|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
|Branding||Fox 28 (general)
Fox 28 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your local news, one hour earlier|
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 28 (PSIP)
(operated through LMA by
Sinclair Broadcast Group)
(Columbus (WTTE-TV) Licensee, Inc.)
|First air date||June 1, 1984|
|Call letters' meaning||Television Twenty-Eight|
|Sister station(s)||WSYX, WWHO|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
28 (UHF, 1984–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1984–1986)
UPN (secondary, 1995–1997)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||271 m (889 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WTTE, channel 28, is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Columbus, Ohio, USA. WTTE's broadcast license is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, while the station's operations are controlled via local marketing agreement (LMA) by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WTTE's original owners and present proprietors of ABC affiliate WSYX (channel 6). Sinclar Broadcast Group also operates Chillicothe-licensed, CW-affiliated WWHO (channel 53), through a shared services agreement with Manhan Media. The three stations share studios on Dublin Road in Grandview Heights, a suburb of Columbus; WTTE and WSYX also share a transmitter on Columbus' west side.
WTTE began operations on June 1, 1984 as the first general-entertainment independent station in central Ohio. The station was founded by the Commercial Radio Institute, a subsidiary of the Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group. WTTE quickly became the dominant independent station in the area largely because its programming policy was far less conservative than that of the other independent in the area, Christian-oriented, Newark-licensed WSFJ-TV (channel 51). Channel 28 is a charter affiliate of Fox, having joined the network at its launch on October 9, 1986. From 1995 until 1997, it carried a secondary affiliation with UPN which was then picked up by WWHO.
In 1996, Sinclair merged with River City Broadcasting, owner of WSYX. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules at the time did not allow one person to own two stations in a single market. Sinclair kept the longer-established WSYX and nominally sold WTTE to Glencairn, Ltd. owned by former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards. However, nearly all of Glencairn's stock was held by the Smith family, founders and owners of Sinclair. In effect, Sinclair still owned WTTE, and now had a duopoly in Columbus in violation of FCC rules. Sinclair and Glencairn further circumvented the rules by moving WTTE's operations into WSYX' studios under a local marketing agreement, with WSYX as senior partner. Glencairn owned ten other stations—all in markets where Sinclair also had a station. Sinclair was eventually fined $40,000 for its illegal control of Glencairn.
The two companies attempted to merge in 2001 after the FCC allowed duopolies. However, the FCC would not allow Sinclair to repurchase WTTE. The FCC does not allow duopolies between two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market. Also the Columbus market, despite its relatively large size, has only seven full-power stations—too few to legally permit a duopoly. WTTE thus remained under the banner of Glencairn, which was then renamed Cunningham Broadcasting. However, the Smith family still controls nearly all of Cunningham's stock, so Sinclair still effectively has a duopoly in Columbus. By nearly all accounts, Sinclair has used Glencairn / Cunningham as a shell corporation to evade FCC ownership rules.
In 2006, all Sinclair-controlled Fox affiliates including WTTE extended their affiliation contracts until at least March 2012. WTTE-DT2 was formerly an affiliate of The Tube, a 24-hour digital music channel. Like other Sinclair-owned stations, this was dropped in January 2007 and the network ceased operations that October due to the lack of advertising. It has been off-the-air since that time.
According to Nielsen Media Research in the May 2011 ratings period, WTTE was the 2nd most watched Fox affiliate in the United States in prime time. The station remains intensely competitive in the Columbus television market with it remaining an extremely strong competitor against WBNS-TV and WCMH-TV averaging roughly 300,000 viewers each night during the station's 10 o'clock newscast despite its earlier time slot. WTTE typically wins the demographic viewership battle each and every ratings period. The demographic win is a much sought after attribute for television sales associates in the area for local advertising purposes.
On October 18, 2010 the station reactivated their 28.2 digital subchannel for the first time since December 2006, when WTTE discontinued carrying the now-defunct The Tube Music Network due to a disagreement between Sinclair and The Tube over E/I programming. 28.2 then carried theCoolTV, another music video network which has E/I programming pre-inserted as part of their national schedule, but discontinued the station as of August 31, 2012. No replacement has been made to date.
WTTE is also considered an alternate ABC affiliate airing that network's programs when WSYX is unable to do so such as during a breaking news emergency or local special.
On May 15, 2012, Sinclair and Fox agreed to a five-year extension to the network's affiliation agreement with the 19 Fox stations owned or controlled by Sinclair, including WTTE, allowing them to continue carrying the network's programming through 2017.
On June 23, 2014, Sinclair signed a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to carry the GetTV network as a subchannel on 33 of their stations; WTTE was one such station, and the 28.2 subchannel was reactivated.
On October 9, 2014, Sinclair similarly signed a deal with Katz Broadcasting to carry the Grit network on 47 of their stations. WTTE has allocated a 28.3 subchannel for this purpose, but as of October 30, 2014 it has not yet been activated.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|28.1||720p||16:9||WTTE-DT||Main WTTE programming / Fox|
|28.3||—||Grit (coming soon)|
WTTE was one of only two full-power television stations in the Columbus market (the other being WWHO) that honored the original DTV transition date of February 17, 2009. WTTE shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 28, at 11:59 p.m. on that date, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 36, using PSIP to display WTTE's virtual channel as 28 on digital television receivers. However, for two weeks afterward, analog channel 28 aired a repeating loop of a short informational film (in both English and Spanish) about the DTV changeover and how to upgrade to digital television. Analog channel 28 has since gone dark.
The station began a 10 p.m. newscast in 1995 and was the second in central Ohio after an attempt by WWHO that was produced by WCMH. Former Fox 28 Kids Club host Yolanda Harris was one of the original anchors and now serves as weeknight co-anchor on WTTE and WSYX. By August 1999, this station's newscast was absorbed into WSYX's news department which then began producing WTTE's news programs under the NewsCenter branding that WSYX used at the time. This title was eventually dropped. Today, WSYX produces four hours of news each week on WTTE. It places a prime focus on its weather operation that uses the full suite of "Weather Central" technology by placing the forecast near the beginning of each broadcast and by providing weather updates every ten minutes on weekday mornings.
WTTE did not participate in the wider implementation of Sinclair's now-defunct, controversial News Central format for its newscasts but did air "The Point", a one-minute political commentary, that was also controversial and a requirement of all Sinclair-owned stations with newscasts until the series was discontinued in December 2006. WSYX launched its newscasts in high definition on May 10, 2008 making it the third Columbus and second Sinclair-owned station to make the upgrade. The WTTE broadcasts, Fox 28 News at 10 and Good Day Columbus, were included in the change. In 2012, Good Day Columbus expanded into the 9:00 a.m. hour. On September 7, 2013; "Good Day Columbus" expanded into weekend mornings with airing on sister station WSYX from 5:00-8:00 a.m. and on WTTE from 8:00-10:00 a.m.
- Sinclair Reups With Fox, Gets WUTB Option, TVNewsCheck, May 15, 2012.
- "GetTV Signs Big Affiliation Deal With Sinclair," from TVNewsCheck, 6/23/2014
- "Sinclair Broadcast Group to launch Grit in 47 markets," press release on GritTV.com, October 9, 2014
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTTE
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations