WBLU-LP

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WBLU-LP
Lexington, Kentucky
Channels Analog: 62 (UHF)
Affiliations defunct
Owner Daystar Television Network
(Word of God Fellowship, Inc.)
First air date May 3, 1999
Last air date March 4, 2009
Call letters' meaning BLUegrass
Former callsigns W62CL (1999–2001)
Former affiliations UPN (1999–2004)
The WB (secondary, 1999–2003)
Shop at Home Network (1999-2000?)[1]
Independent (2004–2006)
MyNetworkTV (2006–2008)
RTN (2006–July 2008, October 2008-2009)
silent (July–October 2008)
Retro Jams (2009)
Transmitter power 4 kW
Class Low-power TV station
Facility ID 58985

WBLU-LP was a low-power television station broadcasting on channel 62 in Lexington, Kentucky, United States. The station was owned by Equity Media Holdings of Little Rock, Arkansas. WBLU's signal was broadcast from downtown Lexington and provided coverage that did not extend far past the developed portions of the city, although the signal could be picked up in neighboring Scott and Bourbon counties.

There was a construction permit to boost the current power of 4 kW to 42 kW on channel 62, which would have increased the viewing area into the neighboring cities that touch Lexington. The signal upgrade never took place as, while the station as a low-power broadcaster would not have been required to broadcast in the new digital format at that time, channel 62 was reassigned for non-television use after the digital television transition for full service stations was completed in 2009. Other further complications, including the station's ownership, also meant that the application would never be regarded as a serious effort.

History[edit]

Previous use of frequency in market[edit]

The channel 62 frequency was originally used WBLG-TV (later re-called as WTVQ-TV) from 1968 until 1980, when that station relocated to channel 36.

After WTVQ moved to channel 36, several organizations began to petition to re-use the frequency in hope of making it the fourth television station broadcasting out of Lexington (aside from KET). Way of the Cross, Inc., which wanted to use it for Christian broadcasting, was initially awarded the license, but, in 1983, channel 62 was awarded to Family Broadcasting Co., Inc., a for-profit group, due to their ability to build a stronger transmitter, which would carry the signal further into Eastern Kentucky. In 1986, a settlement between Way of the Cross and FBC was reached, which would allow Way of the Cross to broadcast 15 hours of religious programming each week, plus part-ownership of the station, while FBC would construct the station.

However, WDKY-TV (channel 56), licensed to Danville, found a less arduous path to come to air. It launched in February 1986 and several months later became a charter affiliate of the new Fox network and located their studios in Lexington, effectively muting any impact channel 62 could make; it remained silent into 1987 and most of 1988.

Finally, after more than seven years of legal battles, the station, called as WLKT-TV, went on the air on October 15, 1988 under FBC's ownership, giving Lexington two independent stations. The studio and offices were located in a small shopping center at 124 New Circle Road, Northeast. The transmitter was located on Clintonville Road, three miles north of U.S. 60, in Clark County.

It made little to no impact in Lexington, quickly losing money and unable to compete in any way with WDKY, and was stunted by the Family Broadcasting settlement deeming they controlled fifteen hours of the station's schedule weekly, devoted to religious programming. The signal also was limited to the core Lexington area. WLKT ceased operations at 4:30 pm on June 30, 1989.[2]

WBLU-LP[edit]

UPN and WB affiliations[edit]

Channel 62 returned to the air on May 3, 1999, when B&C Communications first signed on WBLU. The station was a UPN affiliate, airing infomercials and syndicated reruns outside of the network's hours.

In September 1999, WBLU added The WB as a secondary affiliation. The station aired WB programs off-schedule, weeknights at 10:00 pm and on weekends. Though the actual airtime of programs promoted by the network could have easily been inserted via a voiceover or on-screen notation (as some dual-network affiliates carrying the WB out of pattern such as WZPX-TV in Battle Creek, Michigan did), the station instead crudely removed the promos wholesale while running the network's programming. The WB affiliation ended in September 2003, after WBKI (via cable) became the WB affiliate for the Lexington market upon moving their transmitter to be slightly more equidistant between Louisville and Lexington.

Period of independence and beginning of struggles[edit]

In September 2004, WBLU lost its UPN affiliation when WKYT-TV established its second digital subchannel, "UKYT" (now "CWKYT"). WBLU then became an independent station which struggled to maintain programming for the next two years. Timeslots outside of syndication were filled with paid programming and public domain films, some of which were acquired only minutes before airtime from the "dollar DVD" section of a nearby Walmart.[3]

MyNetworkTV affiliation[edit]

WBLU was purchased by Equity Broadcasting in August 2006, which began to centralcast the station from their Little Rock, Arkansas headquarters, ending any local staffing of the station at the end of 2006. On September 5, 2006, the station became a charter affiliate of MyNetworkTV without any consideration of becoming part of The CW, as Equity refused to affiliate any of their stations with that network. Equity also added programming from the Retro Television Network (which it owned at that time) to fill out the remainder of the broadcast day, discontinuing any other syndicated programming.

