|Slogan||We Believe in This Valley|
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 33 (PSIP)
33.3 Bounce TV
|Owner||Vaughan Media, LLC
(operated through SSA and JSA by Media General)
(WYTV Television, LLC)
|First air date||April 4, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Youngstown TeleVision|
|Sister station(s)||WKBN-TV, WYFX-LD|
|Former callsigns||WKST-TV (1953-1964)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
45 (UHF, 1953-1959)
33 (UHF, 1959-2009)
|Former affiliations||Fox (secondary, 1994-1998)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
WYTV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Mahoning Valley of Northeastern Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Licensed to Youngstown, Ohio, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 36 (or virtual channel 33.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Shady Run Road in the city along East Midlothian Boulevard/OH 170.
Owned by Vaughan Media, LLC, WYTV is operated through a shared services agreement (SSA) and a joint sales agreement (JSA) by Media General. This makes it sister to CBS affiliate WKBN-TV and low-powered Fox affiliate WYFX-LD. All three outlets share studios on Sunset Boulevard near Youngstown's Pleasant Grove section.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|33.1||720p||16:9||WYTV-HD||Main WYTV programming / ABC|
|33.2||480i||4:3||My YTV||WYTV-DT2 / MyNetwork TV|
|33.3||Bounce TV||Bounce TV|
The station originated as WKST-TV with an analog signal on UHF channel 45. As the television partner to WKST radio, which still exists on AM 1200, it was licensed to New Castle, Pennsylvania and signed-on April 4, 1953, serving as a secondary ABC affiliate to Pittsburgh's WENS-TV (now WINP-TV) as well as the default ABC affiliate to Youngstown. At the time of its sign-on, New Castle was its own TV market. After WENS-TV signed off due to financial problems, WKST-TV was the only full-time ABC affiliate in Western Pennsylvania until WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh signed-on in September 1958, while WJET-TV in Erie didn't sign on until 1966, after the station moved to Youngstown. As the third network behind NBC and CBS, ABC had a hard time getting full-time affiliates even in larger markets, and Youngstown was fortunate enough to gain a full-time ABC affiliate in television's early years, as many markets comparable to Youngstown's size or even bigger didn't get one until the 1960s or even as late as the 1980s, while some very small markets didn't get one until the DTV transition in the 2000s.
WKST-TV moved to UHF channel 33 in 1959, improving its over-the-air signal in the process in order to better serve the Youngstown market. In 1964, the station's license moved to Youngstown and became WYTV-TV (The redundant -TV suffix would be dropped in 1998.); this was done in order to keep the station marketed as part of the Youngstown market after New Castle (despite being considerably closer to Youngstown) was collapsed into the Pittsburgh market by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Nielsen Media Research. After moving channels, WYTV was replaced on channel 45 by independent station WXTV which moved from channel 73 (the former channel location of WFMJ-TV before moving to channel 21) and remained on-the-air until late 1962. That station had scheduled programming from 6 to 11 pm and repeated the same programs multiple times within a given week. In 1973, channel 45 was re-allocated to nearby Alliance, Ohio as an educational channel and became WNEO.
Along with WTAE-TV and to a lesser extent WTVN/WSYX in Columbus, WYTV at times has also served as the default ABC affiliate to the Wheeling, West Virginia/Steubenville, Ohio market, which only has two commercial stations, WTOV-TV and WTRF-TV (the latter being a sister station to WYTV during the 1990s), who had dropped ABC as a secondary affiliate in the 1980s. Although the area finally got a full-time ABC affiliate in 2008 when WTRF-TV launched one on its third digital subchannel, WYTV remains on cable in parts of the market.
