saginaw, Michigan, WRDW-TV in Augusta, Georgia and WROC-TV in Rochester, New York, to Television Station Partners, L.P. WTOV, along with WEYI and WROC, were sold to Smith Broadcast Group in 1996. In 2000, Cox Enterprises acquired WTOV, along with fellow NBC affiliate WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on the other side of the Pittsburgh market, from Sunrise/STC Broadcasting (one of several subsidiaries of Smith Broadcasting). The station dropped the remaining ABC shows from its schedule soon after Cox took over. It also updated its logo to resemble that of sister station WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh, and along with WJAC, the three were occasionally marketed together as a result until WPXI revamped its news graphics and music package.
The station airs tape-delayed high school football games of the week including numerous playoff games of local teams. WTOV aired many college football/basketball games from ABC and ESPN Plus. On June 3, 2010, Dish Network added WTOV, along with PBS member station WOUC and CBS affiliate WTRF (and the latter station's digital subchannels) as the local stations available to its subscribers in the Steubenville-Wheeling market. WTOV and the other Steubenville-Wheeling area television stations were added to DirecTV on November 23, 2010.
On July 20, 2012, one day after Cox purchased four television stations in Jacksonville, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma from Newport Television, Cox put WTOV-TV, WJAC-TV, and sister stations in El Paso, Texas and Reno, Nevada (all in markets that are smaller than Tulsa), plus several radio stations in medium to small markets, on the selling block. On February 25, 2013, Cox announced that it would sell the four television stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group. The FCC granted its approval of the sale on April 29, and the deal was consummated on May 2. The deal made WTOV-TV a sister station to Pittsburgh's Fox affiliate WPGH-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate WPMY, though it is still connected to WPXI through a news-share agreement WPXI has had with WPGH-TV since 2006.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|9.1||1080i||16:9||WTOV DT||Main WTOV-TV programming / NBC|
WTOV's signal can be reached as far north as Sharon, Pennsylvania, as far west as Coshocton, as far east as Greensburg, Pennsylvania and as far south as Sistersville, West Virginia. Although the area is much better served by former sister station and fellow NBC affiliate WPXI, WTOV's signal can easily be picked up in higher-elevated areas of the city of Pittsburgh with only a "rabbit-ear" antenna. WTOV is also carried on many cable systems that fall outside of its broadcast signal in Northern and North Central West Virginia as well as Western Pennsylvania.
WTOV was the first station in the Ohio Valley to broadcast its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition in April 2009, and it currently runs almost all of its syndicated programming in HD (rival WTRF launched the first high-definition newscast in the market on December 29, 2011, during its noon newscast). When WTOV converted its newscasts to the 16:9 widescreen format, the graphics and set got a slight upgrade to match the 16:9 aspect ratio, though the weather graphics were not upgraded until August 2010.
On October 27, 2010 during the noon newscast, WTOV unveiled a new HD-ready set similar to that used by sister stations WPXI/Pittsburgh and WJAC/Johnstown, among other Cox-owned stations. The station's former graphics were launched in 2000, when Cox Enterprises bought WTOV and WJAC. With the new set and graphics, the station flipped its news theme to 615 Music's The Tower, ending a nine-year run of using that same company's Total Coverage news music package (sister station WJAC stopped using Total Coverage on October 25, 2011, switching to The Tower V.2 by 615 Music). WJAC later switched to new on-air graphics and music as well.
As part of its upgrade, the station launched "Early Warning Live Doppler 9" using Doppler weather radar data from five National Weather Service radar sites in the region. The station also updated master control to allow for weather warnings and news crawls without downconverting 16:9 video on the main signal to the 4:3 picture format.
On January 8, 2011, WTOV launched an hour-long Saturday morning newscast. On March 21, 2011, WTOV expanded its early evening newscast to a 90 minute block from 5-6:30 p.m. The extra half-hour replaced syndicated reruns of Seinfeld, which aired on the station for 15 years (that series currently airs on cable-only CW Plus affiliate "WBWO").
