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Canton-Akron-Cleveland, Ohio
United States
City Canton, Ohio
Branding Trinity Broadcasting Network
Channels Digital: 49 (UHF)
Virtual: 17 (PSIP)
Subchannels 17.1 - TBN
17.2 - Hillsong Channel
17.3 - JUCE TV/Smile
17.4 - Enlace
17.5 - TBN Salsa
Affiliations TBN (O&O; 1986-present)
Owner Trinity Broadcasting Network
First air date January 1967; 50 years ago (1967-01)[1]
Call letters' meaning David
(previous owner, 1982–1986)
Former callsigns WJAN (1967–1983)
WDLI (1983–2003)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
17 (UHF, 1967–2009)
39 (UHF, 2009–2011)
Former affiliations Independent (1967–1986)
Transmitter power 200 kW
Height 292 m
Facility ID 67893
Transmitter coordinates 41°3′20″N 81°35′38″W / 41.05556°N 81.59389°W / 41.05556; -81.59389Coordinates: 41°3′20″N 81°35′38″W / 41.05556°N 81.59389°W / 41.05556; -81.59389
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.tbn.org

WDLI-TV, virtual channel 17 (UHF digital channel 49), is a TBN owned-and-operated television station serving Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, United States that is licensed to Canton.[2] The station is owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. WDLI maintains offices and transmitter facilities located on the west side of Akron, just north of Rolling Acres Mall.


The station first signed on the air in January 1967 as WJAN,[3] an independent station owned by Janson Industries; it offered a typical slate of locally produced and syndicated programming. In its early years, live studio broadcasts were in black-and-white only, as the station could not afford color studio cameras. Feature films and videotaped programming from outside sources were always reproduced on color-capable equipment. However, many of the movies broadcast in the early years were classics from a time when color films were the exception.

Sometime before 1970, the station obtained two IVC color studio cameras, which were replaced in 1971 with state of the art Norelco PC-70s. Almost from the start, WJAN broadcast religious programming. For example, live Sunday morning services from a Baptist church in Canton and other nationally syndicated material supplied on tape and film. A typical program schedule during the week would consist of a sign-on at 1:00 PM with syndicated programming, followed by children's cartoons, a children's live entertainment program, local live news, local live variety programs, then repeats of major network programs. Finally, a 10:00 PM live newscast followed by a classic film would finish the broadcast day.

Although serving Canton, WJAN was categorized as a Cleveland market station. This made it difficult to obtain desirable programming at a reasonable cost. The right to broadcast a program is usually made exclusive within a market, so WJAN was competing with more established Cleveland stations for the right to broadcast repeats of popular network programming.

Such was the curse of a typical independent UHF station in those times. The allure of taking paid religious programming was hard to resist. Beginning in 1974, WJAN added The PTL Club, a syndicated two-hour program originating (at the time) in Charlotte, NC. Station WAKR-TV 23 in Akron added The 700 Club to its daily schedule about the same time.

The relationship between the PTL organization and WJAN deepened. In August 1977, Janson sold WJAN to televangelist Jim Bakker, founder of the PTL Club. Under Bakker, WJAN adopted a near 24-hour-a-day Christian format (keeping local news programming), becoming the first commercial TV station in Ohio to adopt a 24-hour broadcast schedule. Programming was supplied from a wide variety of organizations, both local and national.

In 1981, a satellite receive station was built at the studio-transmitter site. PTL Satellite Network had recently launched. Being wholly owned by PTL, WJAN soon transitioned to satellite delivery of the majority of all programming.

Bakker was forced to sell WJAN to the David Livingstone Missionary Foundation in December 1982; shortly afterward, its calls were changed to its current call letters, WDLI-TV. The station continued broadcasting the PTL Satellite Service full-time. Four years later, in March 1986, Livingstone sold WDLI to its present owners, the Trinity Broadcasting Network. At that point, PTL programs were dropped in favor of TBN programming. On January 1, 2009, WDLI began to be carried on most Cleveland area cable providers.

Digital television[edit]

This station's digital signal, like most other full-service TBN owned-and-operated stations, carries five different TBN-run networks.

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
17.1 480i 4:3 TBN Main TBN programming
17.2 TCC Hillsong Channel
17.3 COMBO JUCE TV/Smile
17.4 Enlace Enlace
17.5 SALSA TBN Salsa

TBN-owned full-power stations permanently ceased analog transmissions on April 16, 2009.[4]

TBN constructed a new transmitter tower in the Akron suburb of Norton, near other television and radio transmission towers in the area near Akron's Rolling Acres Mall. WDLI's digital signal is receivable throughout the Cleveland market, unlike its analog signal (originating from a transmitter in the Canton suburb of Louisville), which had poor reception away from Canton. Though the station's operations are now all located near Akron, Canton remains WDLI's city of license, and promotes itself as serving "Canton-Akron/Cleveland".

WDLI-TV shut down its analog signal, over channel 17, on that date. The station's digital signal continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition channel 39.[5] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former analog channel 17.

On November 15, 2010, WDLI moved its digital signal from channel 39 to channel 49 (its virtual channel remains on channel 17) as part of an additional boost to its transmitter power.[6][7]

Translator stations[edit]

WDLI's signal was once relayed on translators W52DS in Youngstown, and W51BI serving Geauga, Lake, and eastern Cuyahoga counties from a site in Kirtland. Both translators were shut down by TBN due to declining support, which was attributed to the digital transition; W51BI ceased operations on July 13, 2009,[8] while W52DS left the air March 26, 2010.[9] Their licenses, along with 42 other silent TBN repeaters, were cancelled on December 1, 2011 for remaining silent over a year.[10]


  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says January 3, while the Television and Cable Factbook says January 1.
  2. ^ "WDLI Channel 17 Television". Stationindex.com. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  3. ^ WJAN Station ID slide
  4. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDLI
  5. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  6. ^ Digital Transition Coverage Maps for Cleveland/Akron, Ohio
  7. ^ Northeast Ohio TV Log
  8. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA (W51BI)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. December 23, 2009. Retrieved April 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA (W52DS)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. April 16, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Re: Applications for Assignment of License…" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]