WNTZ-TV

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WNTZ-TV
WNTZ 2016 Logo Low Res.png
Natchez, Mississippi/Alexandria, Louisiana
United States
Branding Fox 48
Slogan So Entertaining!
(last used in 2015)
Channels Digital: 49 (UHF)
Subchannels 48.1 Fox/MyNetworkTV
48.2 Bounce TV
48.3 Escape
48.4 Laff
Translators K47DW-D Alexandria, LA
K51FO-D Leesville, LA
Owner Nexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
First air date November 16, 1985
Call letters' meaning NaTcheZ
Former channel number(s) 48 (UHF analog, 1985–2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1985–1988)
silent (1988–1991)
Channel America (1991–1995 on K47DW )
PTEN
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 313 m
Facility ID 16539
Transmitter coordinates 31°40′8″N 91°41′30″W / 31.66889°N 91.69167°W / 31.66889; -91.69167
Website www.cenlanow.com

WNTZ-TV is the Fox affiliate television station for the Alexandria, Louisiana Designated Market Area (DMA). It is licensed to Natchez, Mississippi, which is in actuality part of the Jackson, Mississippi DMA. The station also has a secondary affiliation with MyNetworkTV. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group.

WNTZ's base of operation is located on Parliament Drive in Alexandria, and its main transmitter is located near Jonesville, Louisiana, with two translator transmitters in Alexandria and Leesville. WNTZ's master control operation was co-located in Lafayette with then-sister station operations of KADN-TV and KLAF-LD from 1991 until July 2015, when it was moved to the Baton Rouge sister operations of WVLA-TV, WGMB-TV, WBRL-CD and KZUP-CD.

WNTZ broadcasts a high-definition digital signal on channel 49.1 (Jonesville), 47.1 (Alexandria), and 51.1 (Leesville), but retranslates to virtual channel 48.1, via PSIP.

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming[1]
48.1 720p 16:9 WNTZ-DT Main WNTZ-TV programming / Fox & MyNetworkTV
48.2 480i 4:3 Bounce TV
48.3 Escape
48.4 Laff

Unique station characteristics[edit]

WNTZ's broadcasting is a loosely defined "network" of one main transmitter and two translator transmitters that serve residents in three television markets – Alexandria (the DMA that gets officially rated by Nielsen Media Research); the southernmost portion of the Monroe, LouisianaEl Dorado, Arkansas market (where the station's main transmitter tower is located); and the westernmost portion of the Jackson market (the location of Natchez, the station's city of license assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)).

WNTZ manages its operation from rented office space on Parliament Drive in Alexandria.

Delta Media Corporation, owners of WNTZ at the time, moved administrative, sales and marketing operations in 1991 to Pineville, Louisiana, in order to have its main base of operation within the footprint of the Alexandria DMA. Later in 1996, Delta Media purchased office space and moved operations to Jackson Street in Alexandria's Garden District, with the intent to move the station's broadcast capability from its sister station, KADN in Lafayette, to the newly purchased building. Even as administrative, sales, and marketing moved to Alexandria, broadcasting WNTZ's signal from the building never materialized, as Delta Media sold the station's operation in 1997 to White Knight Broadcasting (transferred ten years later to parent company Communications Corporation of America). In an unusual situation, the office space in Alexandria remained in control of Delta Media. White Knight paid monthly rent to Delta Media to remain in the building until 2007, when the WNTZ operation moved a third time to rented space along Parliament Drive in the Noles-Frye building, a local real estate agency.

WNTZ was launched in 1985 from its original studios located at 26 Colonel John Pitchford Parkway (then 625 Beltline Highway) in Natchez, Mississippi, by State Senator Bill Atkins via his company MSLA Broadcasting. Since Natchez is the official FCC city of license, Delta Media maintained a satellite office within the studios in Natchez, even though the station began shifting its focus to the Alexandria market in 1991, and removed or sold all non-essential broadcasting equipment from the studio. Similar to the operations occurring in Alexandria, Delta Media, then later White Knight and Communications Corporation of America, paid monthly rent for use of the original studio to the building's owners. The Natchez location was used for WNTZ sales operations until 2011, then held the station's special projects and social media staff until the station was purchased by Nexstar Broadcasting Group. Nexstar management officially closed the Natchez studio on May 27, 2015, with no formal announcement made of its closure.

Despite being licensed to Natchez, WNTZ is not carried on cable or satellite there. Cable One, which services the Natchez, MS/Vidalia, LA area, carries Jackson's Fox affiliate WDBD (and other Jackson stations) for the Natchez side of its service area.[2] WNTZ is carried on the Vidalia side.[3] This is despite Natchez and Vidalia being served by the same cable headend (PSID #003002).[4]

History[edit]

First incarnation of WNTZ[edit]

WNTZ was granted its license on January 31, 1985, to Louisiana state senator Bill Atkins of Jonesville and signed on the air on November 16.