WYTV became known for its programming targeted to kids. This is an important footnote to the station's history, because daily children's programming was often aired by independent or public television stations. However, Youngstown never had a full-power independent station; other children's programming came from Cleveland independents WUAB and WKBF or Pittsburgh based WPGH and WPTT, which were piped in via cable. To fill this void, WYTV aired cartoons and other kid-themed programming between the "after school" hours of 4 and 6pm, a somewhat unusual move since the usual fare among its competitors was first-run sitcoms, syndicated talk shows, courtroom dramas, and the like. It once aired a kids' show during the 1980s entitled 33 Powwww which consisted of a "voice-activated" video game powered by the Mattel Intellivision. Viewers would call in to play this game and win prizes. Cartoons were also aired during the show. The TV POWWW concept was a syndicated franchise seen on television stations throughout the United States such as WCLQ in Cleveland (now WQHS-TV). WYTV also has produced the local quiz show YSU Academic Challenge in which high school and middle school students from all over the area answer questions for prizes.
The station was Youngstown's first Fox network affiliate from 1994 to 1998. WYTV pre-empted ABC programming whenever Fox programming aired. Youngstown did not have a full-time Fox affiliate for the network's first decade, so WYTV joined the network as a secondary affiliate in part due to the network's acquisition of the rights to NFL football. In 1998, Youngstown got its own full-time affiliate when WKBN launched low-powered sister station WYFX-LP. WYTV was owned by Benedek Broadcasting from 1994 until the company's bankruptcy filing in 2002. Instead of being purchased by Gray Television, WYTV was bought by Chelsey Television, LLC and was managed by Barrington Broadcasting. The station has applied to increase its digital signal to one megawatt at the end of the transition.
WYTV was not among the ABC affiliates to pre-empt the Veterans Day airing of the film Saving Private Ryan in 2004 out of fears of being fined by the FCC for indecency in the wake of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, feeling that the film aired unedited on terrestrial television in the past without FCC repercussions. Because WYTV did opt to air Saving Private Ryan, this gave viewers in the Columbus, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh television markets that were able to view WYTV either over-the-air or on cable television the option of watching the film, since Sinclair Broadcast Group, E. W. Scripps Company, and Hearst-Argyle Television (owners of WSYX, WEWS-TV, and WTAE-TV, respectively) didn't allow any of their ABC affiliates to air the film. As Sinclair and Scripps each own additional ABC affiliates in the state, WYTV ultimately was one of only two ABC affiliates in the entire state of Ohio to air the film, alongside then-ABC O&O WTVG. It was later determined that the movie showing was not a violation of FCC regulations.
On February 6, 2007, Chelsey Television filed an application with the FCC to sell WYTV to Parkin Broadcasting of California, which then leased out the station to WKBN/WYFX owner New Vision Television under a shared services agreement—essentially a local marketing agreement under different legal terms. At the time, some critics wondered if the shared services agreement was legal, since the Youngstown market only has four full-powered television stations (WFMJ, WKBN, WYTV, and PBS station WNEO)--not enough to legally permit a duopoly under FCC rules. New Vision and Parkin share an office building in Los Angeles and have a "cozy relationship," leading to speculation that Parkin is simply a shell corporation that enables New Vision to circumvent FCC ownership rules. This is not unlike what Sinclair Broadcast Group does with Cunningham Broadcasting, which is a shell corporation of Sinclair. Nonetheless, the FCC approved the shared services agreement on July 30, 2007. WYTV then moved from its 3800 Shady Run Road studios over to the WKBN/WYFX facilities in Boardman Township.
The 24-hour local weather channel had also been offered on the digital tier of Time Warner Cable at one point in time. Originally called "Weather on the 3s", the channel shows continuous weather updates through WYTV's relationship with WeatherBug. It was redesigned on February 24, 2009 when WKBN and WYFX had their on-air look redesigned and "Weather on the 3s" was made to match those two station's on-air look. It was renamed "My Valley Weather" to coincide with the launch of the combined weather website for WYTV and WKBN. This station is currently the only commercial outlet in the area with three digital subchannels. Along with sister station WKBN, WYTV plans on having two subchannels broadcasting in high-definition with MyYTV broadcasting in HD. The future of the "My Valley Weather" subchannel was uncertain due to MyYTV proposed upgrade to HD. As of February 2012, My YTV is still in standard definition, however, and its HD feed is currently available only on cable. On July 1, 2013, WYTV added Bounce TV to 33.3, displacing the MyValley Weather channel.
