WEYI-TV

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WEYI-TV
WEYI-NBC Ch-25 Saginaw, Michigan.png
Wbsflogo2007.png
Saginaw/Flint/Bay City, Michigan
United States
CitySaginaw, Michigan
Branding
  • .1: NBC 25
  • News: NBC 25 News
  • .2: CW 46
SloganNBC25 News is Your News
ChannelsDigital: 30 (UHF)
(to move to 18 (UHF))
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
Subchannels
Affiliations
OwnerHoward Stirk Holdings
(HSH Flint (WEYI-TV) Licensee, LLC)
OperatorSinclair Broadcast Group
(via SSA)
First air dateApril 5, 1953 (65 years ago) (1953-04-05)
Call letters' meaningresembles "EYE" referring to previous CBS affiliation and may also refer to its initial "WI25" moniker in the early 1970s
Sister station(s)WBSF, WSMH
Former callsignsWKNX-TV (1953–1972)[2]
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 57 (UHF, 1953–1965)
  • 25 (UHF, 1965–2009)
Former affiliations
Transmitter power193 kW
98 kW (CP)
Height356 m (1,168 ft)
393 m (1,289 ft) (CP)
Facility ID72052
Transmitter coordinates43°13′1″N 83°43′17″W / 43.21694°N 83.72139°W / 43.21694; -83.72139
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information:Profile
CDBS
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

WEYI-TV, branded on air as NBC25, is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Saginaw, Michigan, United States and serving the Flint/Tri-Cities television market. Owned by Howard Stirk Holdings, and operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group under a shared services agreement (SSA), WEYI is a sister station to Flint-licensed Fox affiliate WSMH (channel 66, owned by Sinclair outright) and Bay City-licensed CW affiliate WBSF (channel 46, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting and operated by Sinclair under a separate SSA). However, Sinclair effectively owns WBSF as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. WEYI and WBSF share studios on West Willard Road in Vienna Township along the Genesee and Saginaw county line (with a Clio mailing address), with master control and some internal operations based at WSMH's studios on West Pierson Road in Mount Morris Township (with a Flint mailing address).

WEYI broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 30 (or virtual channel 25 via PSIP) from a transmitter located at its Vienna Township studios. The station can also be seen in high definition on WBSF's second digital subchannel (virtual and UHF digital channel 46.2) from its transmitter on Becker Road in Robin Glen-Indiantown, in Buena Vista Township, east of Saginaw. On cable, WEYI is carried on Comcast Xfinity channel 6, and on Charter Spectrum channel 4.

History[edit]

Channel 25 is one of the nation's oldest UHF stations. It debuted on April 5, 1953 as WKNX-TV on channel 57.[2] It was owned by Lake Huron Broadcasting along with WKNX radio (AM 1210, now WJMK at AM 1250), and was a CBS affiliate. It also shared ABC with DuMont affiliate WTAC-TV and then-NBC affiliate WNEM-TV (which later became sister to the former WKNX radio). The station first operated from studios located on South Washington Avenue in Downtown Saginaw. When WTAC-TV shut down in 1954, WKNX-TV and WNEM-TV shared ABC until WJRT-TV signed on in 1958. It moved to the stronger channel 25 on September 14, 1965.[2] The station later relocated its studios to a new facility located on State Street in Saginaw.

On March 23, 1972, Lake Huron Broadcasting sold the station to Rust Craft Broadcasting, who changed the call letters to the current WEYI-TV. Soon afterward, the station moved to its current tower and studios on West Willard Road in Vienna Township. The new tower significantly improved channel 25's coverage in Flint while still being within 15 miles (24 km) of Saginaw as required by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. Prior to 1972, the southern side of the Flint/Saginaw/Bay City market, including Flint itself, got a better signal from Lansing's WJIM-TV (now WLNS-TV). Rust Craft merged with magazine publisher Ziff-Davis in 1979.[2]

Ziff-Davis sold WEYI along with sister stations WRDW-TV in Augusta, Georgia, WROC-TV in Rochester, New York and WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio to Television Station Partners in 1983.[2] As a CBS affiliate, WEYI dropped the CBS soap Guiding Light in the early 1980s, instead showing cartoons during the 3-4 p.m. hour.

On January 16, 1995, WEYI and WNEM-TV traded network affiliations, resulting in WEYI becoming an NBC station.[2] This came as part of the larger U.S. television network affiliate switches of 1994 that saw CBS' longtime affiliate in adjacent Detroit, WJBK, switch to Fox. CBS was having trouble getting a replacement affiliate in Detroit; it ultimately landed on WGPR-TV (channel 62, now WWJ-TV), which at the time broadcast at very low power and was practically unviewable outside Detroit's inner ring. Since WNEM's VHF signal penetrated further into Detroit's outer suburbs than WEYI's UHF signal, CBS persuaded WNEM's owner, Meredith Corporation, to switch to CBS. It is one of the few known instances during this period where CBS moved its affiliation from a UHF station to a VHF station.

