WTVX

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WTVX
Wtvx 2008.png

Wwhb logo.PNG

WTCN15.PNG
Fort Pierce/West Palm Beach, Florida
United States
Branding CW 34 (general)
CBS 12 News
My 15 WTCN-TV (on DT3)
Slogan TV Now (general)
The one to turn to.
Channels Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 34 (PSIP)
Subchannels 34.1 The CW
34.2 Azteca América
34.3 MyNetworkTV
34.4 LATV
Affiliations The CW (2006-present)
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WTVX Licensee, LLC)
First air date April 5, 1962 (1962-04-05)
Call letters' meaning disambiguation of WTVJ (which WTVX replaced
at sign-on)
Sister station(s) WPEC, WTCN-CA, WWHB-CA
Former channel number(s) Analog:
34 (UHF, 1962-2009)
Digital: 50 (UHF)
Former affiliations Primary:
Independent (1962, 1989-1993)
CBS (1962-1989)
PTEN (1993-1995)
UPN (1995-2006)
Secondary:
The WB (2001-2005)
DT4: RTV
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 455 m
Class DT
Facility ID 35575
Transmitter coordinates 27°7′19.0″N 80°23′20.0″W / 27.121944°N 80.388889°W / 27.121944; -80.388889
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.cw34.com

WTVX is the CW-affiliated television station for the Gold and Treasure Coasts of South Florida. Licensed to Fort Pierce, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 34 from a transmitter in unincorporated Martin County (southwest of Palm City and I-95/SR 9). Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station is sister to CBS affiliate WPEC, Class A MyNetworkTV affiliate WTCN-CA, and Class A Azteca América affiliate WWHB-CA. All of the television outlets share studios together on Fairfield Drive in Mangonia Park (with a West Palm Beach postal address). Syndicated programming on WTVX includes Two and a Half Men, Family Feud, Judge Judy, The People's Court among others.

History[edit]

Station logo in the 1980s

WTVX began operations as an Independent station on April 5, 1962 and soon after became a CBS affiliate. Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 34, it was the market's third television outlet to sign-on after NBC affiliate WPTV-TV and ABC affiliate WPEC. Despite its call sign, the station was never owned by the TVX Broadcast Group, which coincidentally was a predecessor to former owner Paramount Stations Group.

It was originally owned by Indian River Television and based in a small building along U.S. 1 just south of the St. Lucie/Indian River County line. Prior to the station becoming a CBS affiliate, Miami's WTVJ was the market's default CBS affiliate. Even after WTVX launched, its UHF signal was not nearly as powerful as WTVJ's VHF signal, and the latter continued to be recognized as the CBS affiliate for the Palm Beaches. It was not until the 1980s when cable penetration allowed WTVX to gain significant audience in Palm Beach. Even then, it remained stubbornly in the ratings basement. It not only had to contend with local rivals WPTV and WPEC, but also with WTVJ, one of the strongest CBS affiliates in the nation.

In 1987, NBC bought WTVJ. CBS then bought former Fox affiliate WCIX (now WFOR-TV), which had a Grade B signal in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. In hopes of improving its signal in Broward County, CBS persuaded WPEC to switch its affiliation to CBS; WPEC has a fairly strong city-grade signal in Broward County. Logically, this should have allowed WTVX to take the ABC affiliation. However, ABC opted instead to align with new sign-on WPBF-TV. This left WTVX as an independent station once again. It bought a significant number of WPBF's classic sitcom and cartoon inventory, since WPBF no longer had time to air it.

During the day, the station showed movies, drama shows, and talk shows. By the summer of 1989, more sitcoms and cartoons were added to the schedule. In 1990, WTVX was sold to Krypton Broadcasting. Krypton filed for bankruptcy in 1993 and the station was acquired by Whitehead Media at auction in 1994. Whitehead Media then entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Paxson Communications, then owner of WPBF.

In 1995, Paramount/Viacom joined with Chris Craft/United Television to form the United Paramount Network (UPN). WTVX immediately became an affiliate of this new network. When WPBF was sold to the Hearst Corporation in early-1997, Viacom's Paramount Stations Group acquired WTVX. However at that time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not permit one entity to directly own two television stations in adjacent markets whose city-grade signals overlapped. Miami's WBFS-TV provided a city-grade signal to West Palm Beach (indeed, for years, WBFS identified as "Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach"), so Paramount could not retain both stations.

To solve the problem, Paramount sold the license and other FCC assets of WTVX to Straightline Communications, with WBFS taking over as WTVX' LMA partner. A similar arrangement existed in New England where Straightline Communications acquired the FCC assets of WLWC in New Bedford, Massachusetts with Viacom's Boston station WSBK-TV operating that station through a similar LMA.

By the late-1990s, like other netlet stations, WTVX had started to move away from cartoons and sitcoms adding more talk-reality and court shows. In the early-2000s, WTVX started to carry The WB on a secondary basis. Programming from that network, such as 7th Heaven, aired after UPN prime time. However, the full WB schedule could be seen via Miami's WBZL-TV. The station soon re-branded from "UPN 34" to "TVX 34," which was based on its call letters.

