|Utica/Rome, New York
|Slogan||.1: Where the News Comes First
.3: TV Now
|Channels||Digital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
(WKTV Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||December 1, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Kallet Television
|Former callsigns||cable only: "WBU"|
|Former channel number(s)||13 (VHF analog, 1949–1958)
2 (VHF analog, 1959–2009)
|Transmitter power||708 kW|
WKTV is the NBC affiliated station for the Mohawk Valley of Central New York, licensed to Utica. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 29 (or virtual channel 2 via PSIP) from a transmitter in the Eatonville section of Fairfield and Herkimer. The station's primary channel can also be seen on Charter Spectrum channel 4 and in high definition on digital channel 1203. Owned by Heartland Media, it has studios on Smith Hill Road in Deerfield (with a Utica postal address).
The station launched on December 1, 1949 as Utica's first television station, operating on VHF channel 13. It was the 93rd television station in the United States to sign-on. This made Utica one of the smallest cities in the nation with a television station. It was owned by Copper City Broadcasting Corporation, controlled by Myron Kallet, along with WKAL (1450 AM). As the only station in its area, it was affiliated with all four major networks at the time: NBC, DuMont, ABC, and CBS, with NBC being its primary affiliation. It lost DuMont in 1956 following the network's closure, and lost CBS soon afterward following a dispute with the network; after that, WHEN-TV/WTVH in Syracuse served as the default CBS affiliate for the Utica area until 2015.
In 1951, a young local radio announcer named Dick Clark joined the staff at WKTV. He was a talented and good-looking announcer that quickly gathered a loyal following. Clark's father was the manager of Utica radio station WRUN (1150 AM, later to become WUTI and shut down in 2013; and 104.3 FM, now WFRG-FM), and his son wanted to avoid the name recognition factor. To avoid confusion, the younger Clark became known on-air as "Dick Clay". Eventually, Clark would anchor the weeknight newscasts on WKTV (replacing Robert Earle, who would later host the GE College Bowl). In 1952, Clark departed WKTV for WFIL AM-FM-TV in Philadelphia.
In 1958, Kallet sold WKTV and WKAL to a group led by Paul Harron and Gordon Gray, who had previously owned WIBG AM-FM in Philadelphia and WPFH in Wilmington, Delaware. Soon afterward, on January 1, 1959, WKTV moved to VHF channel 2 in a dial realignment, which allowed WTRI (channel 35) in Albany to move to channel 13 (where it became WAST, now WNYT), and (along with the earlier move of a channel 13 allocation in Hamilton, Ontario to channel 11, becoming CHCH-TV) led to a channel 13 allocation being assigned to Rochester (which signed on in 1962 as WOKR and is now WHAM-TV). With the switch, WKTV upgraded its signal and began to cover a fairly wide area stretching from as far south as the Catskill Mountains, as far east as The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts and into Southern Ontario, Canada. The Harron/Gray group, Mid New York Broadcasting, sold WKAL in 1961, but retained WKTV, and in subsequent years acquired several additional stations, including KAUZ-TV in Wichita Falls, Texas and WMTW-FM-TV on Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Harron also operated a chain of cable systems in the Northeastern United States, including a system in Utica, Central New York Cable TV (Later, Harron Cable TV) built in 1963. The company eventually became known as Harron Communications Corporation.
WKTV enjoyed a monopoly in the Utica/Rome television market until February 28, 1970 when WUTR signed on as an ABC affiliate. WKTV then became affiliated solely with NBC, and is now one of the network's longest-serving affiliates. In the mid-1980s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled on cross ownership of broadcast, cable and print media in the same communities. The FCC grandfathered Harron. A few years later Harron acquired the nearby Canajoharie, NY cable system, then owned by a local appliance dealer. The Canajoharie plant extended well within a twenty mile contour of WKTV’s Middleville, NY transmitter site. The FCC revoked Harron’s grandfather status and required divestiture of either its cable or television assets in the region. In 1992, Harron sold controlling interest in WKTV to Smith Broadcasting (the cable system was later sold to Adelphia and now part of Charter Communications). In 2004, Boston Ventures, acquired the Smith Broadcasting stations, and formed Smith Media, LLC, after founder Bob Smith died in 2003.