WNTZ began as an independent station, with a special on The Honeymooners serving as its inaugural program. Advertised as "Your Channel by the River," WNTZ's original programming consisted of local and syndicated programming exclusively to the Miss-Lou area, which covered a larger broadcasting footprint into Mississippi than exists today. The station originally only had news updates but was broadcasting a full scheduled newscast by 1988.[5]

WNTZ's fortunes quickly eroded, as it was placed in bankruptcy for the first time around 1986. During the bankruptcy proceedings, there were attempts to sell the station to new owners, but these were unsuccessful, and the Federal Insurance Savings and Loan Corporation, who had seized the loan and assets from the station, took it dark on April 8, 1988. The station remained silent for 3 years until the license for the station was sold in 1991 to Lafayette, Louisiana businessman Charles Chatelain and his company, Delta Media Corporation, based in Lafayette, Louisiana.

WNTZ returns under Delta Media ownership and Fox affiliation[edit]

Under Delta Media ownership, the goal was to give the Alexandria, Louisiana DMA a full Fox network affiliation. However, a few challenges were ahead.

WNTZ's license is designated to Natchez, Mississippi, where its transmitter and tower are located behind the original studios for the station.

Executives at Fox were concerned to give WNTZ its affiliation because they did not want to grant a second affiliation in the Jackson, Mississippi DMA. In order to alleviate the problem, the original transmitter and broadcast equipment was sold to future WNTZ owner Communications Corporation of America and moved to sign on WGMB-TV in Baton Rouge. This was done in order to build a new tower and transmitter site in the small farming community of Frogmore, in neighboring Concordia Parish, Louisiana.

Furthermore, WNTZ's broadcasting operation would be relocated to Lafayette, Louisiana, housed at its sister station, KADN-TV. The license would remain in Natchez, even though its tower and transmitter site were moved across to the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River and base of operation would also move.

Fox then, in turn, granted WNTZ the Fox affiliation for the Alexandria market. The original tower which transmitted WNTZ's signal in 1985 still remains behind its original studio building in Natchez, but it now only relays a live microwave transmission signal to the main transmitter tower in Frogmore for Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts, per FCC requirement.

Repeater stations change WNTZ's reach[edit]

WNTZ serves as a full-power station licensed to Natchez, Mississippi, located 65 miles east of Alexandria - and thus, uses a network of translators in order to alleviate weak spots in coverage in the western part of the Alexandria DMA.

Two translators are currently on the air.

The following two translators had their licenses cancelled, due to the transition from analog to digital transmission.

1An application has been filed for a separate "-LD" digital repeater on channel 42.

K47DW-D[edit]

On July 1, 1991, Delta Media signed on K47DW on analog channel 47, relaying the programming of Delta Media's flagship station, Fox affiliate KADN-TV in Lafayette, for the Alexandria market.

Shortly after signing on, K47DW began airing commercials and legal identification separately from KADN, renaming its brand as "Fox 47".

After Delta Media purchased the WNTZ license, moved the transmitter and tower site, and signed it back on for the second time, the Fox affiliation officially moved to WNTZ's designated analog channel 48.

K47DW then became an affiliate of the Channel America network until 1995, when it began simulcasting WNTZ to serve portions of Alexandria where channel 48's signal is weak.

The call sign was changed to K47DW-D on July 5, 2012, following the transition to digital transmission.

Under White Knight/ComCorp ownership[edit]

Delta Media sold its television properties in Alexandria and Lafayette.

In 1997, WNTZ sold to Sheldon Galloway's White Knight Broadcasting, an offspring company of Communications Corporation of America (CCA or ComCorp for short), owned by Sheldon's father, Thomas Galloway.

Thomas created CCA when he signed on Fox affiliate WGMB in Baton Rouge from the purchase and move of the original transmitter for WNTZ. White Knight was born by Sheldon in 1996 after the purchase of NBC affiliate WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge. CCA eventually purchased KADN in Lafayette from Delta Media outright in 2004, after a long-term LMA.

WNTZ, WGMB, WVLA and KADN make up the "core four" of which both CCA and White Knight companies were built upon. Under White Knight, WNTZ saw many of its biggest changes, most notably in the early to mid-2000s.

When a Fox affiliate became unavailable in Jackson after WDBD-TV changed affiliations to The WB in 2001, WNTZ served as the market's de facto Fox affiliate, along with Foxnet for Jackson-area cable subscribers. This ended when WUFX-TV (now WLOO-TV) signed on the air in 2003. Ironically, both WDBD and WUFX were owned by Jackson Television, managed through a LMA by CCA/White Knight.

WNTZ, as a Fox affiliate, struggled for a number of years to catch hold to viewers in the Alexandria market, mostly due to longtime Alexandria television stations KALB-TV and KLAX-TV. That changed in 2003, with the popularity of Fox first-run programming, sports programming and aggressive marketing tactics (see Cenla Idol).

