|WTTV: Bloomington, Indiana
WTTK: Kokomo/Indianapolis, Indiana
|City of license||WTTV: Bloomington, Indiana
WTTK: Kokomo, Indiana
|Branding||Indiana's Channel 4|
WTTV: 48 (UHF)
WTTK: 29 (UHF)
WTTV: 4 (PSIP)
WTTK: 29 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||4.1/29.1 The CW
4.2/29.2 This TV
(Tribune Broadcasting Indianapolis, LLC)
|First air date||WTTV:
November 11, 1949
WTTK: May 6, 1983
|Call letters' meaning||WTTV:
(after founding owner Sarkes Tarzian)
WTTK: WTTV Kokomo
|Former callsigns||WTTK: WWKI (1983–1987)|
|Former channel number(s)||WTTV:
10 (VHF, 1949–1954)
4 (VHF, 1954–2009)
29 (VHF, 1983–2009)
Digital: 54 (UHF, –2009)
The WB (1998–2006)
|Transmitter power||WTTV: 870 kW
WTTK: 550 kW
|Height||WTTV: 318 m
WTTK: 300 m
|Facility ID||WTTV: 56523
|Public license information:||/ WTTK Profile
/ WTTK CDBS
WTTV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 48), is a CW-affiliated television station serving Indianapolis, Indiana, United States that is licensed to Bloomington. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company, as part of a duopoly with Fox affiliate WXIN (channel 59). The two stations share studio facilities located on Network Place (near 71st Street & I-465) at the Intech Park office development in northwestern Indianapolis; WTTV maintains transmitter facilites located on State Road 252 in Trafalgar.
The station operates a full-time satellite station WTTK (virtual and UHF digital channel 29) in Kokomo, which maintains transmitter facilities on a tower shared with WXIN located on West 73rd Street/Westlane Road on the northern outskirts of Indianapolis (west of Meridian Hills). WTTK covers northern portions of the market that receive a marginal to non-existent signal of WTTV (including the cities of Kokomo, Muncie and Lafayette), though there is significant overlap between the coverage areas of both WTTV and WTTK's signals otherwise. On-air references to WTTK are limited to FCC-mandated hourly station identifications during newscasts and other programming.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 Local programming
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The station first signed on the air on November 11, 1949, originally broadcasting on VHF channel 10; it was the second television station to sign on in the state of Indiana, debuting almost 6½ months after WFBM-TV (channel 6, now WRTV) signed on in May 1949. It has made the claim to being Indiana's oldest "continuously operating" television station because WFBM-TV had experienced a transmitter failure which took it off the air for an extended period of time shortly after WTTV signed on. Founded by original owner Sarkes Tarzian, a Bloomington-based radio manufacturer and broadcaster, the station originally operated as a primary NBC affiliate with secondary affiliations with ABC and the DuMont Television Network. WTTV originally transmitted its signal from a shorter tower near Cloverdale. In its early years, instead of buying most of the expensive items needed to run a television station, Tarzian had his own engineers and technicians design, and build the items needed. For example, an overhead microphone boom cost approximately $300. Tarzian employees built one for less than $30. When Tarzian decided to start broadcasting network programs, establishing a coaxial cable link from Cincinnati would prove impractical, so Tarzian built his own microwave relay system from Cincinnati to Bloomington.
WTTV moved to VHF channel 4 on February 21, 1954 (the VHF channel 10 allocation was later reassigned to Terre Haute, and was used by WTHI-TV, which signed on in July 1954); The station lost the ABC affiliation after WISH-TV (channel 8) signed on two months later in April of that year. In 1956, the station lost the NBC affiliation to WFBM-TV; WTTV subseqeuntly rejoined ABC after WISH-TV became took a primary affiliation with CBS. That same year, it relocated its studio facilities to a site at Bluff Road on the south side of Indianapolis, although the station retained its original studios in Bloomington as an auxiliary site for many years afterward. In the late 1950s, the station began producing some of its local programs in color; WTTV would convert to full color broadcasts in the fall of 1965, after it purchased color-capable camera equipment.
