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Burlington, New Jersey -
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Channels Digital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 48 (PSIP)
Translators W60CX Atlantic City, NJ
Affiliations Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)
Owner TBN
(TCCSA, Inc., d/b/a Trinity Broadcasting Network)
Founded July 14, 1988
First air date August 13, 1992 (1992-08-13)
Call letters' meaning We're Great Television to Watch
Former channel number(s) Analog:
48 (UHF, 1992-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1992-2004)
NBC (secondary, 1992-1995)
Transmitter power 160 kW
Height 354 m
Facility ID 7623
Transmitter coordinates 40°2′30″N 75°14′11″W / 40.04167°N 75.23639°W / 40.04167; -75.23639
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.tbn.org

WGTW-TV, channel 48, is a Trinity Broadcasting Network-owned and operated television station for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) to Burlington, New Jersey, to the east and across the Delaware River and serving the metropolitan Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. With studios in suburban Folcroft, and transmitter in the nearby Roxborough section, WGTW's signal covers the Delaware River valley in adjoining states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.


Channel 48 was once the home of WKBS-TV, which operated from 1965 until 1983, by Field Communications of Chicago, Illinois which also had its flagship television station WFLD there. It also owned the daily newspapers, the "Chicago Sun-Times" and the defunct tabloid "Chicago Daily News". Fields voluntarily took the suburban Burlington, New Jersey station off the air and returned its license to the Federal Communications Commission. Six months later, the FCC put Channel 48's license back up for auction. Among those bidding on the license were Dorothy E. Brunson, (1939-2011), an African-American radio executive previously from 1973-1979 with Inner City Broadcasting Corporation of New York City who owned five stations there. Brunson later purchased several radio stations in 1979 and later - Baltimore, (WEBB) Atlanta and Wilmington, North Carolina, and was then residing in Baltimore. In partnership with Cornerstone Television, a Christian television network based in Pittsburgh, she became the first African-American woman to own a television station in America. After a two-year process, the auction ended with Brunson winning the license. Cornerstone had, during the interim, purchased Channel 48's transmitter equipment, moved it to Altoona in southwestern Pennsylvania, and used it to sign on a new station in 1985 on Channel 47 there, ironically and coincidentally enough under the same WKBS-TV call letters which had been reassigned in the two-year interim.

A WGTW-TV logo, for Channel 48 of Burlington, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa 2003 (taken from the station's now-defunct website).

Channel 48 signed back on the air on August 15, 1992, under the call letters WGTW-TV ("Good TV to Watch"), an independent station. Initially the station ran "public domain" (copyright expired) older movies, infomercials (including religious programs), and home-shopping syndicated network programs. By 1994, WGTW had a larger variety of programming, including off-network series, first-run syndicated shows, and children's programs. The station also aired NBC daytime programs that were occasionally pre-empted (sometimes for breaking national news events) by then-affiliate KYW-TV in Philadelphia.

By 2001, however, WGTW found its programming choices significantly reduced, especially with all six network stations in the market owned by their parent companies and no longer pre-empting network programming. In addition to the rise of the netlets UPN and The WB locally on WPSG and WPHL-TV, the non-talk and court show programming on the syndication market significantly dwindled. There simply wasn't enough programming to go around, even in a market as large as Philadelphia. It was also hamstrung by financial issues, resulting in the station filling most of its broadcast day with paid programming to maintain operations.

In 2004, the Trinity Broadcasting Network was looking in major markets to pursue a strategy of purchasing full-power stations to acquire compulsory must-carry carriage on all cable systems in a market, and offered to purchase the station from Brunson, an offer that was accepted. On October 1, 2004, the sale was closed and TBN took over all operations of the station, effectively turning WGTW into a relay of the TBN national feed, outside of two hours of weekly locally-originated programming, a public-affairs show called Joy in Our Town and a local version of Praise the Lord, TBN's flagship show. Both programs are recorded at WGTW's current studio facilities, which are located on Columbia Avenue in Folcroft, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia International Airport across Darby Creek.

WKBS/WGTW license facts conflict[edit]

WGTW operates under the same allocation, or place on the TV broadcast spectrum, as WKBS-TV, but not under the same license. Although Brunson did purchase the same license that WKBS-TV vacated from the FCC, WKBS' license expired on June 1, 1984, and was never renewed. The current Channel 48 license is a new construction permit for WGTW, dating from July 14, 1988.[1][2]

News operation[edit]

In 2002, WGTW launched an hour-long news and public affairs show, known as "48 Update", which aired weeknights at 7:00 p.m.. The final edition of "48 Update" aired on October 1, 2004, one hour before the station switched to TBN programming after its sale to Trinity.

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
48.1 480i 4:3 TBN Main TBN programming
48.2 TCC Hillsong Channel
48.3 COMBO JUCE TV/Smile
48.4 Enlace Enlace
48.5 SALSA TBN Salsa

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

External links[edit]