In May 2006, WNTZ ranked #1 in adult viewers 18-49 during common prime time programming (7:00-9:00 p.m. Central Time) for the first time in the station's history, beating longtime rival KALB. The feat was repeated a second time in February 2007, and has remained as a strong second place hold in the Alexandria market since.

This improvement is in despite of many challenges as a station using a network of broadcast towers. This was coupled with the long-standing thoughts of WNTZ from its competitors and some Alexandria viewers being a "non-local" station, due to its license in Natchez and being corporate-owned. In actuality, from 1991-2015, WNTZ was owned by Louisiana-based companies (White Knight/CCA and previously Delta Media), where both KALB (since 1993) and KLAX (since 1988) were and are still owned by companies not based in Louisiana. WNTZ used the "Louisiana Home Grown" slogan in 2004 as a demonstration of this fact. WNTZ officially lost this designation in 2015 with the sale of the station to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group.

WNTZ experiences second bankruptcy[edit]

Even though the television ratings improved for WNTZ, the station faced financial difficulty.

In June 2006, White Knight Broadcasting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a press release from the company, viewers and staff would "see no changes at the station". White Knight emerged from bankruptcy in October 2007. During the bankruptcy proceedings, White Knight requested to merge many of the stations it owned, including WNTZ, into the fold of its parent company, Communications Corporation of America.[6]

The license change was granted by the FCC, and WNTZ was officially changed over to ComCorp of Alexandria License Corporation, named after the station's market designation.

Sale to Nexstar Broadcasting Group[edit]

On April 24, 2013, ComCorp announced the sale of its entire group (including WNTZ) to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group.[7] The sale was completed on January 1, 2015.[8]

WNTZ logo history[edit]

As an independent station[edit]

As Fox affiliate[edit]

Prior to 2008, WNTZ's station logos were created by station employees. Then, ComCorp began standardizing logos across all stations it owned at the time. This continued to be standard practice when the station was purchased by Nexstar in 2015, with WNTZ updating to its current standardized logo in 2016.

Secondary affiliation with MyNetworkTV[edit]

On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN networks announced they would merge into a new singular network, The CW. In turn, Fox owner News Corporation announced the creation of MyNetworkTV for those stations left out in the cold due to The CW merger.

WNTZ became MyNetworkTV's home under a secondary affiliation agreement, officially launched on September 4, 2006. The network began to air on a timed tape-delay basis from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, immediately after Fox prime time programming airs. In the early years of the network, when nightly English language telenovela programs aired, the Saturday recap episodes were preempted to air on WNTZ Sunday nights after Fox prime time. Occasionally, due to time overruns of Fox programs, MyNetworkTV will run later than its scheduled time on WNTZ, but does run in its entirety.

On September 9, 2013, due to the return of The Arsenio Hall Show to late night television on WNTZ, MyNetworkTV was moved to air from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. This changed again in September 2014 due to the well-publicized Arsenio cancellation. MyNetworkTV programs now and currently air from 10:00 p.m. until midnight Monday through Friday.

KBCA, which held The WB affiliation a mere six months prior to the announced CW merger, was announced as the Alexandria affiliate of The CW, which commenced operations on September 18, 2006. Former UPN station KWCE-LP (channel 36 at the time), became an affiliate of Retro Television Network (now a Me-TV affiliate), and moved to channel 27 on the television dial.

Attempts to broadcast news[edit]

WNTZ aired news updates during its first incarnation in the mid 1980s; when it returned to the air in 1991, the station did not broadcast newscasts.

In August 2007, WNTZ made a debut of Fox News Louisiana AM in Alexandria to counter KALB and KLAX's national morning shows. Produced out of sister station WGMB in Baton Rouge, the newscast featured "local" news segments and eight weather updates an hour. Even though Fox News Louisiana AM was more "localized", content direct from the Alexandria area rarely aired. On December 2, 2008, WGMB cancelled the newscast due to cost-saving measures.

Transition to digital television[edit]

At 9:03 p.m. on February 17, 2009, WNTZ signed off analog 48 and began broadcasting exclusively on digital 49. Immediately after American Idol ended, WNTZ ran the "Star-Spangled Banner" (the footage was dated from 1940, so the flag in the clip had only 48 stars, ironically coinciding with the channel number) and the analog signal shut off. Digital antenna and cable viewers went immediately into scheduled MyNetworkTV programming.[9]

The station's digital signal continued to broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 49. Digital television receivers, including the low-power translator stations K47DW-D and K51FO-D, display WNTZ-TV's virtual channel as 48 through the use of PSIP.

The low-power translators surrounding Alexandria will remain operational for the foreseeable future, even though two of the four have been shut off due to the remaining two translators being converted to low-power digital broadcast.

See also[edit]

  • Cenla Idol—annual singing contest conducted by WNTZ-TV

References[edit]

External links[edit]