The station activated its current tower in Trafalgar, the tallest structure in Indiana at 1,132 feet (345 m) above ground level, in 1957; the transmitter facility is located farther south than Indianapolis's other major television stations due to Federal Communications Commission regulations that require a station's transmitter site be located no more than 15 miles (24 km) from its city of license (in this case, Bloomington, which is 50.5 miles (81.3 km) south of Indianapolis). WTTV only provided a grade B ("rim-shot") signal to the city's northern suburbs and was unreceiveable farther north. As a result, most of these areas only got a clear signal from channel 4 when the Indianapolis market received its first cable television franchises in in the late 1960s. Because of this rule, when WTTV regained the ABC affiliation, the network's Muncie affiliate WLBC-TV (channel 49, allocation now occuupied by PBS member station WIPB) served as the de facto ABC affiliate for the northern part of the market.
As an independent station
On October 30, 1957, WTTV became an independent station after losing the ABC affiliation to upstart WLWI (channel 13, now WTHR). At that point, the station signed on at 2:00 p.m. each weekday, running a test pattern until regular programming began at 4:00 p.m. The station initially ran older movies and low-budget syndicated programs as well as some of its own locally produced programming. By the 1970s, WTTV began signing on by 6:00 a.m. and stayed on the air until at least 2:00 a.m. In addition to local programming, WTTV aired plenty of movies during the early afternoon hours and in primetime. It also aired cartoons, which were mixed in with locally produced children's programs in the afternoons from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. as well as off-network sitcoms in the evenings.
As cable television expanded in the Midwest during the 1970s, WTTV became a regional superstation – which at its height, was available on many cable providers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky; its distribution was relegated to cable systems within Indiana by the mid-1980s. Sarkes Tarzian sold WTTV to Teleco for $26.5 million in September 1978; the station was then sold to the Tel-Am Corporation in March 1984. By the mid-1980s, WTTV began airing more cartoons and first-run syndicated talk shows during the daytime hours, as well as an increased amount of recent off-network sitcoms during the evening. The station also began broadcasting 24 hours a day of programming by that time. Although it was one of the strongest independent stations in the country, WTTV opted against affiliating with the upstart Fox network in 1986, choosing instead to remain an independent; the Fox affiliation in the Indianapolis market was awarded to eventual sister station WXIN (channel 59), which became a charter affiliate of the network when it launched on October 6 of that year.
In 1987, Tel-Am purchased fellow independent station WWKI-TV (channel 29) in Kokomo (located 52 miles (84 km) north of Indianapolis), which signed on the air on May 6, 1983; it converted that station into a full-time satellite of WTTV as WTTK to improve its over-the-air coverage in northern portions of the market that could not receive the WTTV signal. Tel-Am filed for bankruptcy in 1987; Capitol Broadcasting purchased WTTV and WTTK in July 1988, after a sale attempt by locally based Emmis Communications fell through. The stations were then sold to River City Broadcasting in 1991. In September 1993, the station became an affiliate of the Prime Time Entertainment Network syndication service.
From UPN to The WB
WTTV became a charter affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN), when the network launched on January 16, 1995. In April 1996, River City Broadcasting merged with the Sinclair Broadcast Group in a $1.2 billion deal. However due to Federal Communications Commission regulations at that time which prohibited the common ownership of two full-power commercial television stations in the same market, Sinclair had to obtain a crossownership waiver to retain ownership of WTTV/WTTK and the company's existing Indianapolis station, inTV affiliate WIIB (channel 63, now Ion Television owned-and-operated station WIPX-TV), which the company eventually sold to DP Media two years later. After Sinclair signed a deal with The WB to affiliate with several UPN-affiliated and independent stations that the company either managed or owned outright, WTTV became the market's WB affiliate in September 1998 and changed its on-air branding to "WB 4 Indiana"; this resulted in an affiliation swap with WB charter affiliate WNDY-TV (channel 23), which took the UPN affiliation after being acquired by network sister company Paramount Stations Group.
As The WB pushed for market exclusivity for its local affiliates as the network increased its national distribution beyond the Tribune Company's television stations and the superstation feed of its Chicago affiliate WGN-TV, Sinclair decided to wind down carriage agreements that the station had with cable providers located outside of the Indianapolis market (the station remains available on cable systems on the Indiana side of the Terre Haute market, which currently lacks an over-the-air CW affiliate; the network is only available through cable-exclusive CW Plus affiliate "WBI").
On April 19, 2002, Sinclair Broadcast Group sold WTTV and WTTK to Tribune Broadcasting for $125 million, creating the market's first television duopoly under current FCC regulations with Fox affiliate WXIN; the purchase was finalized on July 24 of that year (Tribune held an ownership interest in The WB at the time, however WTTV could not technically be considered an owned-and-operated station since Time Warner held a 78% majority interest in the network).