WKTV has been broadcasting its digital signal on UHF channel 29 since May 2006 and in high definition starting with the 2008 Summer Olympics. The station signed-off its analog signal on February 18, 2009, and began broadcasting exclusively in digital. This left some viewers without a reachable signal and others looking for an outdoor UHF antenna. To continue serving those areas, WKTV began simulcasting its weekday newscasts at noon and 5 on WUTQ (1550 AM, now WUSP) and WADR (1480 AM, now WRCK). In May 2011, the radio stations began simulcasting the second hour of WKTV's weekday morning show. On March 16, 2012, WUTQ-FM (100.7 FM), then simulcasting WUTQ/WRCK, began simulcasting the newscasts. WUTQ/WRCK broke from the simulcast later that year when WUTQ-FM owner Ken Roser sold the stations to Good Guys Broadcasting Corporation. WUTQ-FM continues to simulcast WKTV's 5pm newscast and its weekday morning show; however it now simulcasts the first hour due to an expansion of its popular morning talk show "Talk Of The Town".
Due to an ongoing retransmission dispute, Time Warner Cable replaced WKTV with fellow NBC affiliate WBRE-TV from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on December 16, 2010. WKTV-DT2, then affiliated with The CW, was also dropped and eventually replaced by HBO Family. On the same date, rival WUTR began to be seen in the Burlington, Vermont/Plattsburgh, New York market on Time Warner Cable after sister station WVNY was dropped for the same reason. Nexstar Broadcasting Group, owner of WBRE, and Mission Broadcasting (a broadcaster whose stations are operated by Nexstar), owner of WUTR, opposed the use of their stations as replacement programming and requested the Time Warner Cable franchise for the affected regions be revoked. WKTV and Time Warner reached an agreement, the terms of which both sides refused to reveal, on January 8, 2011, allowing WKTV and the CW subchannel to return to the cable system the next day. (Ironically, WVNY would later be sold to Mission Broadcasting, making it a sister station to WUTR.)
On October 1, 2013, Smith Media reached a deal to sell WKTV to Heartland Media, a newly-formed company owned by former Gray Television executive Bob Prather. The sale was completed on March 20, 2014. WKTV launched a third digital subchannel eight months later on November 10, carrying programming from MeTV.
On January 29, 2015, WKTV switched to full high definition television, including the debut of a new set.
WKTV's main channel clears the entire NBC schedule except for the network's weekend late night programming after Saturday Night Live. Syndicated programming on WKTV includes Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, and Judge Judy.
WKTV-DT2 clears the entire CBS schedule. In addition, WKTV-DT2 shares the rights to The Dr. Oz Show with its parent channel and clears other syndicated programming such as Right This Minute and DailyMailTV.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|2.1||1080i||16:9||WKTVNBC||Main WKTV programming / NBC|
|2.3||WKTV-CW||Central New York's CW 11|
WKTV's second digital subchannel serves as the market's CBS affiliate. The subchannel is carried on Charter Spectrum channel 5 and in high-definition on channel 1209. WKTV-DT2 traces its roots to the creation of The WB 100+ in September 1998, when WKTV partnered with the group to launch a cable-only WB affiliate. This new service replaced network flagship WPIX from New York City on Time Warner Cable systems in the Mohawk Valley and it used the "WBU" (standing for The WB Utica) call sign in a fictional manner. On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced the two networks would end broadcasting and merge to form The CW; when the new network launched on September 18, WKTV launched a new second digital subchannel to carry it through The CW Plus (a similar service to The WB 100+); the new subchannel supplanted "WBU".
On October 26, 2015, WKTV announced that WKTV-DT2 would join CBS (under the CBS Utica branding) on November 22, marking the first time CBS had an affiliate in Utica since the end of WKTV's secondary affiliation with the network in the mid-1950s, as well as the first time CBS ever had a full-time affiliate in Utica. (Prior to this, WTVH in Syracuse and WBNG-TV in Binghamton had served as the default CBS affiliates in the area.) Following the change, CW programming and WKTV-DT2's existing cable channel position moved to WKTV's third subchannel, with MeTV in turn being transferred to a new fourth subchannel. Within a month, WKTV-DT2 had replaced WTVH on Time Warner Cable channel 5 in Utica proper, while DirecTV later added WKTV-DT2 to its local packages, as did Dish Network shortly after the new year. On July 1, 2016, WKTV-DT2 was re-launched in the rest of the Utica DMA when the station replaced WTVH in Herkimer County and WBNG in Otsego County. However, as a result of viewer complaints in Otsego County, WBNG was restored to Time Warner Cable systems in that area (alongside WKTV-DT2) on January 25, 2017.
In May 2016, WKTV-DT2's over-the-air digital signal was upgraded from 480i standard definition to 720p high definition, thus giving viewers in the Utica market over-the-air access to CBS's high definition feed for the first time.
