WUPA

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WUPA
CW69 Logo.png
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
Branding CW 69
Slogan TV Now
Channels Digital: 43 (UHF)
Virtual: 69 (PSIP)
Subchannels 69.1 The CW
Affiliations The CW
Owner CBS Corporation
(Atlanta Television Station WUPA, Inc.)
First air date November 10, 1980; 33 years ago (1980-11-10)
Call letters' meaning UPN Atlanta
(former affiliation)
Sister station(s) WZGC, WAOK, WVEE
Former callsigns WVEU (1980–1995)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
69 (UHF, 1980–2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1980–1995)
UPN (1995–2006)
Fox Kids/4Kids TV (2002–2006)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 335 m
Facility ID 6900
Transmitter coordinates 33°44′40″N 84°21′36″W / 33.74444°N 84.36000°W / 33.74444; -84.36000
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.cwatlantatv.com

WUPA, virtual channel 69 (UHF digital channel 43), is a CW owned-and-operated television station located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subidiary of CBS Corporation. WUPA maintains studio facilities located in unincorporated DeKalb County on the frontage road of Interstate 85, and its transmitter is located in North Druid Hills.

Although WGCL-TV (channel 46) manages independent station WPCH-TV (channel 17) under a local marketing agreement, occasionally as time permits, WUPA may air CBS network programs whenever WGCL is unable to in the event of extended breaking news or severe weather coverage, or special event programming.

History[edit]

As an independent station[edit]

The station first signed on the air on November 10, 1980, as an independent station under the call letters WVEU, and was originally owned by locally-based BCG Communications. Initially, it ran a schedule of business news programming during the day and the subscription television service VEU during the evenings and on weekends. By 1982, it was running VEU's programming most of the day. In 1984, WVEU dropped the subscription television service and switched to a general entertainment format with a focus on music videos. From that year until 1985, the station was branded as "Atlanta's Music Video Channel", with VJs as presenters during the hours that featured music programming.

The station also ran low-budget syndicated shows, CBS and NBC programs that were preempted by WAGA-TV and WXIA-TV, and some older movies. However, better programming was difficult to come by, as longer-established competitors WTBS and WANX (now WGCL-TV) picked up the higher-profile programs. Another problem was the station's signal (originally broadcasting from a transmitter atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel), which was painfully weak at the time and did not reach very far outside of the I-285 corridor, requiring most viewers to have to subscribe to cable in order to watch the station. Things became more difficult when WATL was sold to Outlet Broadcasting in 1984 and became more competitive in acquiring better syndicated programs and films. WANX, while running slightly more religious programming than normal but largely still maintaining a general entertainment format, also became a more aggressive competitor when it came to acquiring programming after the Christian Broadcasting Network sold the station to Tribune Broadcasting, changing its callsign to WGNX.

Atlanta was not a large enough market at the time to support four independent stations. Realizing this, in 1986, WVEU began running Home Shopping Network programming for about 15 hours each day. HSN entered into discussions to buy the station, but the deal fell through in 1987. Instead, HSN arranged for WNGM-TV in Athens (channel 34, now WUVG-TV) to become a full-time HSN affiliate. From 1989 to 1994, WVEU primarily aired programming from HSN's sister service Home Shopping Network II, but also aired some religious shows, infomercials, NBC and ABC programs preempted by WXIA and WSB-TV and a few syndicated shows. It continued to suffer from very low viewership but was profitable because it did not spend as much money on programming as the market's other independents.

On May 22, 1994, as a result of the network winning the rights to air NFC football games,[1] New World Communications announced an affiliation deal with Fox to switch the affiliations of most of New World's stations to the network. One of the stations involved was WAGA, New World's flagship station at the time. Fox decided to sell its existing Atlanta O&O (and the market's original Fox affiliate), WATL. CBS approached WSB-TV, WXIA and WATL to become the network's new Atlanta affiliate, but neither of those stations were interested; WGNX was also not interested at first. The latter, then owned by Tribune Broadcasting, was slated to join The WB, which it co-owned with Time Warner. Meanwhile, WATL had been the likely candidate to become Atlanta's affiliate for Paramount Pictures and Chris-Craft Industries' jointly owned service, the United Paramount Network.

With only a few months before WAGA was slated to join Fox, CBS faced the prospect of having to pipe in out-of-market affiliates from Spartanburg, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Columbus and Macon, Georgia for cable subscribers. Almost out of desperation, CBS agreed to buy WVEU that October, even though the station had the lowest ratings and the weakest signal out of Atlanta's full-power stations.[2] However, late in November, Tribune agreed to affiliate WGNX with CBS, while WATL would become a WB affiliate. As a result, channel 69 acquired most of WGNX's syndicated programming inventory, including syndicated cartoons and off-network sitcoms. By the time of the affiliation switch in December, WVEU finally had a decent slate of programming.

UPN affiliation[edit]

WVEU became a charter affiliate of UPN upon the network's January 11, 1995 debut. That summer, the station's then-owners, Ellis Communications, traded the station to the Paramount Stations Group (a subsidiary of the original Viacom) in exchange for Shreveport, Louisiana's CBS affiliate KSLA-TV,[3] making it a UPN owned-and-operated station; the new owners subsequently changed its call letters to the present WUPA.[4] Viacom gave the station a significant on-air facelift to match its new status as an O&O. It also significantly boosted the station's signal to five million watts, giving WUPA a coverage area comparable to the other major Atlanta stations.

