|Fort Wayne, Indiana
|Branding||Fort Wayne CW|
|Slogan||Dare to Defy|
|Channels||Digital: 18 (UHF)
Virtual: 33 (PSIP)
33.2 Live Max Radar
|Affiliations||The CW (via The CW Plus; 2016–present)|
(SagamoreHill of Indiana Licenses, LLC)
|First air date||November 21, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||WISE or "wisdom"|
|Former callsigns||WKJG-TV (1953–2003)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
33 (UHF, 1953–2009)
|Transmitter power||285 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WISE-TV originally operated as an NBC affiliate from its establishment through 2016, where as the result of Quincy Media's acquisition of WPTA-TV (which had previously been operated by WISE's former owner, Granite Broadcasting, as part of a shared services agreement), the NBC affiliation became the property of Quincy and was moved to WPTA's second digital subchannel in exchange for its CW affiliation.
The station was founded on November 21, 1953 with the call letters WKJG-TV. It was the first television station in Fort Wayne and affiliated with NBC. The station was owned by William Kunkle, owner of The Journal Gazette newspaper (with both entities forming the call letters), WKJG radio (AM 1380 and FM 97.3), and other television stations. On September 30, 1971, the radio stations were sold. Their call letters became WMEE and WMEF-FM respectively. Today, the FM station has the calls WMEE. The AM station went through a variety of call signs including WQHK, WHWD, and WONO. It went back to the original WKJG on November 3, 2003 and to this day, is Fort Wayne's ESPN Radio affiliate. However, both radio stations are owned by a different company and have no connection with the television station. The first person seen on television in Fort Wayne was Hilliard Gates, who doubled as a sportscaster for the station until his retirement in 1993. John Siemer, a newscaster and announcer at the station, was known at that time as "Engineer John" who introduced cartoons.
For a time, WKJG-TV was owned by Thirty Three Inc, a Tony Hulman company. That broadcaster also owned two other television stations in Indiana, WTHI-TV in Terre Haute and WNDY-TV in Indianapolis. When Hulman died in 1977, WKJG became owned by Joseph R. Cloutier, who had been a Terre Haute-based long time employee of Hulman's company. After Cloutier's death, a trust fund called the Corporation for General Trade was formed, with Cloutier's son Joseph A. Cloutier as majority owner with a 51% stake. That company continued to own WKJG until it was sold in 2003.
On January 13, 2003, the Corporation for General Trade was sold for $20 million to New Vision Television. The station changed its call letters to the current WISE-TV on May 26 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. A new transmitter with a stronger signal and new high definition options was installed on the tower. The station was sold again in March 2005 to Granite Broadcasting Corporation for $44.2 million. Granite sold ABC station WPTA to Malara Broadcast Group for $45.3 million. A local marketing agreement was established that called for Granite to provide operation services to WPTA as well as for Malara's other new station, KDLH in Duluth, Minnesota. Malara files its Securities and Exchange Commission reports jointly with Granite which led to allegations that Granite uses Malara as a shell corporation to evade the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules on duopolies. The FCC does not allow common ownership of two of the four largest stations in a single market. Fort Wayne has only six full-power stations which is too few to allow duopolies in any case. After emerging from bankruptcy in the Summer of 2007, Granite stock was taken over by Silver Point Capital of Greenwich, Connecticut which is a privately owned hedge fund. Silver Point Capital now controls Granite broadcasting according to a Buffalo, New York news article printed on September 16, 2007. According to the same article, Granite will be sold to other parties and many of its stations have been laying off employees or cutting salaries up to 20%. Back on January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would end broadcasting and merge.
The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of its corporate parents, CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On February 22, News Corporation announced that they would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division, Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming independent. It was also created to compete against The CW. CBS affiliate WANE-TV aired UPN on a second digital subchannel. The Fort Wayne affiliate of The WB was cable-only "WBFW" which was part of The WB 100+. The station was co-owned with WPTA by Malara Broadcasting. It was announced in March 2006 that WBFW would affiliate with The CW via The CW Plus (a similar operation to The WB 100+). WPTA decided to create a new second digital sub-channel to simulcast WBFW and offer access to CW programming for over-the-air viewers. On September 18, The CW debuted on WBFW (which became officially known as having the WPTA-DT2 calls). The station became known on-air as "Fort Wayne's CW". On September 5, WISE-TV moved NBC Weather Plus from its second digital subchannel in order for it to become the area's affiliate of MyNetworkTV. Weather Plus then began airing on WISE-TV's third digital subchannel.
