|South Bend, Indiana
|Branding||ABC 57 (general)
ABC 57 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||See the Difference|
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
(to move to 35 (UHF))
Virtual: 57 (PSIP)
57.2 MeTV (O&O)
|Owner||Weigel Broadcasting Company|
|First air date||October 15, 1990|
|Call letters' meaning||South BeND|
|Sister station(s)||WCWW-LD, WMYS-LD|
|Former callsigns||W58BT (1990–1995)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
58 (UHF, 1990–2002)
57 (UHF, 2002–2010)
49 (UHF, 2007–2012)
UPN (late 1990s–2003)
|Transmitter power||15 kW|
|Height||320.2 m (1,051 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WBND-LD, virtual channel 57 (UHF digital channel 34), is a low-powered ABC-affiliated television station licensed to South Bend, Indiana, United States. Its second digital subchannel serves as an owned-and-operated station of the classic television network MeTV. Owned by Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting, it is a sister station to CW affiliate WCWW-LD (channel 25) and MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYS-LD (channel 69). The three stations share studios on Generations Drive (near the Indiana Toll Road) in northeastern South Bend; WBND's transmitter is located just off the St. Joseph Valley Parkway in the southern portion of South Bend.
The station signed on the air on October 15, 1990, as W58BT, originally broadcasting on UHF channel 58. However, from the beginning, it branded itself under the fictional call letters "WBND," relegating mentions of its legal callsign to station identifications. The station served as the market's original Fox affiliate. Before 1990, Michiana cable companies piped in WFLD in Chicago on the Indiana side, or WXMI in Grand Rapids and/or WKBD-TV in Detroit on the Michigan side. For all intents and purposes, it was Michiana's first general-entertainment independent station. Fox did not air a full week's worth of programming until 1993; until then, for all intents and purposes most Fox stations were programmed as independents. The only full-power non-network station in the area then as now was WHME-TV (channel 46), the flagship of the locally based Lester Sumrall Evangelistic Association (LeSEA), which has always augmented its mostly religious schedule with some cartoons and classic television shows, along with local high school sports.
Fox won the rights to NFL football games starting with the 1994 season, and wanted to move its South Bend affiliation to a full-power station instead of low-powered channel 58. The network signed an affiliation agreement with Quincy Newspapers to have longtime ABC station WSJV (channel 28) join Fox on April 21, 1995; prior to this, some Fox programming (including its NFL game telecasts) had been airing on CBS affiliate WSBT-TV (channel 22). ABC approached WNDU-TV (channel 16) and WSBT, but both had firm affiliation deals with NBC and CBS, respectively. The only other viable choice was WHME, but LeSEA never even considered putting the station up for sale or taking a network affiliation.
With just weeks to go before WSJV was due to join Fox, it appeared that ABC would be left without an affiliate in Michiana. Facing the prospect of piping in WLS-TV in Chicago and WOTV in Battle Creek, Michigan for cable viewers, ABC agreed more or less by default to sign an affiliation deal with W58BT. This was the second 11th-hour affiliation deal Weigel had reached as a result of the massive network switches of 1994-95; sister station WDJT-TV in Milwaukee (by coincidence, also on channel 58) had become a CBS affiliate under similar circumstances in 1994.
W58BT joined ABC on October 18, 1995, the date that WSJV became Michiana's new Fox affiliate. Weigel would have preferred to make the switch in December, when it planned to bring a new transmitter online that would have increased channel 58's footprint to a 40-mile (64 km) radius of South Bend. However, ABC officials insisted that the swap be made on the day WSJV joined Fox. Due in part to the rush to get ready for the switch, the station's 2,000-watt transmitter suffered a partial failure on the morning of October 18, rendering it almost unviewable. The transmitter was fixed within a few days.
By the end of that year, the station changed its call letters to WBND-LP. During the late 1990s, the station carried UPN programming outside of network hours as a secondary affiliate. The station relocated to UHF channel 57 in 2002, after WSJV received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to use channel 58 for its digital signal. In 2003, the station's UPN affiliate ended with that network's move to a digital subchannel of WSBT-TV, known as "UPN Michiana", which programmed the network in regular primetime hours (which became "SBT2" post-UPN before August 2016, when it assumed the market's Fox affiliation from WSJV, which had positioned themselves to sell off their spectrum in the 2016 auction).