Although WTTV was the longer-established of the two stations, Tribune chose to keep the Fox affiliation on WXIN due in part to WTTV's weaker signal in the northern part of the market. Additionally, Fox only airs up to two Indianapolis Colts games each year as the team is part of the NFL's American Football Conference, so Fox did not consider Indianapolis as important a market in getting a VHF affiliate. WTTV merged its operations with those of WXIN in 2004, when the latter moved its operations into new facilities at 6910 Network Place at the Intech Park office development on the city's northwest side.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom in December 2005) and announced that they would dissolve The WB and UPN (which CBS had acquired one month earlier in December 2005 following its split from the original Viacom), and combine the respective programming of both networks to create a new "fifth" network, The CW. The network signed a ten-year agreement with Tribune to affiliate with 16 of the 19 WB-affiliated stations that the company had owned at the time, including WTTV/WTTK; WTTV/WTTK became the market's CW affiliate when the network launched on September 18, 2006, its on-air branding was also changed to "CW 4". In August 2008, the station rebranded as "Indiana's 4" as part of a corporate effort by Tribune to strengthen the local branding of its stations and reduce the dependence on the use of references to The CW in its stations' branding in part due to the network's weak national ratings.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|WTTV||WTTK||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main WTTV-WTTK programming / The CW|
WTTK: THIS TV
WTTV and WTTK shut down their respective analog signals, over VHF channel 4 and UHF channel 29, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. WTTV's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48; through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4. WTTK relocated its digital signal from its pre-transition UHF channel 54, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its former analog-era UHF channel 29 for post-transition operations.
As part of the SAFER Act, WTTV kept its analog signal on the air until June 26 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
After WXIN shut down its analog signal on June 12, WTTK began broadcasting its signal from a newly installed common antenna atop WXIN's transmitter tower on Westlane Road in northwestern Indianapolis. Prior to the digital transition, WTTK operated its analog transmitter on State Route 213, just south of Windfall; the site remains owned by Tribune, although the FCC does not presently have an application on file for use of the transmitter as a backup Digital Auxiliary Service.
WTTV carries the entire CW network schedule with all programs airing in pattern. Syndicated programs broadcast by WTTV include The Simpsons, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, The People's Court, America's Court with Judge Ross, Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
Channel 4 referred to itself as "Indiana's Sports Station" for many years, having served as the local television broadcaster of college basketball games from the Big Ten Conference – with a focus on games involving Indiana University and Purdue University – since the 1950s, via both in-house productions and later through syndication deals with Raycom Sports and ESPN Plus. In fact, many cable providers in Indiana began carrying WTTV simply for the Hoosiers and Boilermakers game telecasts. WTTV also presented other Big Ten football and men's basketball telecasts on Saturdays, until the station lost the rights to those games when the athletic conference launched the Big Ten Network in August 2007. Since then, WTTV has aired Saturday afternoon telecasts of college basketball games from the Big East Conference (presumably due to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's large following in the area).
WTTV also previously served as the flagship station for Indianapolis Colts NFL preseason games (which have since moved to WNDY). WTTV traditionally produced statewide boys' and girls' high school basketball tournament finals and high school football championship games; however, after the Indiana High School Athletics Association converted its basketball tournament from a single-class to a multi-class format in 1997, WTTV chose not to renew those rights citing a decline in ratings (the broadcasts subsequently moved to WHMB-TV (channel 40)); a new agreement with the IHSAA returned these events to WTTV in the fall of 2010.
WTTV also served as the television flagship for the Indiana Pacers from the team's days in the original American Basketball Association (except from 1984 to 1985, when those rights were held by present-day sister station WXIN due to Pacers owner Melvin Simon's part-ownership of the station). WTTV lost the rights to the Pacers telecasts after the 2005-06 season, when the NBA team moved their local game telecasts to regional sports network and Midwest subfeed Fox Sports Indiana.
