WPXT

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WPXT

WPXT Maine's CW logo.png


Wpxt dt2.png


WPME Logo 2015.png
Portland, Maine
United States
Branding Maine's CW (general)
MeTV Portland (on DT2)
WPME (on DT3)
Slogan Dare to Defy
Channels Digital: 43 (UHF)
(to move to 34 (UHF))
Virtual: 51 (PSIP)
Subchannels 51.1 The CW
51.2 MeTV
51.3 "WPME" (MyNetworkTV)
51.4 Escape
51.5 Laff
Owner Hearst Television
(Hearst Properties Inc.)
First air date September 14, 1986 (32 years ago) (1986-09-14)
Call letters' meaning We're Portland's EXciting Television
Sister station(s) WMTW
Former channel number(s) 51 (UHF analog, 1986–2008)
Former affiliations Independent (1986)
Fox (1986–2001)
The WB (2001–2006)
Transmitter power 137.4 kW
103 kW (CP)
Height 254 m (833 ft)
266.6 m (875 ft) (CP)
Class DT
Facility ID 53065
Transmitter coordinates 43°51′6″N 70°19′40″W / 43.85167°N 70.32778°W / 43.85167; -70.32778Coordinates: 43°51′6″N 70°19′40″W / 43.85167°N 70.32778°W / 43.85167; -70.32778
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wmtw.com/cw

WPXT is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Portland, Maine, United States, serving southern Maine and eastern and northern New Hampshire. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 43 (or virtual channel 51.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in South Gray along I-95/Maine Turnpike/Gold Star Memorial Highway. Owned by the Hearst Television subsidiary of Hearst Communications, it is part of a duopoly with Poland Spring-licensed ABC affiliate WMTW (channel 8); the two stations share studios on Ledgeview Drive in Westbrook.

History[edit]

The station signed-on September 14, 1986 as Maine's first independent station and the first new commercial station to launch in the Portland market in 32 years. After a few weeks as an independent, it became a charter affiliate with Fox on October 6. In 1996, the station's original owner, Bride Communications, entered bankruptcy and WPXT was sold to Pegasus Broadcasting.

In 2001, WPXT switched to The WB due to a monetary dispute between Pegasus and Fox; The WB had previously aired in off-hours on sister UPN affiliate WPME (channel 35). This left Portland with no over-the-air Fox affiliate until early 2003, when Pax station WMPX-TV took the affiliation, becoming WPFO. In the interim, programming from the network was provided exclusively on cable through Foxnet. Pegasus declared bankruptcy in June 2004 over a dispute with DirecTV (co-owned with Fox by News Corporation) over marketing of the direct broadcast satellite service in rural areas. The Pegasus station group was sold in August 2006 to private investment firm CP Media, LLC of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for $55.5 million. Eventually, CP Media formed a new broadcast company, New Age Media.

As a WB affiliate, WPXT was originally branded on-air as "Maine's WB 51", but in 2004, changed to "Maine's WB" to reflect its status as the only over-the-air WB affiliate in the state. Although Bangor and Presque Isle also had affiliates, they were only provided on cable through The WB 100+ (a similar operation to Foxnet).

WPXT's logo from 2007 to 2018

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that they would merge the broadcast operations of The WB and UPN to form The CW Television Network. On March 9, it was announced WPXT would become Portland's CW affiliate. Later on May 1, it was made public sister station WPME would affiliate with MyNetworkTV. With the new affiliation, WPXT's branding became "The CW Portland". In 2007, WPXT changed its on-air branding to reflect its call letters rather than a city.

WPXT ceased analog transmission August 12, 2008 (more than seven months prior to the original Federal Communications Commission (FCC) digital switchover deadline February 17, 2009) due to transmitter failure. On May 2, 2011, WPXT signed-on a new second digital subchannel to become the area's MeTV affiliate. On November 7, 2016, Escape was added to 51.3 subchannel slot.

