State College, Pennsylvania
|City of license||Johnstown|
|Branding||Fox 8 (general)
Fox 8 News (newscasts)
ABC 23 (on DT2)
|Slogan||The Place To Be At 10 O'Clock|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
|Translators||WATM-TV 23.2 Altoona|
|Owner||Horseshoe Curve Communications, LLC
(sale to Cunningham Broadcasting pending, to be operated by Sinclair thereafter.)
(Peak Media of Pennsylvania Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||October 13, 1986|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Wonderful Central Pennsylvania|
|Former channel number(s)||8 (VHF analog, 1986-2009)
29 (UHF digital, 2006-2009)
59 W59AI State College (analog translator)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1986-1987)|
|Transmitter power||9.3 kW
1,000 kW (WATM-DT2)
WWCP-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Allegheny area of Pennsylvania that is licensed to Johnstown. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter in Ligonier Township along the Somerset County line. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 8 and in high definition on digital channel 808. Owned by Horseshoe Curve Communications, WWCP operates the area's ABC affiliate WATM-TV (owned by Palm Television, L.P.) through a local marketing agreement (LMA).
The two outlets share studios on Scalp Avenue/PA 56 in Richland Township (official address is Johnstown) and operate advertising sales bureaus in Altoona (on East Walton Avenue/PA 764) and State College (on West Beaver Avenue/PA 26). The station can also be seen in high definition on WATM's second digital subchannel. This broadcasts on UHF channel 24.2 (or virtual channel 23.2 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Logan Township along the Cambria County line.
|Channel||PSIP short name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|8.1||WWCP-HD||720p||16:9||Main WWCP-TV programming/ Fox|
|8.2||WATM-DT||480i||4:3||Simulcast of WATM-TV|
Initially, the analog VHF channel 8 facility was to be licensed to Pittsburgh but the owners petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move the license to Johnstown. Programming prices were lower in this area and more shows would be available to the station here as opposed to Pittsburgh. Another likely consideration was the need to protect WJW-TV in Cleveland (now a fellow Fox affiliate). The FCC approved the move under the condition that Pittsburgh would need to receive a Grade B signal; in fact, prior to the digital television switch, viewers in some Pittsburgh suburbs such as New Kensington and Greensburg actually got a better signal from WWCP than from Pittsburgh's own WPGH-TV.
This posed a problem for the new station, as this stipulation meant that its signal would be all but un-viewable in the eastern portion of the market (including Altoona and State College) although this was also done to protect WGAL-TV in Lancaster. WWCP's owners solved this problem by buying the dormant license of Altoona's former ABC affiliate, WOPC-TV. It moved the WOPC license from UHF channel 38 to 23 and changed the calls to WWPC-TV. As a result, WWCP signed-on October 13, 1986 as an Independent with WWPC as a full-time satellite.
Originally, both stations aired a general entertainment format running cartoons, classic sitcoms, old movies, recent sitcoms, and drama shows. Finding itself in the unusual position of being an Independent on the VHF band, WWCP immediately took most of the stronger shows from the only other independent in the market, WFAT (channel 19). That coup effectively spelled the end for the latter station (it went dark in 1991, returned in 1996, and is now Pittsburgh's CW affiliate WPCW). Within ten months of going on-the-air, WWCP and WWPC obtained a Fox affiliation; prior to that, Johnstown/Altoona viewers who wanted to watch Fox would have to view it on cable via WPGH-TV. Since WOPC had gone dark in the early-1980s, the eastern portion of the market had received ABC programming from WHTM-TV in Harrisburg while the western portion was served by WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. At the time, both stations preempted a moderate amount of network shows. It soon became obvious that Johnstown needed its own ABC affiliate.