In August 2008, WTTV debuted Hoosier High School Sports Overtime, a weekly half-hour program devoted to Indiana high school athletics that airs Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m.; it is currently hosted by WXIN sports anchor Jeremiah Johnson. In November of that year, the station also began running Hoosier High School Sports Classics, a two-hour program that features rebroadcasts of past Indiana high school football and basketball state championship games, interspersed with present day interviews of coaches and athletes that were involved; it aired on Sundays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
In 1950, WTTV began operating an in-house news department; after losing its ABC affiliation in 1957, it became one of the few independent stations outside of the ten largest television markets that had a functioning news department. In 1979, the station began airing the first primetime newscast in the Indianapolis market, when it moved its nightly evening news program to 10:00 p.m. (predating WXIN's first and shorter-lived primetime news effort by five years). Capitol Broadcasting abruptly shut down WTTV's news department on November 1, 1990 due to financial problems, with the last 10:00 newscast airing the night before on October 31; 34 staffers were laid off as a result.
The station replaced the newscast in the 10:00 p.m. slot with syndicated programmming for the next few months, before it entered into a news share agreement with ABC affiliate WRTV in April 1991 to produce a half-hour 10:00 p.m. newscast – titled WRTV 6 News at Ten and later 6 News at Ten – which debuted that fall. After Tribune bought the station, WTTV terminated the news share agreement with WRTV, so as to not compete with new sister station WXIN's longer-established 10:00 p.m. newscast; the WRTV-produced newscast was discontinued on December 31, 2002, with channel 4 filling the 10:00 p.m. slot with syndicated programming thereafter.
Since becoming a sister station to WXIN, WTTV has carried that station's primetime newscast during instances where Fox's MLB playoff game telecasts run into the 10:00 p.m. timeslot (the station does not use a News at Ten logo on-air in place of the Fox 59 News branding, unlike what Hartford, Connecticut sister station WCCT-TV does during broadcasts of sister station WTIC-TV's newscasts). On January 2, 2008, the station began simulcasting the 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. block of WXIN's weekday morning newscast; the 5:00 a.m. hour of the program began to be simulcast on WTTV on March 31, 2008. The simulcast was briefly discontinued on September 18, 2009, before returning the following month on October 12; the simulcast – by then, running only from 4:30 to 6:00 a.m. – was moved to WTTV/WTTK's This TV-affiliated second digital subchannel on September 13, 2010, later expanding to include the full six-hour broadcast from 4:00 to 10:00 a.m. along with the three-hour weekend morning newscast; the simulcast was discontinued again in September 2013. The only locally produced programming on WTTV/WTTK that was close to a news product after the simulcast moved from the stations' main channel was the business showcase Indy's MarketPlace (or Indiana's Market), which aired weekdays at 8:00 and 11:30 a.m.; the program ended on September 10, 2010.
Besides simulcasts and default carriage of WXIN's newscasts in the event of Fox Sports programming delays, WTTV has not carried traditional local newscasts produced specifically for the station since the 2002 cancellation of the WRTV-produced newscast; it is presently one of only five Tribune-owned stations that do not carry daily newscasts (alongside WNOL-TV/New Orleans, WCCT-TV/Hartford-New Haven, WDCW/Washington, D.C. and WSFL-TV/Miami) of any kind.
- Capital News Beat (1969–1971)
- Channel 4 News (1971–1974)
- News 4 Indiana (1974–1979)
- The Ten O'Clock News/The Nine O'Clock News (standard time) (1979–1988)
- The Indiana Nightly News (1988–1989)
- TTV4 News (1989–1990)
- WRTV 6 News at Ten on TTV4 (1991–1998)
- 6 News 10 @ 10 (1998)
- 6 News at Ten on WB 4 Indiana (1998–2002)
- Fox 59 News on Indiana's WB 4 (2003–2006; as a backup during MLB Playoff telecasts on WXIN)
- Fox 59 News on CW 4 (2006–2008)
- Fox 59 Morning News (2008–2013; aired on WTTV 4.2/WTTK 29.2)
- Fox 59 News on Indiana's 4 (2008–September 2009 and October 2009–2010)
- Fox 59 News at 10 on Indiana's 4 (during MLB Playoffs only and Fox Sports/live network telecasts expected to run past 10:00 p.m.)