- Total News
- NEWS 9 (1981–present)
- Follow the Leader
- The Ohio Valley's News Station
- Your 24-Hour News Station
- News 9 is Everywhere
- WNDU 1991 News Theme by Collier Concepts (?-1993)
- It's All Right Here by Gari Media Group (1993–1998)
- The Great News Package by Gari Media Group (1998–2000)
- This Is Your News by Gari Media Group (2000-2001)
- Total Coverage by 615 Music (2001-2010)
- The Tower by 615 Music (2010–present)
NEWS9 Anchors / Reporters
- Jennifer Black - morning co-anchor; also reporter (2013–present)
- Crissy Clutter - Wheeling Newsroom Reporter (2013–present)
- Kate Davison - morning co-anchor; Belmont Co. Reporter (2011–present)
- Ryan Eldredge - 11 p.m. anchor; also reporter (2011–present)
- Jessica Guay - general assignment reporter (2014-present)
- Erica Mokay - weeknight co-anchor at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. (2011–present)
- Michelle Newell - general assignment reporter (2014-present)
- Rich Pierce - noon, 5 and 6 p.m. co-anchor (2013–present)
- Celina Pompeani - weekend evening co-anchor; also reporter (2013–present)
- Jon Rudder - weekend evening co-anchor, also reporter (2013–present)
Severe Weather Team 9 Meteorologists
- Kevin Carter - (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. (1991–present)
- Jeff Oechslein - (NWA Seal of Approval; member, AMS) - meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon (1998–present)
- Mary Ours - Weekend Forecaster; also weekday reporter (2013-present)
- Aly Cohen - Sports Anchor/Reporter (2012–present)
- Rob Metzger - Sports Anchor (2007–present)
Notable former on-air staff
- Charles "Red" Donley - news reporter, sports reporter, later director (retired in 1988; the WTOV studios are named after him in his honor)
- Cindy Hsu - general assignment reporter (1989-1991); now at WCBS-TV in New York City)
- George Kellas - Sports Anchor / Reporter (1994-2002); died of cancer in February, 2009
- Lisa Kick - Anchor / Reporter (1992-1996); later with WBNS-TV
- Pam Surano - Morning Anchor (1995-1998); later with WYTV-TV in Youngstown
- Jim Forbes - Anchor / Reporter (1989-2000); later worked at WTRF-TV in Wheeling, West Virginia
- Sherrie McCutcheon - Weekday Anchor - (1984-2000); now with WKKX-AM radio in Wheeling, West Virginia
- Angee Shaker - Morning Anchor / Reporter - (1999-2001); later with WYTV-TV in Youngstown
- Karin Janiszewski - Weekday Anchor - (2001-2003); formerly with WTRF-TV in Wheeling, West Virginia
- Kelly Townsend - 5 p.m. Anchor / Reporter (1995-1999); later with KLOR-TV
- Danielle Frizzi - Anchor / Reporter (2000-2006); now spokesperson for The Ohio Lottery
- Jill Del Greco - Belmont County Newsroom Reporter (2003-2006); now with The Ohio Attorney General Office
- Allison Latos - Anchor / Reporter (2006-2011); now with WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina
- Mark Zinni - Weekend Anchor / Reporter (1998-2003); now with WJW (TV) FOX8 in Cleveland
- Rick Terry - Weekend Anchor / Wheeling Newsroom Reporter (1996-2005)
- Dino Orsatti - Morning Anchor - (1995-2009); now with WCDK-FM
- Ryan Recker - Sports Reporter - (2001-2007); now with WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Natalie Pasquerella - 11 p.m. Anchor / Reporter (2004-2008); now with WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina
- Joe Murgo - Morning Meteorologist (1995-2000); now Chief Meteorologist at WTAJ-TV
- Shelby Zarotney - Weeknight anchor / reporter - (1998-2009); now part-time reporter at WPXI-TV
- Kym Kabasko - 11 p.m. anchor / reporter - (1995-1999); now anchor / reporter at KDKA-TV
- Bill Phillips - Sports Director - (1991-2001); now with WPXI-TV
- Kelli Olexia - Weekday Anchor / Reporter - (1996-2001); later worked for KDKA-TV
- Jackie Cain - 11 p.m. Anchor / Reporter - (2006-2010); now with WTAE-TV
- John Paul - Weekend Anchor / Reporter - (2005-2008); now with WHIO-TV
- Jasmine Lo - Wheeling Newsroom Reporter - (2007-2011)
- Maggie Ruper - Weekend Anchor / Reporter (2008-2011); now with WHAS-TV
- Ali Myers - Morning anchor / former Belmont County Newsroom reporter - (2010-2012)
- Natalie Herbick - morning anchor; later Weekday Anchor / Reporter - (2007-2013); now with FOX8 in Cleveland
- Jeff Bowers - Morning Anchor; later 11 p.m. anchor/producer - (2009-2013); now with WHAG-TV in Hagerstown, MD
- Eric Minor- 5, 6 & 11 p.m. anchor; also managing editor - (1996–2013); now teaching at West Virginia University
- Kelly Camarote - Saturday Morning Anchor; also reporter - (2009–2013)
- Briona Arradando - weekend 6 p.m. co-anchor; also reporter (2011–2013); now with WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, TN
- Josh Eachus - meteorologist; weekend evenings, also weekday reporter (2010–2013); now with WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, LA
- Philip Stahl - weekend evening anchor; also Wheeling Newsroom Reporter -(2010–2013)
- Glenn Bolich - general assignment reporter (2013–2014)
- Adam Del Rosso - weekend evening meteorologist; also weekday reporter (2011–2014); now with WAND-TV in Illinois
- Malone, Michael (February 25, 2013). "Sinclair to Acquire Five Cox Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- Where to Watch Me-TV: WTOV
- Meet The NEWS9 Team
- Official Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTOV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTOV-TV