In 1988, WWCP converted WWPC to a separate station (with new calls WATM-TV) which then took the ABC affiliation. That station was soon sold-off to a separate licensee in order to comply with FCC regulations on station ownership but the commission allowed WWCP to continue to control that channel under a local marketing agreement. WWCP successfully contended that if operated separately, both stations may have been in danger of going dark. For a time, a repeater was set up that allowed WWCP to be received on UHF channel 57 in the Altoona area. This was not effective, however, because the transmitter was twenty miles away near Martinsburg. Altoona viewers who did not possess a high-powered antenna could not receive this signal. Throughout most of the city, viewers only saw a picture with no sound.
WWCP was the first Fox affiliate in the nation to refuse to air O.J. Simpson's two-night interview special with Judith Regan on November 27 and 29, 2006. The controversial program, called If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, resulted in the station owner saying it was inappropriate for Simpson to profit from his infamy. A special on St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee would have aired on the 27th with a locally produced program about domestic abuse, When Violence Hits Home, produced by WWCP/WATM Executive Producer, Josh Bandish, and anchored by Jim Penna, airing on the 29th had Fox not pulled the special from air on November 21. WWCP-TV shut down analog transmissions on June 12, 2009, and moved its digital broadcasts back to its previous analog channel number, 8. WWCP also airs the locally produced Catholic news show Proclaim! on Sundays.
Horseshoe Curve Communications bought out Peak Media's assets on December 31, 2010. However, the Peak Media name remains on WWCP's license. On July 22, 2013, WWCP agreed to sell its station to Cunningham Broadcasting for $12 million. Sinclair Broadcast Group will operate the station through shared services and joint sales agreements.
WWCP and WATM established separate news departments and began airing local newscasts in 1992. This station produced a nightly prime time broadcast at 10 (for sixty minutes on weeknights and thirty on weekends) from its studios in Johnstown. Meanwhile, WATM aired a nightly newscast at 11 from its headquarters in State College. As a result, these shows had coverage focusing on the respected areas and barely registered as a blip in the ratings against longer-established WJAC-TV and WTAJ-TV that offered market wide coverage. Due in part to continual ratings struggles and low viewership, WATM's separate news department was shut down in December 2002 and merged with WWCP in Johnstown.
On November 28, 2007, The Tribune Democrat reported that the shared news operation of the two outlets was going to shut down. According to a written statement, the two stations had been operating at a loss for years and the move was needed. The closure resulted in all reporters being released from employment contracts. NBC affiliate WJAC had on-air positions open but no personalities from WWCP and WATM were hired. On January 14, 2008 after entering into a news share agreement with WJAC (owned by the Cox Media Group), the big three station took over production responsibility of Fox 8 News at 10.
The broadcast was reduced to 35 minutes on weeknights while remaining a half-hour on weekends. The show now originates from a secondary set at WJAC's studios on Old Hickory Lane in Upper Yoder Township (actual address is Johnstown). WWCP's broadcast features a different news music and graphics package from WJAC as well as a separate weeknight news anchor who does not appear on the NBC affiliate. In addition to its main studios, the big three outlet operates bureaus on West College Avenue/PA 26 in State College and in DuBois on East DuBois Avenue/PA 255 (facilities shared with WOWQ-FM 102.1)? On May 13, 2013 Fox 8 news at 10 switched it graphics and theme music.
- Christine Strugala - weeknight news
- TBD - weekend news
- Sara(Burget)Cameron - Fill in Anchor
- Tony Martin (AMS Seal of Approval) - weeknight meteorologist
- Josh Fosbrink (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekend meteorologist
- Matt Maisel - Sports Director seen weeknights
- Mike Tressa - weekend sports and Centre County Bureau news reporter
- Brittany Boyer - Clearfield, Jefferson, and Elk Counties (also fill-in weather anchor)
- Karissa Shatzer - Blair County and fill-in news anchor
- Gary Sinderson - Centre County Bureau Manager
- Scott MacFarlane - Washington Bureau
- Alison Burns - Washington Bureau
- Carol Han - Washington Bureau
- Melanie Gillespie
- Lindsay Ward
- Maria Miller
- CDBS Print
- Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License , Federal Communications Commission, 12 August, 2013