|Pensacola, Florida/Mobile, Alabama
|Branding||UTV 44 (general)
Local 15 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||TV for You!|
|Channels||Digital: 45 (UHF)
Virtual: 44 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||Independent (1984–1995, 2006–present)|
(Deerfield Media (Mobile) Licensee, LLC)
|Operator||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|First air date||December 24, 1984|
|Call letters' meaning||JTC stands for the surnames of the three original owners|
|Sister station(s)||WPMI-TV, WEAR-TV, WFGX|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
44 (UHF, 1984–2009)
|Former affiliations||UPN (1995–2006)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WJTC, virtual channel 44 (UHF digital channel 45), is an independent television station located in Pensacola, Florida, United States that also serves Mobile, Alabama. The station is owned by Deerfield Media, as part of a duopoly with NBC affiliate WPMI (channel 15); Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns Pensacola-based ABC affiliate WEAR-TV (channel 3) and MyNetworkTV affiliate WFGX (channel 35), operates WPMI and WJTC under a local marketing agreement. WPMI and WJTC share studios located on Azalea Road near (I-10) in Mobile, WJTC's transmitter is located near Robertsdale.
WJTC signed on the air on December 24, 1984 as an independent station; the station was founded by its original owners, the Mercury Broadcasting Company. The station – which was branded as "C44" – maintained a general entertainment programming format consisting of old movies, cartoons, westerns, dramas, and a few classic sitcoms.
In 1991, Clear Channel Communications, then-owner of WPMI, entered into a local marketing agreement with WJTC. Mercury Broadcasting retained the license, but Clear Channel owned local rights to programming broadcast on the station. WJTC affiliated with the United Paramount Network (UPN) upon its debut on January 16, 1995. Clear Channel acquired WJTC outright in 2001, creating a duopoly with WPMI.
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner announced the shutdown of both UPN and The WB effective that fall. A new "fifth" network – "The CW" (named after its corporate parents), to be jointly owned by both companies, would launch in their place, with a lineup primarily featuring the most popular programs from both networks. On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced that it would launch a network of its own called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. WJTC was passed over for both the CW affiliation (which went to WBPG; channel 55, now WFNA) and that of MyNetworkTV (which went to WFGX). As a result, WJTC became an independent station once again on September 10, 2006, five days before UPN was to shut down.
On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television station group to Providence Equity Partners. On March 15, 2008, WJTC, WPMI and the other Clear Channel television properties were sold to Newport Television, a company created by Providence to run the newly acquired stations.
Newport announced on July 19, 2012 that it would sell five of its stations, including WJTC and WPMI, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. As Sinclair already owns WEAR-TV and WFGX in the Mobile-Pensacola market, which would violate FCC rules restricting the maximum number of television stations in a single market owned by one company to two, the stations' licenses were instead acquired by Deerfield Media; however, Sinclair began operating both stations through a local marketing agreement. The sale was completed on December 3, 2012. However, due to the stations' distance from Pensacola and other factors, the operations of WJTC and WPMI remain separate from those of WEAR-TV and WFGX.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|44.1||1080i||16:9||WJTC-TV||Main WJTC programming|
WJTC discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 44, on February 17, 2009, the original 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 changed to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 45. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 44.
Syndicated programming on WJTC includes How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons, Modern Family and Two and a Half Men. WJTC broadcasts local high school football games on Friday nights during the fall season. Playoff games are aired as well, but unlike the regular season are tape-delayed because of the Alabama High School Athletic Association's regulations. WJTC also carries the Super Six finals as well as the Alabama high school basketball state finals.
When WJTC signed on the air in 1984, the station produced a morning news program called Mornin along with the market's first primetime newscast at 9:00 p.m. (predating the launch of WALA's 9:00 p.m. newscast by 14 years). The broadcasts originated from studios in downtown Pensacola. The 9:00 p.m. weeknight newscast was moved to 10:00 p.m. in the hopes of attracting more viewers, while the weekend evening newscast continued to air in the 9:00 p.m. timeslot, supplemented with the syndicated national and international news program Independent Network News. The morning and evening newscasts were discontinued by May 31, 1986. Another attempt at a 9 p.m. newscast on the station was made many years later (after WJTC was sold and its facilities moved to Mobile).
Outside of promotions for WPMI's newscasts and simulcasts of that station's severe weather coverage, WJTC didn't air any news programming. However, on September 23, 2013, WPMI began producing two half-hour evening newscasts on WJTC that air weeknights at 6:30 and 9:00 p.m.; the 9:00 p.m. newscast competes with WALA's longer-established primetime newscast (which comparatively runs for one hour) and ironically, also competes with fellow sister station WFGX's 9:00 p.m. newscast that is produced by WEAR-TV (a half-hour program that debuted one month earlier on August 12, 2013).
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- "News Corp. to launch new mini-network for UPN stations". USA Today. February 22, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
- News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- "Clear Channel Agrees to Sell Television Station Group to Providence Equity Partners" (Press release). Clear Channel Communications. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- "Newport Sells 22 Station For $1 Billion". TVNewsCheck. July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WJTC
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WPMI to produce newscasts for WJTC... Florida NewsCenter, August 29, 2013.
- UTV44.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WJTC
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WJTC-TV
- "Losing its network affiliation, WJTC-TV creates a new identity" (Press-Register article)