On May 7, 2012, LIN TV Corporation announced that it will acquire the New Vision Television station group for $330.4 million and the assumption of $12 million in debt. Along with the outright ownership of WKBN-TV, the agreement includes the acquisition of New Vision's shared services agreement with PBC Broadcasting (who is also transferring the licenses of the PBC-owned stations to Vaughan Media), giving LIN operational control of WYTV. LIN and Vaughan also entered into a joint sales agreement for WYTV. On October 2, the FCC approved the proposed sale to LIN TV. The transaction was closed on October 12, 2012.
On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would purchase LIN Media and its stations, including WKBN-TV, WYFX-LD, and the SSA and JSA with WYTV, in a $1.6 billion merger. The FCC approved the deal on December 12, 2014, but a condition of the deal requires Media General to end the JSA between WKBN-TV and WYTV within two years due to tighter regulations on such deals. The merger was completed on December 19.
WYTV garners significant ratings numbers with its weekday morning newscasts, titled "33 News Daybreak." This newscast is unique when compared to others across the United States. Anchor Len Rome and Meteorologist Jim Loboy have successfully implemented a morning radio format of information and fun.
For a period as a separate station, WYTV produced a prime time newscast at 10 on its MyNetworkTV second digital subchannel. This competed with another broadcast airing at the same time on Fox affiliate WYFX that was produced by WKBN.
In December 2007, the news departments of WYTV and WKBN physically merged. As a result, over forty personnel at WYTV and six at WKBN were laid-off. Under the shared services agreement, the senior station partner began producing newscasts on this ABC affiliate from a secondary set at the Sunset Boulevard studios. A previous plan calling for WYTV to build satellite streetside studios in Downtown Youngstown were abandoned due to the consolidation. The current operational status of its Doppler weather radar based at the old facility on Shady Run Road is unknown. The two stations gradually had their on-air looks mirror each other while their respective web sites became identical. New logos for the stations and updated websites debuted in January 2009 including combined operations for sports and weather.
Due to the duopoly, WYTV and WKBN maintain separate primary anchors for news, weather, and sports during the week but share most general assignment reporters and video footage. The two initially maintained separate web sites as well, however after LIN Media took over ownership of WKBN & WYFX and operations of WYTV, WYTV's website became a redirect to WKBN's website with only WYTV's station identification information available on WKBN's web site.
On May 6, 2010, the two outlets upgraded their combined news operation to high definition complete with new graphics on WYTV. There are news and weather sharing partnerships with WNCD-FM 93.3, WAKZ-FM 95.9, WMXY-FM 98.9, WBBG-FM 106.1, WKBN-AM 570, and WNIO-AM 1390.
In November 2013, WYTV along with WKBN debuted a branded tool for showing live broadcasts from a moving vehicle. "33 Live Drive Action Cam" is a Jeep Patriot that can chase storms, show road conditions and respond to breaking news.
Also in November 2013, WYTV started separating its content from that of WKBN & WYFX. This included WYTV receiving its own website once again.
- Service Area Map - FCC
- "WYTV employees to lose seniority under new owner". Vindy.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- [dead link]
- Malone, Michael (May 7, 2012). "LIN Acquiring New Vision Stations for $330 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- "Joint Sales Agreement" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. May 4, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- [dead link]
- "LIN Completes New Vision Stations Buy". TVNewsCheck. October 12, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Reid Blackwell, John (March 21, 2014). "MG will combine with LIN TV chain". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- "Television companies to merge". The Vindicator. March 22, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- FCC Okays Media General/LIN Merger Broadcasting & Cable (12/12/2014)
- Media General Completes Merger With LIN Media, Press Release, Media General, Retrieved 19 December 2014
- "WKBN-TV lays off at least 6 workers". Vindy.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WYTV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WYTV-TV