Viacom would later buy WTVX and WLWC outright in late-2001. After Viacom merged with the previous CBS Corporation, master control and some other internal operations of WTVX were integrated into WBFS and WFOR's studios on Northwest 18th Terrace in Doral (WFOR served as the flagship of the network-owned cluster, dubbed the "CBS South Florida Television Station Group"). Throughout CBS ownership of WTVX and WTCN (as well as WWHB), the stations maintained local offices in West Palm Beach at Beacon Circle.[1]

In the fall of 2005, WTCN-CA (then a little-known community access channel) became the area's new WB affiliate after Viacom's acquisition of that station. As a result, WTVX reverted to solely being a UPN station and returned to the "UPN 34" branding. On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS announced the WB and UPN networks would end broadcasting and merge to form The CW, effective in September 2006. On February 22, News Corporation announced it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network 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.

On the same day The CW's formation was announced, it signed a ten year affiliation agreement with eleven CBS-owned UPN stations, including WTVX. Even without the affiliation deal, its full-powered status made it the obvious choice as the new network's affiliate for the Gold and Treasure Coasts. This left WTCN to either revert to an Independent station or join MyNetworkTV. It chose the latter option and became part of the other new programming service on September 5 while WTVX officially launched The CW on September 18.

On February 7, 2007, CBS agreed to sell seven of its smaller-market stations to Cerberus Capital Management (including WTVX, WTCN, WWHB, and WLWC) for $185 million. Cerberus formed a new holding company for the stations, Four Points Media Group, which took over the operation of the stations through local marketing agreements in late-June 2007 until the group deal closed on January 10, 2008. At this point in time, local operations of WTVX, WTCN, and WWHB moved to offices on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.[2] However, master control was eventually moved to Four Points' hub facility at KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 25, 2008. On March 20, 2009, the Nexstar Broadcasting Group took over the management of Four Points under a three-year outsourcing agreement.[3] [4]

Until the sale to Four Points, WTVX was one of three former CBS affiliates that later became CW stations that were owned by CBS. The other two are KSTW in Seattle and WPCW in Pittsburgh both of which are still owned by the network. On September 8, 2011, the Sinclair Broadcast Group announced its intent to purchase Four Points from Cerberus Capital Management for $200 million. The former company then began managing the stations (including WTVX, WTCN, WWHB, and WLWC) under local marketing agreements following antitrust approval by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).[5]

Sinclair subsequently announced the acquisition of the television station division of Freedom Communications (owner of WPEC) which resulted in WTVX becoming a sister station to the CBS affiliate.[6] The deal with Sinclair acquiring Four Points was completed on January 3, 2012. [7] Although WTVX, WTCN, and WWHB initially retained separate operations from WPEC, they would eventually be merged into WPEC's studios.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
34.1 1080i 16:9 WTVX-HD Main WTVX programming / The CW
34.2 480i 4:3 WWHB Simulcast of WWHB-CA
34.3 WTCN Simulcast of WTCN-CA
34.4 LATV LATV

Due to their Class A status, WWHB and WTCN do not offer digital signals of their own and each of their analog signals only reach the immediate areas surrounding their transmitters. In order to expand their broadcasting radius, both stations are simulcasted in standard definition on digital subchannels of WTVX. At one point in time, WTVX-DT4 carried the Retro Television Network (RTV) on its fourth digital subchannel and Comcast digital channel 225. This would subsequently be dropped in favor of LATV on June 29, 2010.[9] WHDT became the area's RTV affiliate several months later although this affiliation was short-lived.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WTVX discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 34, before the June 12 cut-off date. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 50 to former UHF analog channel 34.[10]

Newscasts[edit]

CBS 12 News on CW 34 open.

As a CBS affiliate, WTVX operated a local news department from its main studios in Fort Pierce and maintained newsrooms in Stuart and West Palm Beach. However, it never made much headway in the ratings. Not only did it have to contend with local rivals WPTV and WPEC, but it also had to reckon with the Miami stations. Soon after losing its network affiliation, the station began to phase out its newscasts, eventually ceasing them completely by the summer of 1989. After establishing a second news operation in the summer of 2008 (after nearly twenty years), the outlet began airing a nightly newscast in prime time. Known as CW West Palm News at 10, this production was seen for 35 minutes and was eventually upgraded to high definition level on September 15.

The program was produced from a secondary set at KUTV's studios and featured that station's anchor personnel for news and weather. However, there were two locally-based reporters in West Palm Beach who would contribute content to the show. WTVX's 10 o'clock show competed with the well-established nightly prime time newscast on Fox affiliate WFLX (originally produced by WPEC; WPTV would take over production in 2011).

On March 2, 2009, WTVX shifted the newscast to air weeknights at 6:30 in order to offer a local alternative to the national news programs that are seen on the market's big three stations. On June 8, 2009, it discontinued the local news effort altogether due to low ratings and inconsistent viewership. It would not be until March 3, 2014 when another prime time newscast would air on WTVX. The show, this time produced by WPEC, is known as CBS 12 News at 10 on CW 34 and can only be seen weeknights for a half-hour. This is WTVX's third showing of local news of any kind since its incarnation.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]