|Branding||WJAC-TV 6 (general)
6 NBC (secondary)
6 News (newscasts)
Can Count On
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
6.3 Comet TV
6.4 Grit TV
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WJAC Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 15, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Johnstown Automotive
Company (original owner)
|Former channel number(s)||13 (VHF analog, 1949–1952)
6 (VHF analog, 1952–2009)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1949–1953)
ABC (1949–1974, 1982–1988)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WJAC-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station in west-central Pennsylvania with the station licensed to Johnstown. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 34 from a transmitter northwest of the city in Laurel Ridge State Park along the Cambria and Westmoreland County line. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station has studios on Old Hickory Lane in Johnstown.
WJAC-TV first began its broadcasting operations on September 15, 1949 originally owned by the Johnstown Automotive Company along with WJAC radio (AM 1400, now WKGE at AM 850, and FM 95.5, now WKYE at FM 96.5). At the time, it was the third smallest television station in the country market wise to be granted a commercial license on or before December 31 behind CBS affiliate WNBF-TV in Binghamton, New York and fellow NBC affiliate WICU-TV in Erie. It originally aired an analog signal on VHF channel 13 before moving to VHF channel 6 in 1952. Upon its sign-on, it aired programming from all four networks of the time (NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont). CBS disappeared from WJAC-TV's schedule when WARD-TV channel 56 (now Pittsburgh's CW affiliate WPCW on channel 19) signed-on in 1953 followed by DuMont when it shut down network operations in 1955. However, the station continued to air a few ABC shows until WWPC-TV, a satellite of Fox affiliate WWCP-TV, became a separate ABC affiliate in 1988.
In the 1960s, Johnstown Automotive sold the WJAC stations to the estate of Anderson H. Walters, the owner of The Tribune-Democrat, who held them until 1984 when tightened Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cross-ownership regulations forced the newspaper to sell off the radio stations. The Walters estate sold off the newspaper to MediaNews Group in 1987 but held on to Channel 6 until 1997 when it was sold to Sunrise Television. WJAC and new sister station WTOV-TV in the Steubenville, Ohio–Wheeling, West Virginia market were sold to Cox Enterprises in 2000. The two stations and WPXI in Pittsburgh are now occasionally marketed together as a result. WJAC-TV and WTOV were updated to WPXI's on-air graphics after being acquired by Cox, despite WPXI changing its own look in 2004. Most of the graphics introduced to WJAC-TV after the acquisition were used until October 2011, when WJAC-TV updated to WPXI's current look.
WJAC-TV gained a reputation for its locally produced programs at the station throughout the years. Scholastic Quiz, a game show featuring local high school students, and Seniors Today (a public affairs program targeted to those 65 and older) would become mainstays of the station's programming and make host Ron Lorence (who would later build WADJ-AM, now WBHV, at 1330 AM and then buy WYSN-FM 101.7 now WCCL in Somerset County) a local household name. The station was also one of the stations across the country to produce a local version of the children's TV show ″Romper Room″. In the 1950s and 1960s, WJAC-TV's slogan was "Serving Millions From Atop the Alleghenies."
On September 15, 2009, WJAC-TV celebrated its 60th year of broadcasting. During that month, WJAC-TV aired several commercials advertising the anniversary. One featured a variation of the "Serving Millions from Atop the Alleghenies" slogan creating "Serving Millions Across the Alleghenies." This old slogan was used in various ways in the station's broadcasts and mixed with the station's then-current slogan "Coverage You Can Count On" to form "Coverage You Can Count On Across the Alleghenies" the year before. On July 20, 2012, one day after Cox purchased four television stations in Jacksonville, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma from Newport Television, Cox put WJAC-TV, WTOV-TV, and sister stations in El Paso, Texas and Reno, Nevada, plus several radio stations in medium to small markets, on the selling block. All four of the television stations on the block are located in markets that are smaller than Tulsa. On February 25, 2013, Cox announced that it would sell the four stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group. The FCC granted its approval of the sale on April 29, and it was consummated on May 2. This made WJAC-TV a sister station to nearby WPGH-TV and WPMY in Pittsburgh though it is still connected to WPXI-TV through a news-share agreement.
On July 22, 2013, Horseshoe Curve Communications agreed to sell Fox affiliate WWCP-TV (channel 8) to Cunningham Broadcasting for $12 million. The Sinclair Broadcast Group was to operate the station through shared services and joint sales agreements. However, the majority of Cunningham's stock is held by the Smith family (owners and founders of Sinclair). As a result, Sinclair would have effectively owned WWCP as well. As WWCP's long-standing local marketing agreement to operate ABC affiliate WATM-TV (channel 23) was part of the deal, it would have resulted in the major commercial television stations in the market being controlled by just two companies. It would have essentially made WJAC-TV, WWCP, and WATM all sister stations and expanded on their existing news share arrangement (see below). However, on February 20, 2014, Horseshoe Curve informed the FCC that the sale of WWCP had fallen through.
