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|Branding||WBCB, The Valley's CW|
Digital: WFMJ-DT 20.4 (UHF)|
(to move to 33.4 (UHF))
Virtual: 21.2 (PSIP)
Vindicator Printing Company|
(WFMJ Television, Inc.)
|First air date||November 1, 2004|
|Call letters' meaning||see WFMJ-TV|
|Former affiliations||The WB (2004–2006)|
612 kW (CP)
|Height||295 m (968 ft)|
|Public license information:||
WFMJ-DT2 is the CW-affiliated television station licensed to Youngstown, Ohio, United States. Owned by the Maag family (under the holding company Vindicator Printing Company), it operates as a second digital subchannel of NBC affiliate WFMJ-TV; this also places the station under the same ownership as The Vindicator daily local newspaper. Over the air, it broadcasts a 1080i high definition digital signal on UHF channel 20.2 (or virtual channel 21.2 via PSIP) from a transmitter located on Mabel Street in Youngstown.
Branded as "The Valley's CW", it operates out of studios located on West Boardman Street in downtown Youngstown. This subchannel can also be seen on all local cable and DBS systems including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum/Youngstown and DirecTV channel 14, and Armstrong Cable channel 16. It uses the "WBCB" call sign for official identification purposes. Despite being part of The CW through a digital subchannel affiliation, WFMJ-DT2 is one of the few small-market CW affiliates carried via a digital multicast or local cable channel that is not part of The CW Plus; syndicated programming broadcast by the subchannel is instead supplied by WFMJ-TV.
The channel launched in November 2004 as an affiliate of The WB (branded on-air as "The Valley's WB"), and despite Youngstown's small market size (ranked #106 by Nielsen Media Research as of 2008[update]), WBCB was one of the nation's first digital subchannels whose programming did not consist of 24-hour weather information (such as NBC Weather Plus). Around the time of launch, WFMJ chose to affiliate "WBCB" with The WB because the founders of Warner Bros. originally hailed from Youngstown; the market had also been underserved by the network as Cleveland's then-WB affiliate WBNX-TV (now also a CW affiliate) was only carried on cable in the northern fringes of the market (despite being one of that network's strongest affiliates without Youngstown) while Pittsburgh WB affiliate WCWB (itself now affiliated with MyNetworkTV) was not even available on cable at all in the market (by contrast, Cleveland's then-UPN affiliate WUAB was and remains widely available on cable in Youngstown, while WNPA/Pittsburgh was available in certain sections of the market).
Most of the market received WB network programming via "WBWO", a cable-only WB affiliate of The WB 100+ Station Group out of the Wheeling/Steubenville market, with systems owned and operated by Time Warner Cable (the largest cable provider in Youngstown) only receiving it during prime time hours, otherwise sharing channel space with MTV2. Comcast and Armstrong Cable both offered both MTV2 and WBWO 24 hours on their own channel space. The "WBCB" calls (which are used strictly for marketing purposes) date back to the station's WB affiliation (affiliates of The WB 100+ Station Group commonly utilized fictional callsigns).
On January 24, 2006, UPN and The WB announced the two networks would cease broadcasting and merge to form The CW. "WBCB" would be chosen by default as the market's CW affiliate and for unknown reasons, the artificial call sign "WBCB" was kept after the subchannel affiliated with The CW in September 2006. With digital subchannels more common by this point, ABC affiliate WYTV launched a second digital subchannel affiliated with MyNetworkTV (under the branding "MY-YTV") that fall.