WCMU-TV

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WCMU-TV
Channels
BrandingWCMU Public Media
Programming
AffiliationsPBS
Ownership
OwnerCentral Michigan University
WCMU-FM, WUCX-FM
History
First air date
March 29, 1967 (56 years ago) (1967-03-29)
Former channel number(s)
Analog: 14 (UHF, 1967–2009)
NET (1967–1970)
Call sign meaning
Central Michigan University
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID9908
ERP450 kW
HAAT298 m (978 ft)
Transmitter coordinates43°45′5.1″N 85°12′46.2″W / 43.751417°N 85.212833°W / 43.751417; -85.212833
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.wcmu.org

WCMU-TV (channel 14) is a PBS member television station in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, United States, owned by Central Michigan University. The station's studios are located on the CMU campus in Mount Pleasant, and its transmitter is located 3 miles (5 km) west of Barryton, Michigan.

WCMU-TV operates three satellite stations: WCMW (channel 21) in Manistee (with transmitter northeast of Ludington), WCMV (channel 27) in Cadillac (with transmitter east of Kalkaska), and WCML (channel 6) in Alpena (with transmitter north of Atlanta, Michigan). Collectively branded as WCMU Public Media, the four stations cover an area spanning three television markets and small portions of several others.

Although Mount Pleasant is part of the FlintSaginawBay City market, the majority of WCMU Public Media's viewership is in the Traverse City–Cadillac and Alpena markets.

Satellite stations[edit]

Station City of license Channels
(VC/RF)
First air date Call letters' meaning ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter coordinates Public license information
WCML Alpena 6
24 (UHF)
November 21, 1975 (48 years ago) (1975-11-21) Central Michigan Alpena 300 kW 393 m (1,289 ft) 9917 45°8′18″N 84°9′45″W / 45.13833°N 84.16250°W / 45.13833; -84.16250 (WCML) Public file
LMS
WCMV Cadillac 27
34 (UHF)
September 7, 1984 (39 years ago) (1984-09-07) V - first letter after U 338 kW 393 m (1,289 ft) 9922 44°44′53″N 85°4′8″W / 44.74806°N 85.06889°W / 44.74806; -85.06889 (WCMV) Public file
LMS
WCMW Manistee 21
20 (UHF)
September 7, 1984 (39 years ago) (1984-09-07) W - second letter after U 70 kW 134 m (440 ft) 9913 44°3′57″N 86°19′58″W / 44.06583°N 86.33278°W / 44.06583; -86.33278 (WCMW) Public file
LMS

WCMU-TV was previously relayed on W46AD in Traverse City and W69AV in Leland; however, the transmitters ceased operations before their licenses were canceled by the FCC on September 7, 2011.[2]

WCML once carried the -TV suffix.[3]

History[edit]

WCMU came to the air on March 29, 1967.

In January 2010, WCMU-TV began airing 24 hours a day, and launched an HD feed.[4]

Acquisition of WFUM[edit]

On October 27, 2009, it was announced that the CMU Board of Trustees approved a proposal for CMU to acquire Flint, Michigan's PBS member station, WFUM (later WCMZ-TV), from the University of Michigan–Flint for a maximum of $1 million.[5] The sale was approved by the FCC, allowing the network's presence to expand further south, not only including Flint, but also Ann Arbor and into Metro Detroit. The network provided at least secondary over-the-air coverage from far Northern Emmet County to northern Monroe County. While WFUM was folded into the CMU Public Television network, CMU vowed to include Flint-area events and issues in its programming, as well as produce new programming that would originate from the region. CMU believed the acquisition of WFUM will increase its viewership from 2.2 million to 8 million.[6] CMU originally hinted that the takeover of WFUM would begin in late November,[7] but WCMU took over operations of WFUM on January 15, 2010.[8] The FCC approved the sale of WFUM in March and CMU officially took over in May at which point the call letters were changed to WCMZ-TV.

On February 8, 2017, Central Michigan University announced it will sell WCMZ-TV in the FCC spectrum auction for $14 million, claiming its viewers are already able to watch PBS on other nearby affiliates, namely Delta College's WDCQ-TV.[9] It signed off on April 23, 2018.[10]

WCML transmitter fire[edit]

On February 28, 2024, a fire broke out at the WCML transmitter building in Montmorency Township, knocking out over-the-air PBS service to northeast Michigan, along with radio sister WCML-FM (91.7). The transmitter building was a total loss, and both stations will be off the air for several months as a complete rebuild of the site will be required. Cable carriage and streaming of both stations are not impacted.[11] On March 1, 2024, WCMU released a statement on their website that stated their monitoring equipment for the WCML facility indicated a local utility power outage had occurred, causing the backup generator to activate. The exact cause is still under investigation, the website mentioned that a probable cause of the fire according to fire officials was a malfunction of the automatic backup generator onsite, backing up a news report done by 9&10 News [12] that had mentioned similar findings.

Technical information[edit]

Subchannels[edit]

The stations' signals are multiplexed:

WCMU Public Media multiplex
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
xx.1 1080i 16:9 CMU PBS Main WCMU programming / PBS HD
xx.2 CMUkids PBS Kids
xx.3 480i @create Create
xx.4 CMU MLC Michigan Learning Channel

The entire network discontinued analog service on March 31, 2009.

Unlike other major stations in the Traverse City–Cadillac–Sault Ste. Marie market, CMU Public Television does not have marketwide coverage. Following the 2009 digital transition, the network lost significant coverage. WCML decently penetrated most of the Eastern Upper Peninsula before the analog shutdown. With the switch to digital, residents of the Eastern Upper Peninsula (except for those on the Lake Huron shoreline) were no longer able to receive WCML due to its 300 kW UHF signal. Currently, WCMU Public Media has no plans to add transmitters in the Eastern U.P. All PBS service, whether from CMU Public Television or another station, is available in that region only via cable or satellite. Some cable systems in that region carry another PBS station instead of WCMU — in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Marquette's WNMU is seen on Charter, while across the locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Shaw carries Detroit's WTVS instead mainly because of the lack of a local over-the-air signal to the nearly 90,000 people in the twin Saults and Eastern U.P. (Shaw previously carried WNMU for that same reason before it was replaced by WTVS in 2002.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WCMU-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "Michiguide: W69AV". Archived from the original on November 17, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  3. ^ "FCC History Cards for WCML".
  4. ^ Midland Daily News January 21, 2010 CMU Public Television begins 24-hour broadcasting, high-definition TV[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Bolitho, Jake (October 27, 2009). "UPDATED: Board of Trustees approve acquisition of WFUM TV station in Flint". cm-life.com. Archived from the original on November 1, 2009. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  6. ^ Mostafavi, Beata (October 28, 2009). "WFUM would bring more local programming to Flint under Central Michigan University ownership". mlive.com. Archived from the original on May 11, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Ecker, Patricia (November 7, 2009). "CMU looks forward to acquiring station". themorningsun.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  8. ^ Piwowarski, Michael (April 25, 2018). "Flint PBS Station Goes Dark After 38 Years". deltacollegiate.altavista.org. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  9. ^ Lozon, Von (February 8, 2017). "CMU to end Flint public television station after $14 million sale". mlive.com. Archived from the original on September 13, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Acosta, Roberto (April 22, 2018). "Flint public television station to go off the air Monday". mlive.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  11. ^ "WCMU radio and television off air in northeast Lower Michigan following fire". WCMU Public Radio. February 28, 2024. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
  12. ^ Aguayo, Christina. "Fire knocks out PBS, NPR broadcasts in Lower North East". 9&10 News. Retrieved March 1, 2024.

External links[edit]