|Greensburg - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
|Slogan||God is here|
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 40 (PSIP)
40.2 Bible Discovery TV
|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|
|Height||264 m (866 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WPCB-TV, channel 40, is a television station licensed to Greensburg, Pennsylvania, United States and serving Pittsburgh television market. WPCB-TV is the flagship station of the Christian television network Cornerstone Television, which originates most of its programs from the station. WPCB-TV's studios and transmitter are co-located in Wall, Pennsylvania.
On cable television, WPCB is carried on channels 5 (standard definition) and 805 (high definition).
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, a forerunner of Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1975, who would launch that station as secular independent WPTT-TV in 1978. 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.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|40.2||480i||4:3||PFFC||Bible Discovery TV|
WPCB-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 40, 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 continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 50. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 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