- "The Indiana Television Station" (1986–1989)
- "4 The Good Times" (late 1980s)
- "TTV4, The New Channel 4" (1989)
- "The Heart of Indiana" (1989–1995)
- "Live Indiana." (2008–present)
Notable former on-air staff
- Bob Carter (Sammy Terry) - late night horror movie show host (died on June 30, 2013)
- Hilliard Gates - longtime Indiana University men's basketball announcer and reporter (deceased)
- Frank Edwards - host of Stranger Than Science, a locally produced program on UFOs and the paranormal from 1955 to 1959 and 1961 to 1962 (died 1967)
- Barbara Stock - host of the talk show Mid-Morning (best known for her role as Susan Silverman on the detective drama Spenser: For Hire)
Other locally produced programming
From the 1960s to the early 1980s, WTTV was known in Central Indiana for its local programming, including children's shows Janie (previously titled Popeye and Janie) and Cowboy Bob's Corral (previously titled Chuckwagon Theatre, both starring Bob Glaze in the role of Cowboy Bob). Late night horror movies during this timeframe were presented by Sammy Terry, a ghoulish vampire character portrayed by Bob Carter. The station frequently ran local advertising including from Dave Mason Buick, featuring the catchphrase "Old Dave needs the money;" Mason was often shown in the stands during coverage of the Marion County fair. In the late 1980s, the station produced a film noir-styled mystery show titled Hide & Sneak, which was related to a scratch-off game distributed at local supermarkets. Solving the mystery presented in one of the skits led to prizes. Each episode aired only once, however, because of its time-sensitive nature.
In 1989, WTTV obtained the local rights to the Hoosier Lottery's daily drawings and its companion game show, Hoosier Millionaire; the station lost the lottery rights to WNDY-TV in September 1995; WTTV regained the rights to the lottery in 1999, partnering with WRTV in the production of the Hoosier Lottery's daily drawings to fulfill requirements of channel 4's contract with the lottery commission, which required the evening drawings to air during local newscasts.
In August 2008, Clear Channel-owned radio station WFBQ (94.7 FM) formed a partnership with the Tribune Company to produce a television broadcast of the nationally syndicated radio program The Bob & Tom Show (hosted by Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold); the pre-recorded hour-long program – featuring highlights taken from that day's radio broadcast – aired on WTTV and co-owned Chicago-based cable superstation WGN America, in an effort by Tribune to bring back programming distributed by the company on its stations. The program debuted on November 3, 2008; WGN America dropped the program on September 10, 2010.
- "TV Comes to Small Town." Popular Mechanics, August 1952, pp. 128-132/228.
- WB woos and wins Sinclair, Broadcasting & Cable, July 21, 1997. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- Tribune to Acquire WTTV-TV (WB4), Indianapolis; Purchase Creates Company's Fourth Duopoly
- Tribune Co. lands duopoly in Indy with WTTV buy, Indianapolis Business Journal, April 29, 2002. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- Tribune wraps up purchase of WTTV, Indianapolis Business Journal, July 29, 2002. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- WXIN-TV Channel 59 and WTTV-TV Channel 4 are making their move, Indianapolis Business Journal, December 22, 2003. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- Tribune TV Stations to Lead Affiliate Group of New Network, Tribune Company corporate website, January 24, 2006.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- CDBS Print
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- PACERS ANNOUNCE FOX SPORTS Partnership, NBA, August 15, 2006.
- INDIANAPOLIS' WTTV-4 CANCELS NEWS OPERATION, Post-Tribune, November 3, 1990. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- WTTV, WRTV discuss joint newscast, Indianapolis Business Journal, April 1, 1991. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- Channel 6 early news may sign off Dec. 31, Indianapolis Business Journal (via HighBeam Research), December 23, 2002. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- WXIN to simulcast morning news on WTTV, Indianapolis Business Journal, December 3, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- WTTV February 2008 News Promo Montage
- Numbers game: lottery seeks 'Millionaire' bidders, Indianapolis Business Journal, April 13, 1998. Retrieved June 19, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
- "The Bob & Tom Show", Indianapolis Business Journal, August 25, 2008.
- "Radio's Bob & Tom are off their nightly TV show". Radio-Info.com. September 21, 2010.
- Indianas4.com - WTTV/WTTK official website
- Indianapolis.ThisTV.com - WTTV-DT2/WTTK-DT2 ("This TV Indianapolis") official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTTV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTTV-TV
- Listing 1026127 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database
- WTTV Television Tower at Structurae
- Tribune Company: Press Release: Tribune Completes Acquisition of WTTV-TV (WB4), Indianapolis - July 24, 2002
- Official Website of Cowboy Bob's Corral
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTTK
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTTK-TV
- Listing 1030684 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database
- Listing 1026126 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database