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|Jamestown/Buffalo, New York
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF/PSIP)|
26.3 TCT Family
|Translators||WBNF-CD 15 Buffalo
WNIB-LD 42 Rochester
|Owner||Tri-State Christian Television, Inc.
(Faith Broadcasting Network, Inc.)
|First air date||1966|
|Call letters' meaning||New York Buffalo (carried over calls from Channel 49)|
|Former callsigns||WNYP-TV (1966–1969)
|Former channel number(s)||26 (UHF analog, 1966–1969, 1988–1991, 1997–2009)
27 (UHF digital, –2009)
|Former affiliations||CTV (1966–1969)
Independent (1969, 1988-1991)
Dark (1969–1988, 1991–1997)
|Transmitter power||234 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WNYB, UHF digital channel 26, is a Christian-oriented religious television station serving Buffalo, New York, United States that is licensed to Jamestown. The station is owned by Tri-State Christian Television. WNYB's studios are located at 5775 Big Tree Road in Orchard Park, and its transmitter is located at 9030 Center Road in Arkwright. The station's signal is rebroadcast on WBNF-CD (channel 15) in Buffalo and WNIB-LD (channel 42) in Rochester.
WNYB is carried on Time Warner Cable channel 23 in Buffalo, or channel 12 in the suburbs (not to be confused with CW affiliate WNLO, which broadcasts on virtual channel 23 over-the-air and is carried on cable channel 11).
The Channel 26 license has been in existence since the 1960s, when it was utilized by WNYP-TV from 1966 to 1969. The station's majority shareholder was Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson, who at the time owned Jamestown's WXYJ radio and later co-founded the Home Shopping Network. It was the first American television station to affiliate with a Canadian network, signing an affiliation deal with CTV. Since the station could not afford a direct feed, station engineers switched to and from the signal of CTV flagship CFTO-TV in Toronto whenever network programming was airing.
WNYP was Paxson's first venture into television. It quickly became notorious and almost legendary among Western New York's broadcast community of the day for gaffes and programming mishaps. Strange things took place that some at the time thought was due to incompetence, or even employee sabotage. For instance, the station showed the same episode of The Aquanauts several times, every day at the same time, over a two-week period. Also, the equipment used to pick up the off-air signal from CFTO would relay the video from another station broadcasting on VHF channel 9 instead--such as WNYS-TV in Syracuse or WWTV in Cadillac, Michigan--due to tropospheric propagation overwhelming CFTO's signal. Often, when CFTO programming actually was being rebroadcast, the station switcher failed to drop CFTO's identification to display the WNYP-TV call letters, which was considered a violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. Inexplicably, the audio line from a Jamestown radio station could sometimes be heard in the background when CTV programming was airing. Paxson also earned significant animus for airing programming from CHCH-TV and CBC Television's CBLT without permission. It had been legal to broadcast foreign programming in the United States without permission as a result of laws passed during World War II. However, the programs' copyright owners believed Paxson was breaking the law by broadcasting their shows, and took legal action against him.
Since CTV, then as now, relies largely on American programming, Buffalo's "Big 3" U.S. network affiliates (WBEN-TV, now WIVB-TV; WGR-TV, now WGRZ-TV; and WKBW-TV) threatened legal action in early 1969. Faced with the loss of its primary source of programming, WNYP cut back its local newscasts, laid off staff, and briefly attempted to use a prototype of what would become the Home Shopping Network's on-air product sales strategy to stay afloat. It briefly started to identify as WJTV, but quickly reverted to WNYP-TV because a station in Jackson, Mississippi already had those call letters. The death knell for the station sounded with the announcement that WUTV would sign on from Buffalo in 1970. Buffalo was not big enough at the time to support two independent stations, so Paxson opted to take the station off the air. (Paxson later started the Pax TV network, now known as Ion Television, and owns WPXJ-TV in the market; coincidentally, Pax/Ion has also imported much of its programming from CTV over the course of its history).
After going dark, the station's equipment was sold to WENY-TV, who used much of it to aid in its launch. The channel 26 allocation was used for much of the 1970s and 1980s by a low-power experimental Appalachian Television Service "translator" relay station (W26AA) of WNED-TV from Buffalo, operated by the regional Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which was able to originate local programming from studios in Fredonia. Channel 26 is the last remaining survivor of WNED-TV's once massive translator network that had several repeaters scattered throughout the Southern Tier of Western New York; all of the remaining translators were shut down no later than 2012.
The license was re-issued to a new group years later, and channel 26 signed on again on September 24, 1988 under the new call letters WTJA-TV. Part of the station's programming lineup duplicated those on the Buffalo stations. Much of the programming consisted of public domain material, and the station was virtually ignored by local advertisers. Buffalo area cable providers refused to carry the station because its signal was barely acceptable even under the best condition. The "Grade B" signal coverage barely reached the southern Buffalo suburbs, and the station once again went dark in 1991, due to financial problems.
Grant Broadcasting purchased the license in 1995. Rather than immediately putting the station back on the air, Grant negotiated with Tri-State Christian Television, owner of WNYB (channel 49), for the channel 49 license, in exchange for the channel 26 facility, cash and a new broadcasting facility. With a more powerful new transmitter and a tall transmission tower in one of the highest hills of western New York State, channel 26 would change from having a very poor signal to one of the largest coverage areas in the Northeastern U.S., viewable from Erie, Pennsylvania to the southwest suburbs of Toronto.
Tri-State accepted, and on January 10, 1997, it took over the channel 26 license, moving its religious programming and the WNYB call letters to the new channel (Grant in turn took over channel 49, which became The WB affiliate WNYO-TV; it is now a MyNetworkTV affiliate).
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|26.1||480i||4:3||WNYB-SD||Main WNYB programming / TCT|
|26.4||WNYBSD3||Aramaic Broadcasting Network|
- "1968 Broadcasting Yearbook" (PDF). Broadcasting Publications, accessed via davidgleason.com/americanradiohistory.com. 1968. p. A-38. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Fybush, Scott (January 12, 2015). Salary Controversy Ousts Public TV Exec. NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved January 12, 2015. Fybush placed a free copy of this column on his Facebook account.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WNYB
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.