WKTV's third digital subchannel is the market's CW affiliate through The CW Plus, continuing from WKTV-DT2 which switched to CBS in November 2016. The subchannel is carried on Charter Spectrum channel 11 and in high-definition on channel 1212. WKTV-DT3 was established November 10, 2014 as part of MeTV, but inherited CW programming and its cable channel position when WKTV-DT2 joined CBS. In May 2016, WKTV-DT3's over-the-air digital signal was upgraded from 480i standard television to 720p high definition, thus giving viewers in the Utica market over-the-air access to the high definition feed for The CW for the first time.
The station has been a ratings stronghold in the Mohawk Valley for its entire history. For the most part, this is because the station had no local competition before WUTR's 1970 sign on; in addition, WUTR aired no local newscasts from August 2003 through September 2011, again leaving WKTV as the lone news operation in the market. The 6 a.m. half-hour of WKTV's morning newscast, the first half-hour of its noon newscast (prior to The Young and the Restless), and its entire 11 p.m. newscast are also simulcast on WKTV-DT2, with future plans for WKTV to produce exclusive newscasts for the subchannel using CBS resources.
In September 2001, WKTV entered into a news share agreement with Fox affiliate WFXV (then owned by Quorum Broadcasting), leading to a 10 p.m. newscast on that station. Known as NewsChannel 2 on Fox, the show aired every night for a half-hour and was virtually identical to WKTV's regular newscasts. The broadcast generally originated live from WKTV's studios; however, there were frequently technical problems beaming the show to WFXV's facility through microwave relay. Sometimes, WKTV personnel had to record the newscast in advance and physically deliver the videotape to WFXV; the stations' studios are next to each other on top of Smith Hill in Deerfield, NY. When the outsourcing contract ended on August 31, 2004, WFXV decided not to renew it (by this point, WFXV was owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group and operated Mission Broadcasting's WUTR through a joint sales agreement). The next day, the 10 p.m. newscast moved to cable-exclusive "WBU", with the weekend edition dropped; the newscast continued on the station, which became WKTV-DT2 in 2006, until WKTV-DT2 switched affiliations to CBS on November 22, 2015. At that point, the newscast moved to WKTV-DT3, where it continues to air to this day.
Newscasts on WKTV officially upgraded to true high definition on January 29, 2015, making WKTV the third station in the Utica area (behind WUTR and WFXV) to switch. Its HD conversion was a two-step process, beginning with the construction of a new set, which debuted on August 4, 2014, and continuing with the replacement of its news and engineering equipment with HD-ready versions.
On January 25, 2016, WKTV began producing a 7 a.m. newscast for WKTV-DT3. Like the 10 p.m. newscast, it airs for a half-hour and is similar to WKTV's regular newscasts. During weather forecast segments, WKTV features live NOAA National Weather Service Doppler weather radar data from several regional sites. On-air, this is known as "StormTracker 2 Live Doppler".
Notable former staff
- Dick Clark – anchor (1951-1952, deceased)
- Robert Earle – announcer/anchor (1949-1951, later host of G.E. College Bowl)
- Channel 2 virtual TV stations in the United States
- Channel 29 digital TV stations in the United States
- "WKTV (TV) Utica Affiliates With ABC-TV" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. December 5, 1949. p. 53. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "Joseph Trela". Utica AM Radio. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "Two Join NBC-TV" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. April 18, 1949. p. 4. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "DuMont Television Network - Historical Web Site". Retrieved 27 March 2016.
- "Rock, Roll and Remember", by Dick Clark and Richard Robinson (New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1976)
- "Closed Circuit" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 10, 1958. p. 5. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "Changing hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 22, 1961. p. 52. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "Jack Paar Will Sell TV Station" (PDF). Amsterdam Recorder. Associated Pressdate=November 10, 1967. p. 5. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
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- O'Steen, Kathleen (September 22, 2003). "The WB's Radical Genesis" (PDF). Television Week: 14. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
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- O'Steen, Kathleen (September 22, 2003). "Forging an Identity" (PDF). Television Week: 20. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Kuperberg, Jonathan (October 26, 2015). "WKTV Nabs First CBS Affiliation in Utica, N.Y. in 5 Decades". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
- ON THE AIR: WBNG to return to Otsego County this month
- RabbitEars TV Query for WKTV
- Fybush, Scott (August 4, 2003). "WUTR Pulls Plug on Local News". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- WUTR AND WFXV TO LAUNCH HIGH DEFINITION EYEWITNESS NEWS ON SEPTEMBER 12. News release (August 15, 2011). Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- jeff (27 October 2015). "What Utica needs to know about local CBS Affiliation". WIBX 950. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
- Fybush, Scott (August 27, 2001). "Bad Blood at the Blood Drive". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- Fybush, Scott (August 30, 2004). "CHOI Wins a Reprieve". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- "WKTV.com". WKTV.com. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
- "WKTV.com". WKTV.com. Retrieved 27 March 2016.