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|Hartford–New Haven, Connecticut|
|Slogan||Everywhere in Connecticut|
Digital: 33 (UHF)|
(to move to 36 (UHF))
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
|First air date||September 21, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||
Frederick Sessions Beebe|
(former president of former owner Post-Newsweek Stations)
|Sister station(s)||WGGB-TV, WSHM-LD|
|Former callsigns||WTIC-TV (1957–1974)|
|Former channel number(s)||
|Former affiliations||Independent (1957–1958)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
288.8 m (948 ft)|
289 m (948 ft) (CP)
|Public license information:||
WFSB, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 33), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Hartford, Connecticut, United States and serving the Hartford–New Haven television market. The station is owned by the Meredith Corporation. WFSB's studios are located on Capitol Boulevard in Rocky Hill, and its transmitter is located on Talcott Mountain in Avon, Connecticut.
Most of WFSB's programs are seen in Springfield, Massachusetts, over a low-power semi-satellite station, WSHM-LD (channel 3.5). That station is based at the facilities of sister station WGGB-TV (channel 40) in Springfield, although some master control and other internal operations are hubbed through WFSB.
WFSB signed on the air on September 21, 1957 as WTIC-TV, owned by the Hartford-based Travelers Insurance Company, along with WTIC radio (1080 AM and 96.5 FM). As Connecticut's second VHF station, WTIC-TV was one of the most powerful stations in New England, not only covering the entire state but a large chunk of western Massachusetts and providing secondary coverage to much of the southern sections of Vermont and New Hampshire. During its first year on the air, Channel 3 was an independent station, as ABC was affiliated with the state's other VHF outlet, WNHC-TV (channel 8, now WTNH) in New Haven; while CBS and NBC had owned-and-operated stations on the UHF band in the market, WHCT-TV (channel 18, now Univision affiliate WUVN) in Hartford and WNBC (channel 30, now WVIT) in New Britain, respectively. With no network affiliation, WTIC-TV devoted much of its airtime to movies, syndicated programs, and three daily newscasts (including one at 10 p.m.).
In 1958, CBS was looking to sell WHCT-TV. The network's ratings had been alarmingly low in the market because television manufacturers were not required to have UHF tuners at the time. Many viewers northeast of Hartford got a better signal for CBS programming from WNAC-TV (now WHDH) in Boston or WPRO-TV (now WPRI-TV) in Providence, Rhode Island, while those southwest of Hartford with an outdoor antenna were able to watch the network via New York City flagship station WCBS-TV. Network head William S. Paley decided that it was better to have CBS air its programming on a VHF station, even if it was only an affiliate. WTIC-TV was the obvious choice due to its massive coverage area. Paley quickly negotiated an affiliation deal, and channel 3 became the network's new affiliate in the fall of 1958. WTIC radio had been with NBC Radio for over thirty years. Soon after the affiliation switch, channel 3 surged to the top of the ratings, and has remained there more or less ever since.
The switch to WTIC-TV for CBS had repercussions in Springfield, Massachusetts, as it forced WHYN-TV (channel 40, now sister station WGGB-TV) to drop its original CBS affiliation, which it replaced with ABC (previously, some ABC programs had been seen on WWLP). Over the years, WTIC-TV repeatedly blocked WHYN's attempts to switch back to CBS.
In 1962, the WTIC stations moved to Broadcast House, a state-of-the-art facility in the Constitution Plaza development in Downtown Hartford. A decade later, in late 1972, Travelers Insurance decided to exit broadcasting. The announcement was made to the staff at an employee meeting held in Studio A on January 15, 1973. While the WTIC radio stations were spun off to a company formed by station management called 1080 Corporation, WTIC-TV was sold to The Washington Post Company. The sale of all three stations was closed on March 8, 1974 and the Post's broadcasting division, Post-Newsweek Stations, changed Channel 3's call letters on that date to the current WFSB in honor of broadcasting division president Frederick (Fritz) Sessions Beebe (Frederick S. Beebe). To get the WFSB call letters, the Post had to convince Framingham State College in Framingham, Massachusetts to give up those call letters, which were used on the college's low-power FM radio station, whose call letters were changed to WDJM-FM as a result of the switch. The WTIC call letters returned to Connecticut television in 1984 when Arch Communications, owned by the son of the then-owner of WTIC radio, launched a new independent station on channel 61.
In the late 1980s, Post-Newsweek moved its corporate offices from Washington, D.C. to space located alongside Broadcast House making the station the company's flagship. This was part of a strategy move by the Post to give its various sub-corporations their own independent identities, which worked well at first. By the mid-1990s, however, WFSB found itself in a shrinking market without any significant growth opportunities. In June 1997, Post-Newsweek sold the station to the Meredith Corporation in exchange for WCPX-TV (now WKMG-TV) in Orlando, Florida. The sale closed that October although the Post-Newsweek group maintained its base in Hartford until 2000, when the company relocated to its then-largest station, WDIV-TV in Detroit.