New Age Media announced in March 2012 that it would sell WPXT to Tyche Broadcasting for $75,000.[1] The deal was contingent on WPME's concurrent sale from MPS Media to Triumph Broadcasting.[2] On November 9, 2012, WPXT filed a non-consummation notice to the FCC, meaning the transaction is nulled and void.[3] On February 13, 2013, New Age Media filed to sell WPXT to Ironwood Communications for $1,525,000; the deal was concurrent with a planned sale of WPME to Cottonwood Communications.[4] The FCC granted its approval of the sale on April 2.[5] The sale was consummated on May 20.[6]

On March 22, 2018, MyNetworkTV, Escape and Laff programming was moved to the third, fourth and fifth subchannels of WPXT; the three networks had been carried by WPME, which was concurrently sold to Ion Media Networks to become WIPL, an Ion Television owned-and-operated station.[7][8] Hearst Television announced its acquisition of WPXT on July 30, 2018; the $3,350,000 purchase created a duopoly with ABC affiliate WMTW (channel 8).[9] The sale was approved on September 12[10] and was completed on September 21, 2018;[11] concurrently, WPXT changed its branding to "Maine's CW".[12]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [13]
51.1 1080i 16:9 WPXT-DT Main WPXT programming / The CW
51.2 480i WPXT DT MeTV
51.3 720p WPXT-3 "WPME" programming / MyNetworkTV
51.4 480i 4:3 WPXT-4 Escape
51.5 WPXT-5 Laff

Programming[edit]

Syndicated programming on WPXT includes Divorce Court, The People's Court, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, and Mom, among others. Syndicated programming on "WPME" includes Extra, TMZ on TV, and Chicago P.D., among others.[14] Throughout its history, WPXT has also produced and aired several local programs.

News operation[edit]

For many years, WPXT operated a news department and produced its own local newscasts. For a time, the station's nightly prime time news at 10 was simulcasted on sister station WPME. WPXT even produced a weeknight broadcast at 7 on that station at one point but the show was eventually canceled due to poor ratings and inconsistent viewership. It made national headlines a week before the 2000 Presidential election when reporter Erin Fehlau (now at ABC affiliate WMUR-TV) revealed Republican candidate George W. Bush had been convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol 24 years earlier.

On June 15, 2002, after shuttering its own news operation, WPXT entered into a news share agreement with Maine's two NBC affiliates, WCSH and WLBZ (both owned by the Gannett Company). This arrangement resulted in a nightly half-hour prime time show at 10 to debut on the station known as NewsCenter at 10 on Maine's WB 51. On weeknights, the news and sports segments originated from WCSH's studios at Congress Square in Downtown Portland while weather forecast segments came from WLBZ's facility on Mount Hope Avenue in Bangor. Weekend broadcasts aired entirely from Portland. The WPXT newscast featured a similar format to newscasts that were simulcast on both WCSH and WLBZ (which largely serves as a semi-satellite of WCSH), with statewide news from both the Portland and Bangor markets. However, since WPXT is a Portland/Auburn market station, there was ultimately a focus on southern areas. With the affiliation switch to The CW in 2006, WPXT's news became known as NewsCenter at 10 on The CW Portland.

WPXT would not face any competition in the time slot until February 5, 2007, when current Fox affiliate WPFO entered into a similar arrangement with CBS affiliate WGME-TV. On November 6, 2008, WCSH moved the WPXT show to its second digital subchannel affiliated with NBC Weather Plus. As a result, WLBZ's production involvement in the newscast was dropped and refocused to Portland. After a six-year run, the production was eventually canceled altogether.

On October 31, 2011, WPXT and WCSH established another news share agreement and debuted an hour-long extension of the big three outlet's weekday morning show. Known on WPXT as NewsCenter Morning Report Xtra, this aired from 7 until 8 and competed with WGME's one-hour morning newscast on WPFO. This ceased in Spring 2014.[15][16] Following WPXT's sale to Hearst Television, the station announced that a WMTW-produced primetime newscast would premiere on September 24, 2018.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Down East TV headed for new owner". Television Business Report. March 7, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Seyler, Dave (March 12, 2012). "Second half of Portland ME TV JSA sold". Television Business Report. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  3. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/app_det.pl?Application_id=1523935
  4. ^ "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 13, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  5. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/Auth_Files/1540436.pdf
  6. ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101555975&formid=905&fac_num=53065
  7. ^ www.ourmaine.com
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WIPL
  9. ^ Miller, Mark K. "Hearst Buying WPXT Portland, Maine". TV News Check. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Notice" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "Maine Duopoly Deal Done For Hearst". Radio & Television Business Report. September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "WMTW-TV adds 10 p.m. newscast on Maine's CW". WMTW. September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  13. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=station_search&callsign=WPXT#station
  14. ^ TitanTV Query for WPXT
  15. ^ http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/475303-Original_Slate_Kickstarts_Tiny_Maine_Duopoly.php
  16. ^ Malone, Michael (October 21, 2011). "Gannett's WCSH Portland to Produce WPXT News". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 21, 2011.

External links[edit]