WBLU-LP went dark on or about July 22, 2008 due to what Equity described as "intermittent signal delivery issues" via satellite from Little Rock.[4] The station reportedly resumed broadcasting on October 1, 2008. As mentioned above, the station did have a construction permit to move to digital operations, but for most of their stations, Equity never even made any serious attempt to build a digital facility out, and many of their stations went dark after the digital transition on June 12, 2009 due to a lack of any digital facility to transition to.

Decline and end of operations[edit]

The station lost its MyNetworkTV affiliation on October 31, 2008 due to both dissatisfaction by the network, and viewer complaints about the loss of WWE Friday Night Smackdown from WKYT-DT2 after its move to MyNetworkTV; unlike that CW affiliate, WBLU-LP was never carried on any local pay television services, nor had Equity communicated in any way with local providers to add the station (this was despite most of Equity's stations, including WBLU-LP, being freely available through C-band satellite, negating any need to depend on WBLU-LP's transmitter for a quality signal).[5] Communication between local media, MyNetworkTV and Equity (which was infamous for having little to no presence of any local non-engineering staff for their stations, running almost all operations remotely from Little Rock) was non-existent to the point that the market's professional wrestling fans placed paid advertising in the Lexington Herald-Leader expressing their frustration,[6] forcing the hand of MyNetworkTV to affiliate on a station viewable on cable in a critical WWE market. The affiliation then moved immediately to the second subchannel of WTVQ-TV, replacing an automated weather information stream.[7][8] [9]

The secondary RTN affiliation then became primary for WBLU-LP, but was unexpectedly terminated on January 4, 2009 after a contract conflict between Equity and Luken Communications (who had acquired RTN in June 2008) came abruptly to a head with Equity terminating the RTV signal from their base in Little Rock, Arkansas; this resulted in Luken dropping all Equity-owned affiliates, including WBLU. Though Luken promised to find a new affiliate for the network immediately,[10] it has never returned to the Lexington market.

For two months, the station carried a loop of Equity's last-resort network Retro Jams, which carried music videos, but without any network to affiliate with or local advertising revenue coming in, the future of the station as a going concern quickly declined. WBLU-LP ended up going dark permanently on March 4, 2009, five months after the loss of MyNetworkTV.

WBLU was sold at auction to the Daystar Television Network on April 16, 2009 with several other Equity stations.[11][12][13] However, Daystar was already carried on most cable systems in the Lexington market, and the network's need to have an affiliate without much signal range negated the need for an over-the-air affiliate for the network. After auditing the station's prospects, Daystar decided not to go further with re-launching the station. It never resumed broadcasting, and the WBLU-LP license was cancelled on June 25, 2010.[14][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.oldtvguides.com/all_thumbs/62-w62cl%20%20%20%28sah%29%20%20%20lexington,%20ky%20%20%20369%20mi%20%20%20129%20kw.html
  2. ^ "WLKT'S DEMISE THE DECLINE AND FALL OF CHANNEL 62" by Tom Daykin, Lexington Herald-Leader, p. E1 (Business Section), July 9, 1989.
  3. ^ Hauser, Glenn (July 14, 2007). "DX Listening Digest 7-082". Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  4. ^ http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101267330&formid=910&fac_num=58985
  5. ^ Sloan, Scott (15 October 2008). "WWE Smackdown could move to another station". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Sloan, Scott (12 October 2009). "'SmackDown' hits Lexington for TV taping". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Now a second chance to watch 'Smackdown'. Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  8. ^ "MyNetworkTV Adds 30 New Affiliates". TheFutonCritic.com. March 30, 2006. Accessed June 12, 2015.
  9. ^ Sloan, Scott (October 10, 2008). "'Smackdown' fans peeved over WBLU". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved June 12, 2015. 
  10. ^ TV Newsday: "Financial Dispute Disrupts RTN Diginet", 1/5/2009.
  11. ^ Sloan, Scott (18 May 2009). "WBLU sold to Christian network". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Takers found for 60 Equity stations". Television Business Report. April 18, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  13. ^ http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/app_list.pl?Facility_id=58985
  14. ^ "Station Search Details (DWBLU-LP)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  15. ^ Recently Deleted Stations (RabbitEars.info)


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Preceded by
WLKT-TV
Channel 62 Lexington occupant
1999-2009
Succeeded by
none