Television Station Partners sold WEYI along with WROC and WTOV to Smith Broadcasting in 1996.[2] On January 16, 1997, the WEYI license was transferred to Smith Broadcasting subsidiary Sunrise Television.[2] From October 4, 1999 to September 2001, the station added The WB as a secondary affiliation, airing its programming overnight.[2]

In January 2002, Sunrise and LIN TV agreed that LIN would take over the station under a Local Marketing Agreement.[2] By March, Sunrise sold the station to LIN with FCC approval granted in April 2002.[2] LIN agreed to sell WEYI to Barrington Broadcasting in January 2004; the sale was approved by the FCC in March 2004.[2]

In 2004, Barrington Broadcasting launched WB affiliate WBSF in the same market which was offered over-the-air on WEYI-DT2 and cable.[3] The deal was made primarily because WKBD declined to carry Detroit Pistons basketball after the games switched to WMYD which is not available on most Mid-Michigan cable systems.

WEYI was blamed for forcing competing NBC affiliate WDIV from Detroit off of Comcast's Flint system, as well as starting the syndication exclusivity controversy on Comcast Flint. For several years, WDIV was available on Comcast's Flint system. However, in 2004, WEYI filed a complaint with the FCC claiming it was losing NBC viewers to WDIV, most likely due to that station's new digital, all-high definition picture. According to WEYI's website, the station used Betacam equipment (an analog videotape technology introduced in 1982) and none of its local or syndicated programming was broadcast in HD until 2014.[4] This is because WEYI lacked an HD-capable master control to receive such programming in even 16:9 standard definition widescreen, let alone HD. The FCC ruled in favor of WEYI[5] and for a brief period, NBC programs on WDIV were blacked out on Comcast Flint. Eventually in August 2006, Comcast Flint removed WDIV from the system completely, replacing it with the new local MyNetworkTV affiliate via WNEM-TV's second digital subchannel.[6]

WEYI-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 25, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 30,[7][8] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 25. Also, WBSF became available on a separate digital signal on channel 46.[9] However, it is still available on WEYI's digital subchannel 25.2.

WEYI .3's former logo, to June 2017.

On February 28, 2013, Barrington announced that it would sell its entire group, including WEYI and WBSF, to Sinclair Broadcast Group. However, due to FCC duopoly regulations, since Sinclair already owns Fox affiliate WSMH, Sinclair will transfer the license assets of WEYI to Howard Stirk Holdings (owned by founder and CEO of communications firm The Graham Williams Group, political commentator Armstrong Williams, whose Sunday morning talk show The Right Side is carried by WEYI) and of WBSF to Cunningham Broadcasting (WSMH will take over the operations of both WEYI and WBSF through local marketing agreements when the deal is completed).[10] The sale was completed on November 25.[11]

Original programming[edit]

As Channel 57 WKNX, the station had a localized franchised version of Romper Room with "Miss Carol" J. Hermance Kennedy as the host. Miss Carol started as host in 1956.[12]

News operations[edit]

Effective April 27, 2015, WEYI took over duties of producing the 10 p.m. newscast for sister Sinclair station WSMH, FOX66 News at 10. Prior to April 27, WNEM-TV produced WSMH's evening newscast as part of a local agreement with WSMH.[13]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Digital TV Market Listing for WEYI". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "WEYI-TV Channel 25 Saginaw". Station Listings. Michiguide.com. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  3. ^ "WBSF TV Channel 46 Bay City/Saginaw/Flint". Michigan Guide.com. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  4. ^ About: miNBCnews.com
  5. ^ FCC order CSR-6342-N
  6. ^ Comcast Michigan - Flint/Oakland County Channel Lineup Comcast official site
  7. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designation for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  8. ^ FCC.gov - Appendix B: All Full Power Television Stations by DMA, Indicating Those Terminating Analog Service on or before February 17, 2009
  9. ^ FCC info - WBSF
  10. ^ Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  12. ^ Johnson, Bob (January 9, 2017). "Saginaw's 'Miss Carol' from Romper Room remembered as 'magical'". The Saginaw News. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  13. ^ Dodson, Andrew (March 26, 2015). "WNEM TV 5 newscast on Fox 66 being replaced by WEYI 25 starting battle for 10 p.m." Flint Journal. Mlive Media Group. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  14. ^ "Jim Brandstatter Biography". Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Retrieved 26 September 2013.

External links[edit]