WLFI-TV

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WLFI-TV
WLFI 2012 Logo.png
WLFI-DT2 Logo.png
Lafayette, Indiana
United States
ChannelsDigital: 11 (VHF)
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
BrandingWLFI 18 (general)
News 18 (newscasts)
Lafayette's CW18 (DT2)
Programming
Affiliations18.1: CBS
18.2: CW+
18.3: Ion Television
18.4: GetTV
Ownership
OwnerAllen Media Broadcasting[1]
(Lafayette TV License Company, LLC)
WFFT-TV, WTHI-TV, WEVV-TV/WEEV-LD
Cable:
Bally Sports Indiana, Bally Sports Ohio
History
First air date
June 15, 1953 (68 years ago) (1953-06-15)
Former call signs
WFAM-TV (1953–1967)
Former channel number(s)
Analog:
59 (UHF, 1953–1957)
18 (UHF, 1957–2009)
Secondary:
DuMont (1953–1956)
NTA (1956–1961)
DT2:
TheCoolTV (2011–2013)
Call sign meaning
LaFayette, Indiana
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID73204
ERP30 kW
HAAT214 m (702 ft)
Transmitter coordinates40°23′20″N 86°36′46″W / 40.38889°N 86.61278°W / 40.38889; -86.61278
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
Websitewww.wlfi.com
WLFI-DT2

WLFI-TV, virtual channel 18 (VHF digital channel 11), is a dual CBS/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Lafayette, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by Allen Media Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Studios. WLFI-TV's studios are located on Yeager Road in West Lafayette, and its transmitter is located on County Road 700 in rural northwestern Clinton County (southwest of Rossville). On cable, WLFI-TV is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 8 and Metronet channel 18 in standard definition and on Xfinity digital channel 1018 and Metronet channel 818 in high definition.

History[edit]

The station first signed on the air at 6:00 p.m. on June 15, 1953 as WFAM-TV,[2] broadcasting on UHF channel 59. It was founded by O.E. Richardson, owner of radio station WASK (1450 AM).[3] The station originally operated as a primary CBS and DuMont affiliate. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[4]

WFAM-TV's transmitter had originally broadcast at low power, making it unreceivable in parts of west-central Indiana outside of the immediate Lafayette area. Out of its original 20-person staff, only one person had any experience in television; the rest were radio personalities who pulled double duty.

WLFI-TV logo used from 2000 to 2012.

In 1957, the station was sold to WASK to assistant general manager Henry Rosenthal, who filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move WFAM-TV to channel 18, but the station instead went dark in May 1959. Rosenthal sold the station to Sarkes Tarzian, a radio manufacturer based in Bloomington, which also owned primary NBC/secondary ABC and DuMont affiliate WTTV (now a CBS affiliate) in Indianapolis and ABC affiliate WPTA in Fort Wayne. It was Tarzian who finished the relocation to channel 18, returning WFAM-TV to the air on that channel on November 15 of that year.[5] (The channel 59 allocation remained dormant until the FCC later reassigned the allotment to Indianapolis used by WPDS-TV—now Fox affiliate WXIN—in February 1984.) The station changed its call letters to WLFI-TV in 1967. In 1979, the station was purchased by Block Communications. In 2000, LIN TV Corporation acquired WLFI from Block in exchange for a 67% ownership interest in ABC affiliate WAND (now an NBC affiliate) in Decatur, Illinois (LIN TV later sold off its remaining 33% interest in WAND to Block Communications).

WLFI's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009.[6]

On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would merge with LIN Media in a $1.6 billion deal.[7][8] The merger was completed on December 19.[9] Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced on January 27, 2016, that it would merge with Media General in a $4.6 billion acquisition;[10] it then announced on June 13, 2016, that it would sell WLFI-TV and four other stations to Heartland Media, through its USA Television MidAmerica Holdings joint venture with MSouth Equity Partners, for $115 million, to comply with FCC ownership caps following the merger.[11]