In early August 2008, Weigel Broadcasting agreed to sell all three of its South Bend stations, including WBND, to Schurz Communications, longtime owner of WSBT-TV, for undisclosed terms. If this sale had been approved by the Federal Communications Commission, WBND's operations would have been moved into WSBT's new facility in Mishawaka (which opened in November 2008) and it may have resulted in the WDJT-produced newscast on channel 57 being replaced by simulcasts of WSBT-TV's newscasts. However, in the absence of action by the FCC, the deal was called off in August 2009.
From June to July 2011, the station's website was redirected to WBND's Facebook account as Weigel's web staff undertook a major rebuilding of both WDJT and WBND's websites (WDJT's original site remained operational, while WBND's was taken down completely). During this time, the station unusually reported current weather conditions using map imagery uploaded through its on-staff meteorologists via their Twitter accounts to the TwitPic service and the station's Facebook photos section. The station debuted its new website by the start of August 2011.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|57.1||720p||16:9||WBND-HD||Main WBND-LD programming / ABC|
WBND received a construction permit from FCC on March 21, 2007 for a companion digital channel. Six months later on September 14, 2007, began broadcasting its high definition digital signal on UHF frequency 49; using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 57. The station had been providing an HD feed to local cable providers for over a year prior to the launch of the over-the-air digital signal to provide ABC programming in high definition.
On May 29, 2012, the FCC granted WBND-LD a permit to move its digital signal from UHF channel 49 to channel 39. On August 19, WBND-LD swapped digital frequencies with WMYS-LD, with WBND taking WMYS's proposed channel 34 allotment and WMYS taking the channel 39 allotment. The newly reassigned digital RF channels went on the air on August 19, replacing the previous digital signals.
WBND-LD currently produces a total of 44½ hours of local newscasts each week (with seven hours on weekdays, five hours on Saturdays and 4½ hours on Sundays). Unlike most ABC stations in the Eastern Time Zone, the station does not produce a midday newscast on weekdays. WBND-LD's news operation has no sports department.
The station ran an abbreviated 11-minute-long newscast at 11 p.m. from 2007 to April 2011, using a form of the Eleven @ 11:00 news format, with The Insider filling out the timeslot following the newscast until 11:35 p.m. The newscast was produced and anchored by staff at WDJT, and featured emphasis on a weather forecast segment within the first ten minutes, under the "First Alert Weather" branding. WBND was the third Weigel station to carry a newscast produced by WDJT, the others being their Milwaukee sister stations WMLW-CA and WYTU-LD. Local news footage was shot by photographers in South Bend, and then transmitted to WDJT's studios in Milwaukee via satellite. WDJT's reporters and anchors then edited the video and added voiceovers, before sending the completed program back to South Bend.
In November 2010, Weigel began to seek applicants for reporting, anchoring and web content positions to be locally based in South Bend, suggesting the station was looking to start a standalone news operation. On April 4, 2011, the station officially launched its news operation and began broadcasting locally produced daily newscasts at 6 a.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. This made WBND one of the few low-powered television stations to operate an in-house news department. The newscasts air in high definition, though in downscaled 4:3 on its analog low-power signal until that channel went dark later that year.
In September 2011, WBND-LD added an additional hour to its weekday morning newscast at 5 a.m. and launched two half-hour newscasts: one at 7 p.m. on Monday through Saturday evenings and a newscast at 6 p.m. on Saturdays (replacing the 6:30 p.m. newscast previously seen on that night). The station launched an hour-long 5 p.m. newscast on September 10, 2012, simultaneously discontinuing the 7 p.m. newscast on weeknights (the station continued production of the Saturday edition of the 7 p.m. newscast). In September 2014, the station expanded its weekday morning newscast by a half-hour to 4:30 a.m., and debuted a two-hour extension of the program from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on WCWW-LD; WBND also debuted three hours of newscasts on weekend mornings, with a two-hour block running from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and an additional hour on Saturdays from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. and on Sundays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
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