WJAC-TV is carried on various cable systems in several counties that are located outside of the Johnstown-Altoona market. These counties include Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Westmoreland. During the 1990s, WJAC was available on cable in portions of Warren County, despite that county being a part of the Erie market. In West Virginia, it is carried in Petersburg (93 miles away), Dorcas, Moorefield and Keyser. WJAC-TV is also broadcast over-the-air on a low-powered repeater, W29DH-D, in Moorefield, West Virginia. This repeater is owned by Valley TV Cooperative.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||PSIP Short Name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|6.1||WJAC-HD||1080i||16:9||Main WJAC-TV programming / NBC|
|6.4||GRIT||Grit TV (recently moved from 6.3?)|
The Retro Television Network began airing on WJAC-TV's second digital subchannel in the late December 2008. Along with then-sister station WPXI, WJAC-TV 6.2 transitioned to MeTV at midnight on June 13, 2011, immediately following an episode of Ellery Queen, at which point the channel was switched to the MeTV feed for the start of Hogan's Heroes. Sister station WTOV continues to air RTV until January 16, 2012. Before its closure in December 2008, WJAC-TV carried NBC Weather Plus on the second digital subchannel. The regular changes in WJAC's subchannel over its first few years reflect the decisions made internally about how to best make use of the new programming options afforded by Digital OTA broadcast.
WJAC-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 6, 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 34. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 6.
The nearby mountain ridges had prevented most Altoona and all of State College from receiving the analog signal; conversely, many of Pittsburgh's outer-ring eastern and Westmoreland County suburbs actually got a grade B signal from WJAC, which in some cases, was superior to that of Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXI-TV.
Because the audio portion of VHF channel 6 was transmitted at 87.75 MHz, it was possible to listen to the television station on most FM car radios (or any standard FM radio for that matter). This was a feature frequently employed by area residents. However, this is no longer an option after the digital conversion.
|Callsign||Channel||City of license||Note||Transmitter location|
|26||DuBois||Licensed||southeast of Luthersburg|
|29||Bedford||Licensed||west of borough|
|W29DH-D||Moorefield, West Virginia
(Harrisonburg, VA market)
|Licensed||South Branch Mountain|
|W42DG-D||42||State College||Licensed||southwest of Pine Grove Mills|
In the late-1960s and 1970s, WJAC had a fifteen-minute news and weather show weekday afternoons at 1 known as The News Today. Its 6 o'clock newscast was known as The News Tonight and the 11 p.m. broadcast was entitled 11th Hour News. The weather segment aired first and was titled "Weather in Motion" with its own sounder and graphics. The sports had a separate theme and was called "Sports Wrap Up". Their weekday morning newscast began as a half-hour broadcast at 6:30 in 1985. In 1987, TCI Cable (now Comcast) in Centre County began producing a WJAC newscast, known as the Centre County Report, specifically targeted to that area.
On January 14, 2008, WJAC entered into a news share agreement with WWCP and WATM. This station then began to produce WWCP's nightly prime time show and reduced the program to 35 minutes on weeknights while remaining a half-hour on weekends. The newscast, still known as Fox 8 News at 10, now originates from a secondary set at WJAC's facility on Old Hickory Lane in Upper Yoder Township (with a Johnstown postal address). It features a separate news anchor on weeknights, who does not appear on WJAC, in addition to a different music and graphics package from broadcasts seen on the NBC outlet. Since WJAC has prior commitments with local news and weather cut-ins during Today, WATM offers taped news updates that are seen Tuesday through Saturday mornings (at :25 and :55 past the hour) during Good Morning America. From January 2008 until March 2011, WJAC simulcasted its nightly newscast at 11 on WATM under the ABC 23 News branding.
It officially changed the station's news branding from WJAC-TV News to 6 News on October 25, 2011. This change comes only three years after the switch from Channel 6 News. In addition to the new branding, WJAC updated their on-air graphics and theme music to those of its former sister station, WPXI, in Pittsburgh. Then, in July 2012, this outlet became the first station in the market to broadcast local news in full high definition. In January 2016, to reflect the station's ownership by Sinclair, WJAC-TV stopped using "The Tower" and WPXI's former on-air look and updated their package and music to the generic Sinclair News Package. WTOV-TV already began using the package in 2014. In addition to its main studios, it also operates bureaus in State College (on West College Avenue/PA 26) and DuBois (on East DuBois Avenue/PA 255; building is shared with WOWQ-FM 102.1).
Notable current on-air staff
- Marty Radovanic – anchor
- Tim Rigby - sports director and executive producer (1981–2011) Now an anchor.
Notable former staff
- John Patrick - meteorologist (1997–1998 and 2001–2003; now at WZVN-TV in Fort Myers, Florida)
- Bill Brown - anchor (now retired)
- "The Heritage". cambriacountyhistorical.com.
- Malone, Michael (February 25, 2013). "Sinclair to Acquire Five Cox Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Sinclair Broadcast Group". sbgi.net. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013.
- Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License , Federal Communications Commission, 12 August 2013
- "Re: Request for Dismissal of Assignment Application" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "Comcast - Channel Line Up". comcast.com.
- "Comcast - Channel Line Up". comcast.com.
- "RabbitEars.Info". rabbitears.info.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WJAC
- "WJAC launches classic TV network". The Tribune-Democrat.
- "ME-TV to be on WPXI digital channel". TribLIVE.com.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WJAC-TV FCC DTV status report
- FCC Internet Services Staff. "Station Search Details". fcc.gov.
- WJAC-TV the first in the area in HD
- "End of an era for local sports anchor". The Tribune-Democrat..
- Website about RCA TK60 Television Cameras featuring pictures of WJAC-TV during the late 50s and early 60s