|Branding||The CW Columbus|
|Slogan||TV Now (Primary)
Columbus is Watching (Secondary)
|Channels||Digital: 46 (UHF)
Virtual: 53 (PSIP)
|Owner||Manhan Media, Inc.
(operated under a SSA by
Sinclair Broadcast Group)
|First air date||August 31, 1987|
|Sister station(s)||WSYX, WTTE,
|Former callsigns||WWAT (1987-1994)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Former affiliations||independent (1987-1995)
The WB (1995-2006, secondary from 2000)
UPN (1997-2006, secondary until 2000)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WWHO is the Columbus, Ohio television affiliate for The CW Television Network. The station is licensed to Chillicothe, though it operates out of a facility in Columbus with its transmitter located in Williamsport, halfway between Columbus and Chillicothe. WWHO is owned by Manhan Media and managed by Sinclair Broadcast Group, making it a sister station to ABC affiliate WSYX and Fox affiliate WTTE. Some programming shown on WWHO includes: The People's Court, Divorce Court, and The Daily Buzz.
WWHO broadcasts at 1,000,000 watts, the maximum allowed for a digital TV station by the Federal Communications Commission. WWHO operates on channel 46.
WWHO also served briefly as the default The CW affiliate (on cable) for the Zanesville, Ohio media market from March 2008 thru early July 2008, after WHIZ-TV discontinued WBZV, its cable-only CW Plus affiliate. The CW Plus has since been reinstated to the Zanesville cable line-up.
WWHO began operating on August 31, 1987 as independent station WWAT, named after its owner, Wendell A. Triplett. It was the first general-entertainment independent station in Columbus since WTTE signed on in 1984. It operated a Columbus translator on W17AI channel 17 (now WDEM, which is still owned by Triplett) until 1992, when WWAT was added to many cable providers in the Columbus market due to cable must-carry legislation. The station was sold for $2 million in 1994 to Fant Broadcasting and changed its calls to WWHO. At the same time, the on-air name "Who-53" was adopted. At the same time, the station entered a Local marketing agreement with WCMH-TV (then owned by the Outlet Company), which included producing a nightly 10 PM newscast (the first such in the Columbus market) using WCMH's facilities and resources.
The station remained an independent station until the launch of the The WB Television Network on January 11, 1995. WWHO (then "WB 53") remained a The WB affiliate until the Paramount Stations Group (a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, whose parent company is Viacom) agreed to acquire the station in 1997, along with sister station WLWC in Providence and sell Hartford's NBC affiliate WVIT to NBC in return. At that time the station became a secondary UPN affiliate, as UPN programming was moved from WTTE, primarily a Fox affiliate, to WWHO; while channel 53 retained a primary WB affiliation through the duration of its contract, the station nonetheless soon began calling itself "UPN 53." In 2000, WWHO switched its primary affiliation to UPN, but signed a deal with The WB to retain its programming on a secondary basis through what a Paramount Stations Group executive described as a "program license agreement." The station dropped the channel number from its branding in 2002, becoming "UPN Columbus." On February 10, 2005, it was announced that the Viacom Television Stations Group (the successor to the Paramount Stations Group as a result of Viacom merging with CBS in 1999) was selling WWHO and WNDY-TV (in the Indianapolis market) to LIN Television for $85 million.
On February 10, 2005, LIN Television announced its intention to bring 10 p.m. news, which had disappeared from WWHO following its acquisition by Paramount Stations Group, back to the station. This half-hour newscast was produced by WBNS-TV, and debuted on September 1, 2005, concurrent with a rebranding of the station as "UPN 53 WWHO." Unlike WCMH in previous years, WBNS chose to use its own station branding on the newscast rather than WWHO's, including WBNS's normal "10TV News HD" graphics beginning in 2007 (despite the fact WWHO's newscast was not broadcast in HD until mid-2008).
The rebrand proved to be short-lived, as UPN and The WB merged to form The CW in 2006. Although LIN initially had some hesitancy about the network's business model, it eventually agreed to affiliate four of its WB and UPN affiliates, including WWHO, with The CW, making WWHO the largest The CW affiliate owned by LIN. (WSYX, the area's ABC affiliate (and sister station to WTTE), launched a new digital subchannel featuring programming from My Network TV in September of that year.)
On July 31, approximately one month before The CW officially debuted, WWHO rebranded with a new logo and slogan, "The CW on WWHO-TV." Once more, the station's channel number was de-emphasized. However, the station today goes by "The CW Columbus."
On December 31, 2008, WBNS ceased production of WWHO's 10 PM newscast. Currently, there is no regularly scheduled news programming on WWHO although the station airs the third hour of the syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz from 8 to 9 AM.
WWHO was one of only two full-power television stations in the Columbus market (the other being WTTE) that honored the original DTV transition date of February 17, 2009. At 11:59 PM on that date, WWHO ceased broadcasting its analog signal over UHF channel 53, and can currently be seen over-the-air only on digital channel 46, using PSIP to display its virtual channel number as 53. For approximately two weeks after the official shutoff, an information card could be seen on channel 53 directing viewers to WWHO's new location, as well as contact information regarding the DTV switchover. Analog channel 53 is now dark.
In November 2011, it was reported that the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owner of WSYX and who also effectively owns WTTE, was in talks to purchase WWHO from LIN for an estimated $7 million. This deal, if it were approved, would have given Sinclair control of four of the six largest network affiliations in the Ohio capital. This deal never materialized, however, and LIN filed instead to sell the station to Manhan Media. The sale was granted on December 20, 2011. In February 2012, after consummating the sale, Manhan Media entered into a shared services agreement (SSA) with Sinclair, making WWHO a sister station to WSYX and WTTE. (Manhan Media's owner, Stephen P. Mumblow, subsequently started Deerfield Media to acquire the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assets, including the licenses, of several stations that are being divested by Sinclair in the wake of its purchase of stations from Newport Television. However, Sinclair will retain control of those stations through joint sales and shared services agreements.) In a way, the SSA also reunited WWHO with WLWC, which Sinclair owned outright until April 2013 when that station was sold to OTA Broadcasting, LLC. Although Sinclair now controls WWHO, it continues to operate from separate studios several blocks east of the WSYX/WTTE studios.
- Feran, Tim (February 18, 2012). "Owner of WSYX will manage local CW affiliate". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "WWHO homepage". UPN 53. Paramount Stations Group. Archived from the original on March 7, 2000. "PLEASE NOTE: UPN 53 carries WB primary and UPN secondary, so our schedule is different than the national UPN site. UPN 53 is a dual-affiliate, carrying both WB and UPN programming."
- Schneider, Michael (February 22, 2000). "Sharing the wealth". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2012. "With Paramount's WWHO Columbus and WLWC Providence about to make a long-planned switch from the WB to UPN…"
- Sinclair Buying Freedom For $385 Million, TVNewsCheck, November 2, 2011.
- Sinclair Inks Shared Services Deal for WWHO Columbus, Broadcasting & Cable, March 8, 2012.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WWHO
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WWHO-TV