On February 11, 2014, Quincy Newspapers agreed to purchase WPTA from the Malara Broadcast Group as part of a deal to purchase Granite Broadcasting's stations in four markets (the other stations were KBJR-TV in Superior, Wisconsin and its satellite KRII in Chisholm, Minnesota, WEEK-TV in Peoria, Illinois and WBNG-TV in Binghamton, New York). The WISE-TV license would be acquired by SagamoreHill Broadcasting; however, WPTA (which would be acquired by Quincy outright, making it the senior partner in the Fort Wayne duopoly) would operate WISE-TV through a shared services agreement. In a presentation submitted to the FCC in August 2014, Quincy said that the existing joint sales agreement would be terminated, allowing WISE-TV its own sales staff, and that it would spend $2 million on the construction of a new studio facility at the WPTA site, after which both stations would produce competing live newscasts. In November 2014, the deal was reworked to remove SagamoreHill from the transaction; Quincy will now acquire WISE, with WPTA remaining with Malara.
In July 2015, the deal was reworked yet again to have SagamoreHill acquire WISE, the SSA between WISE and WPTA (owned by Quincy) wound down within nine months of its closure, and have all of WISE's network affiliations moved to WPTA in exchange for its The CW Plus affiliation. On September 15, 2015, the FCC approved the deal. The sale was completed on November 2, and the switchover occurred on August 1, 2016. Prior to the switch from NBC to The CW, WISE-TV was the second-longest NBC affiliate in the state of Indiana after WFIE (which signed on six days before WISE-TV) in Evansville.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|33.1||720p||16:9||WISECW||Fort Wayne CW|
|33.2||WISEWX||Live Max Radar / WXJ58 audio|
WISE-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 33, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 33. WISE-TV eventually moved to digital channel 18.
Although WISE-TV was the senior partner in the agreement, Granite moved the combined operation to WPTA's studios. Also, the combined operation's news staff consisted mainly of WPTA holdovers. As a result, 57 employees of WISE-TV (including both on-air personalities and production staff) were fired. Granite kept longtime weeknight anchor Linda Jackson to help smooth over the transition. (Jackson was promoted to morning anchor at WPTA in 2012; former sports reporter Kent Hormann later returned to WISE-TV as an anchor.) Viewers did not react favorably and much of the negative feedback was given in "The Rant" section of The News-Sentinel where readers voiced their opinions. Many people were upset about the breakup of the news team especially the firing of meteorologist Greg Shoup. However, he was quickly hired by WANE-TV where he is currently the weekday morning and afternoon meteorologist. Until 2013, newscasts on WISE-TV were practically identical to those on WPTA, which adopted Indiana's NewsCenter as a news brand for both stations. When the stations upgraded to high definition in the fall of 2012, the INC brand was retired and WISE-TV simulcasted WPTA newscasts in the interim. On March 4, 2013, WISE-TV began producing its own newscast format from a secondary set adjacent to the WPTA newsroom studio. Prior to the NBC affiliation moving to WPTA-DT2, WISE-TV aired the 6 a.m. hour of WOWO (1190 AM and 92.3 FM)'s morning show, Fort Wayne's Morning News, as well as its own newscasts at 4, 6, and 11 p.m. The station did not air midday or weekend newscasts; the 4 p.m. newscast was dropped shortly before the transition. Quincy Media plans to relaunch a slate of NBC affiliate newscasts on WPTA-DT2 in the fall of 2016 from a new studio. As a CW affiliate, WISE-TV airs no newscasts whatsoever.
When Granite acquired WISE-TV in 2005, the station began airing a weeknight newscast at 7 which was the first and only one in the state of Indiana. On September 11, 2006, this newscast was replaced with an extra episode of Dr. Phil due to low ratings. Starting back on July 24, WISE-TV began airing a weeknight 10 o'clock newscast on its second digital subchannel that was an affiliate of NBC Weather Plus. With the addition of "My TV Fort Wayne" on its second digital subchannel and "Fort Wayne's CW" on WPTA's second digital subchannel, the newscast moved over to those stations.
Notable former on-air staff
- Dick Florea - news director and anchor in the 1970s and 1980s and Editor's Desk host (retired in 2001 after 35 years)
- Janette Luu - former anchor and reporter from 1998 to 2003 (now on CKXT-TV (SUN TV) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
- Charles Pugh - former anchor and reporter, Detroit FOX Anchor & City Council Member, now embroiled in sex abuse case
- "Quincy Buying Stations From Granite, Malara". TVNewsCheck. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
-  (Referenced p. 43)
- "Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
- "Amended Description of Agreements, Description of Transaction, and Request for Temporary Waiver". Quincy Newspapers, Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- Letter, CDBS Public Access Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 15 September 2015
- Quincy Newspapers Inc. acquires four TV stations Archived November 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Quincy Herald-Whig, Retrieved 2 November 2015
- "Sale brings changes to local TV dial". The Journal Gazette. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WISE
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- "WOWO's Morning News To Get TV Simulcast". All Access. August 19, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2014.