|Slogan||God Is Here|
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 40 (PSIP)
|Owner||Cornerstone Television, Inc.|
|First air date||April 15, 1979|
|Call letters' meaning||Western
(original name of company)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
40 (UHF, 1979–2009)
|Transmitter power||362 kW|
WPCB-TV, UHF channel 50, is a television station that is licensed to Greensburg, Pennsylvania, United States serving Pittsburgh as the flagship station of the Christian broadcast network Cornerstone Television, which originates most of its programs from the station. The station's studios and transmitter are located in Wall. WPCB-TV programming is also seen on satellite station WKBS-TV (UHF digital channel 46) in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
In the 1960s, Rev. Russ Bixler was visiting the Virginia Beach area and came across independent station WYAH-TV, which was running an all-Christian format. Russ came to visit the Christian Broadcasting Network studios, meeting Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker. Concluding that Pittsburgh needed a similar station, Russ applied for the channel 22 license in the 1970s, but lost to Commercial Radio Institute subsidiary of Chesapeake Television Corporation in 1975 (CRI would launch that station as secular independent WPTT-TV three years later). Bixler then applied for a license on channel 40, and was granted a construction permit for that channel in 1976.
After several hurdles, Bixler was able to get the needed equipment and was able to sell a few hours a day of programming time to Christian organizations. WPCB-TV finally began operations on April 15, 1979. The station was initially on the air for 15 hours a day, and within a year expanded to a 24-hour schedule. Programming consisted of several runs a day of the two-hour edition of the PTL Club, the 90-minute edition of The 700 Club, several other shows produced by CBN for the CBN Cable channel, a few children's educational and religious shows, televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart, Rex Humbard, Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell, and some local church programs. The station also produced a local variety talk and music show, Getting Together. WPCB-TV's programming remains entirely Christian-oriented to this day. From before their sign on, when a person phones the station, the receptionists answer "Jesus Loves You TV 40".
Over the decades, owing to holding a license to operate a commercial television station, WPCB-TV has received countless offers from commercial broadcasters wanting to convert the station into a conventional independent station, but has flatly refused them each time. However, in 1998, Cornerstone attempted to buy the license for non-commercial station WQEX (channel 16), which would have required a sale of the channel 40 license. Paxson Communications made an offer to buy channel 40; if the deal went through, it would have been relaunched as a Pax TV owned-and-operated station under the call letters WKPX-TV. However, at that time the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not deem WPCB-TV's religious programming as educational, and Cornerstone's application was withdrawn in 2000; channel 40 was then taken off the market. A couple of years later, the FCC reversed its position (WQEX was converted into a commercial license in 2002; in 2011, it was sold to Paxson's successor, Ion Media Networks, and now carries programming from Pax TV's successor Ion Television as WINP-TV).
Russ Bixler died in 2000, and Ron Hembree, who hosted a program on WPCB-TV, took over as the station's president. Hembree died in June 2010.
This station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|40.1||480i||4:3||WPCB-DT||Main WPCB programming / Cornerstone Television|
WPCB-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 50, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 47 to channel 50 .
After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which took place on June 12, 2009, WPCB-TV remained on its pre-transition channel number 50. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers displays WPCB-TV's virtual channel as 40.
- Owen, Rob (July 15, 1999). "Pax TV wants to be on the air in Pittsburgh, not up in the air". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WPCB
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print