WLFI was one of the Lafayette area's two commercial network television broadcasters between its launch in 1953 and the 2016 launch of WPBI-LD, a Fox and NBC affiliate; the other station was WTTK (channel 29), a satellite station of WTTV that began broadcasting in 1988.[12] Cable providers have long supplemented the area with stations from Indianapolis. Comcast Xfinity dropped the Indianapolis stations from its lineup on March 7, 2018,[13] but resumed carriage of NBC affiliate WTHR and ABC affiliate WRTV two days later.[14]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [15]
18.1 1080i 16:9 CBS Main WLFI-TV programming / CBS
18.2 CW Lafayette's CW18
18.3 480i ION Ion Television
18.4 GETTV GetTV

WLFI formerly carried TheCoolTV on digital subchannel 18.2 from 2011 to 2013, when LIN Media terminated its affiliation agreement with the music video network.[16] The live feed of "Storm Team 18 Live Doppler Radar" moved from digital subchannel 18.3 to 18.2 in the fall of 2013. Sony Pictures Television's GetTV network, which features classic movies, replaced the weather radar channel on WLFI-DT2 in early 2015. In Fall 2015, WLFI-DT3 was launched to serve as an Ion Television affiliate. The CW Plus began to be broadcast over WLFI-DT2 in 720p HD in August 2017, moving GetTV to a new DT4 subchannel and leading to the CBS feed on their main channel being downscaled into 720p for the time being (presumably due to bandwidth limitations resulting from their encoding equipment, which is only capable of utilizing a "Constant" Bitrate Allocation, versus "Variable"); however, by November 2021 CBS and CW+ programming was upgraded to 1080i full HD, at the expense of bandwidth on the remaining subchannels.[17] WLFI-DT2 is being identified on-air as "Lafayette's CW18".[18]

Programming[edit]

WLFI-TV carries the entire CBS network schedule; however, it airs the CBS Dream Team lineup in two blocks—with the first two hours airing on Saturday mornings (leading into the Saturday edition of CBS This Morning, which itself airs two hours later than most CBS stations that carry the broadcast) and the final hour airing on Sunday mornings. Syndicated programs broadcast by WLFI-TV include Dr. Phil, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

News operation[edit]

WLFI-TV presently broadcasts 22½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with four hours each weekday, 1½ hours on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays); unlike most CBS affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, the station's early evening newscast at 5:00 p.m. runs only for a half-hour, with the station opting to run syndicated programs during the 5:30 p.m. half-hour.

Even after cable systems began piping in Indianapolis stations in the 1970s, the station's newscasts have performed well in the ratings; its success was largely attributed to the longevity of most of its news staff, some of whom had been at the station for over 20 years, including former anchors Jeff Smith and Chris Morisse, sports anchor Larry Clisby and meteorologist Steve Scherer [1].

In September 2012, WLFI became the third television station in Central Indiana to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; as part of the upgrade, the station unveiled a new graphics package (a modified version of the package used by CBS owned-and-operated station WBBM-TV in Chicago from when it upgraded its newscasts to high definition in 2008 until 2010) and a new set for its newscasts.

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miller, Mark K. (October 1, 2019). "Byron Allen Buying 11 Stations For $290M". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  2. ^ http://www.wlfi.com/Global/story.asp?S=6512244
  3. ^ "History of UHF Television: WFAM-TV/59, Lafayette IN". Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  4. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956
  5. ^ "History of UHF Television: WFAM-TV/59, Lafayette IN". Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  6. ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
  7. ^ "Media General to buy WISH-TV parent in deal worth $1.6B". Indianapolis Business Journal. Associated Press. March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  8. ^ Sruthi Ramakrishnan (March 21, 2014). "Media General to buy LIN Media for $1.6 billion". Reuters. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  9. ^ Media General Completes Merger With LIN Media Archived December 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, Media General, Retrieved December 19, 2014
  10. ^ Lafayette, Jon (January 27, 2016). "Nexstar Agrees to Buy Media General for $4.6B". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  11. ^ "Prather Buys 5 TVs From Nexstar-Media Gen". TVNewsCheck. June 13, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "Fox, NBC stations broadcasting in town". Journal & Courier. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  13. ^ "Comcast kills last of Indy stations from Lafayette's cable lineup". Journal & Courier. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  14. ^ "Comcast: Indianapolis broadcast stations back … at least for now". Journal & Courier. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  15. ^ "RabbitEars.Info".
  16. ^ http://m.thecooltv.com/stations.php?id=31
  17. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WLFI-TV
  18. ^ A Promotional Logo Of WLFI-DT2
  19. ^ Jane King

External links[edit]