In 2007, the station launched a digital subchannel as Eyewitness News Now. With local PBS affiliate CPTV as partner on December 1, 2008, WFSB launched Connecticut Sports Network, which covered 41 high school championships and 20 small colleges.
WFSB shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 33, using PSIP to display WFSB's virtual channel as 3 on digital television receivers. WFSB was the only Connecticut station that participated in the "analog nightlight" program, with the analog signal remaining in operation until June 26. The sign-off included a clip of the first sign-on of WFSB when they were WTIC and it repeated itself before the actual switch occurred.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.1||1080i||16:9||WFSB||Main WFSB programming / CBS|
|3.4||WFSB-4||"WFSB Fairfield County"|
Even though Fairfield County is part of the New York City market where CBS flagship WCBS-TV is based, WFSB targets viewers in the area through "WFSB Fairfield County" on a fourth digital subchannel and the digital tier of Cablevision systems; it is essentially a simulcast of WFSB except some different Fairfield-specific advertising and community calendar events and a preemption of Live with Kelly and Ryan (which is produced by and seen on WABC-TV).
WFSB presently broadcasts 33 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours each weekday and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays).
The station operates its own weather radar known as "Early Warning Pinpoint Doppler". Located on the property of Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, this is also used by sister station WSHM (branded similarly as "Pinpoint Doppler"). The Springfield station will often share resources with WFSB and this station doing the same for coverage from Connecticut.
After Post-Newsweek took control of the station in 1974, WFSB adopted the Eyewitness News title and format pioneered at KYW-TV in Philadelphia. Rival WTNH-TV used the Action News format made famous at Philadelphia sister station WPVI-TV and even used the same "Move Closer to Your World" music package. WFSB is the most-watched among the local newscast market's stations according to the Nielsen ratings, second only to the WTIC-TV's current weeknight newscasts.
The station has a Sunday morning news program called Face the State.
For many years, WTNH had been a distant runner-up in the market to WFSB. However, in recent times, it has fended off a spirited challenge from WVIT. The two stations have spent the last decade trading the runner-up spot. Historically, WTNH's ratings for news and local programming are far higher in Nielsen's "Metro B" area (New Haven County) than "Metro A" (Hartford County). This is because of all the news operations in Connecticut, WTNH provides the most coverage of Fairfield County and the Long Island Sound shoreline. On February 5, 2007, WFSB began operating a 24-hour local news and weather channel known as "Eyewitness News NOW" on a new third digital subchannel; however, it was replaced in April 2015 by Laff.
In addition to its main studios, WFSB operates three news bureaus in the state. This includes a base of operation in New London, on Chapel Street in downtown New Haven, and at the new Connecticut Science Center on Columbus Boulevard in downtown Hartford. WFSB's lifestyle and entertainment magazine program Better Connecticut that airs weekday afternoons at 3 p.m. is filmed in a secondary set within its Rocky Hill studios.
On January 13, 2012, WFSB began simulcasting its weekday noon and 6 p.m. newscasts on radio stations WLIS (1420 AM) in Old Saybrook and WMRD (1150 AM) in Middletown. On February 28, 2012, WFSB entered into a partnership with The Bulletin in which the two media properties share news footage and stories, along with WFSB providing local forecasts for the Norwich, Connecticut-based newspaper.
On January 26, 2015, WFSB finished a complete overhaul of its main news studio, revealing it three days later during the station's evening newscast on January 29 (which was delayed several days due to the 2015 blizzard). This new studio is a "state of the art broadcasting and multimedia news facility", which was "specifically designed to provide our viewers with the most relevant news and information across all platforms".
- "Digital TV Market Listing for WFSB". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
- "WTIC to Air News, Sports, and Weather". The Billboard. August 19, 1957. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
- [dead link]
- "Fates & Fortunes (Death notice for Frederick Sessions Beebe)". Broadcasting. May 7, 1973. Retrieved February 2, 2015.[dead link]
- Meredith Corporation to acquire Hartford Conn., television station, Business Wire (via HighBeam Research), June 2, 1997.[dead link]
- Romano, Allison (January 19, 2009). "Cutting Bait On Subchannels". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
-  CDBS Print
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- Knox, Merrill (June 10, 2011). "WFSB's 'Face the State' beats national Sunday shows in Hartford/New Haven". TV Spy. Ad Week. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
- "Meredith To Add Three Katz Diginets". TVNewsCheck.com. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
- WFSB Simulcasting News On Radio Stations, TVNewsCheck, January 13, 2012.
- Bulletin, Channel 3 teaming up, Norwich Bulletin, February 28, 2012.[dead link]
- Official website
- WSHM-LD "CBS 3 Springfield"
- www.wticalumni.com: A site that was created by Bill Clede and carried on by David Kaplan featuring pictures, audio, information and trivia about the old WTIC AM/FM/TV before its sale by the Travelers in 1974.
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFSB
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WFSB-TV