The affiliation with UPN ushered in a new era for WUPA. With a stronger signal and the syndicated shows it had acquired from WGNX, the station became a factor in the Atlanta ratings for the first time ever. The station's viewership would surpass that of WATL and even WTBS. For most of UPN's run, WUPA was the network's fourth strongest station (tied with Charlotte, North Carolina's WJZY by the end of the network's run).

The station returned to CBS hands when the CBS network and its other television properties merged with Viacom in 2000. However, the station remained affiliated with UPN (due to WGNX/WGCL having higher ratings and a better channel position than WUPA). Over the years, more first-run syndicated shows were added to the station's schedule. When the Disney cartoon block ended in 2003, WUPA stopped running kids programming on weekdays; it picked up the Fox Kids (later Fox Box, then 4Kids TV) children's lineup from WHOT-TV (now WUVG-DT) in 2002, when that station was sold to Univision. Channel 69 continued to air Fox's Saturday morning children's block until just before The CW began airing, by then it was replaced by Kids WB. Thereafter, 4Kids TV was not carried on any Atlanta station until it was discontinued in December 2008 (the successor to 4Kids TV, the infomercial block Weekend Marketplace, currently airs on WATL). In 2006, Viacom changed its name to CBS Corporation and spun off its movie interests and most of its cable assets (except for Showtime Networks, which CBS kept) into a new Viacom. WUPA remained under CBS ownership, along with the company's other broadcasting interests. It is also co-owned with its corporate radio cousins WVEE, WZGC-FM and WAOK, which are all located separately from WUPA in midtown.

The CW (2006-present)[edit]

On January 24, 2006, WUPA parent CBS and Time Warner announced they were "merging" UPN and The WB networks into a new service featuring a mix of programs from both networks and new first-run programs called The CW Television Network, which was set for a September 18, 2006 launch.[5][6] The new network subsequently signed a 10-year affiliation deal with 11 of CBS Corporation's UPN stations, including WUPA. While it would not have been an upset had WATL been chosen as Atlanta's CW affiliate, the network's representatives were on record as preferring the "strongest" in terms of viewership among The WB and UPN's station body, and Atlanta was one of the few markets where stations that carried either network both had relatively strong viewership. In August 2006, WUPA began branding itself as "The CW Atlanta"; however, the station retained its call letters – which refer to its former affiliation with UPN.

In celebration of The CW coming to WUPA, the network produced a one-hour fashion and music program in partnership with Macy's and VIBE, Beats, Style, & Flavor. The program was hosted by former America's Next Top Model winner Eva Pigford and V-103 radio host Greg Street. The program first aired on September 7, 2006 and re-aired on September 17, the eve of The CW's launch. In November 2006, FTVLive revealed that master control operations of WUPA and Tampa's WTOG would be hubbed out of Norfolk, Virginia sister station WGNT. This was later confirmed by CBS Corporation management, which originally denied that such a move would happen.[7] On January 29, 2008, WUPA changed its on-air branding from "The CW Atlanta" to "CW69". In August 2010, CBS Television Stations began winding down operations at the Norfolk master control hub as WGNT was sold to Local TV (which owned that market's CBS affiliate WTKR), resulting in WUPA and WTOG handling their own master control operations in-house.

WUPA sponsors a local theater venue in a promotional partnership with Rival Entertainment at 17th and West Peachtree Streets in downtown Atlanta. Called The CW Midtown Music Complex, it features three performance spaces within the same space; "Center Stage", "The Loft", and "Vinyl". As a CBS-owned station, WUPA's website uses the standard "CBS (city) branding"; the site's domain name uses ".net" to prevent confusion with WGCL's "CBS Atlanta.com" (all other CBS-owned stations use ".com" on their site mastheads), but the site itself uses the CBS standard cbslocal.com address.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
69.1 1080i 16:9 WUPA-DT Main WUPA programming / The CW

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

The station previously used virtual channel 43.1 as its PSIP virtual channel, atypical of most stations that operate digital signals, which usually have a virtual channel that matches their former analog-era allocation; in June 2008, the station's PSIP channel moved to 69.1. WUPA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 69, 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. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 43,[9] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 69, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

Programming[edit]

Syndicated programming broadcast by WUPA currently includes Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement, Trisha, Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, Family Feud, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Judge Mathis, The People's Court, How I Met Your Mother, The Queen Latifah Show and The Arsenio Hall Show.

Newscasts and other locally produced programming[edit]

On April 5, 2004, NBC affiliate WXIA-TV began producing a half-hour primetime newscast at 10 p.m. for WUPA called UPN Atlanta News at Ten, through a news share agreement. This program was accompanied by a live half-hour talk program at 10:30 p.m. titled Atlanta Tonight. The two competed against the longer-established 10 p.m. newscast that had aired on WAGA-TV since that station switched to Fox in December 1994; partly as a result, both programs seen on channel 69 suffered in the ratings, and the 10 p.m. newscast and Atlanta Tonight were cancelled on August 28, 2005. WXIA began producing a 10 p.m. newscast once again, after it purchased WATL from Tribune Broadcasting in 2006. The station currently produces a local public affairs program featuring topics of community interest called Focus Atlanta, which airs on Sunday mornings and is hosted by Keisha Williams.

References[edit]

External links[edit]