Digital: 29 (UHF)|
Virtual: 53 (PSIP)
53.3 The CW
|Translators||WOLF-DT 56.3 (45.5 UHF) Hazleton|
New Age Media, LLC|
(sale to Standard Media Group pending)
(New Age Media of Pennsylvania License, LLC)
|Operator||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|First air date||December 30, 1988|
|Call letters' meaning||
|Sister station(s)||WOLF-TV, WSWB|
|Former channel number(s)||53 (UHF analog, 1988–2009)|
|Transmitter power||50 kW|
|Height||243 m (797 ft)|
|Public license information:||
WQMY, virtual channel 53 (UHF digital channel 29), is a television station licensed to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States, serving as the MyNetworkTV affiliate for the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre television market. The station is owned by New Age Media, LLC, as part of a duopoly with Hazleton-licensed Fox affiliate and company flagship WOLF-TV (channel 56); New Age Media also operates Scranton-licensed CW affiliate WSWB (channel 38) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with owner MPS Media. All three stations are, in turn, operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group under a master service agreement. The stations share studios on PA 315 in the Fox Hill section of Plains Township; WQMY's transmitter is located on Bald Eagle Mountain.
Although WQMY transmits a digital signal of its own, it does not reach the two major cities in the market. Therefore, the station is simulcast on WOLF-TV's third digital subchannel. This signal broadcasts on UHF channel 45.5 (or virtual channel 56.3 through PSIP) from a transmitter on Penobscot Knob near Mountain Top.
On December 30, 1988, the station signed-on an analog signal on UHF channel 53. It was the second full-time satellite of Fox affiliate WOLF-TV (then on analog UHF channel 38) owned by Scranton TV Partners. Using the call letters WDZA, in which they changed to WILF in 1990, this station was established to improve coverage of its parent station in the northern and western parts of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market. On November 1, 1998, then-owner Pegasus Television changed channel 38's call letters to the current WSWB and made it the area's second WB affiliate after low-powered WYLN-LP in Hazleton dropped the network. Fox programming remained on channel 38's former satellite, WWLF in Hazleton, which picked up the WOLF-TV calls. WILF remained as a repeater of WSWB. WSWB/WILF also picked up UPN as a secondary affiliation. Select programming from the network aired on Saturday nights (since The WB did not offer programs then) without the branding. At 8, the channel would air America's Next Top Model and at 9 would be WWE Friday Night SmackDown. Whenever Top Model was in repeats, it would air Veronica Mars instead. All UPN programming in pattern was available on cable via WWOR-TV from New York City, WPSG from Philadelphia, and WLYH-TV from Harrisburg.
Pegasus declared bankruptcy in June 2004 over a dispute with DirecTV, which was 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 for $55.5 million. Eventually, CP Media formed a new broadcasting company, New Age Media. For the first time in its history, WSWB was no longer co-owned with WOLF-TV. However, the new owner entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) so the stations could continue to be commonly operated.
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom in December 2005) and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment (the division that operated The WB, alongside the Tribune Company) announced that they would dissolve UPN]] and The WB, and move some of their programs to a newly created network operated as a joint venture between the companies, The CW Television Network. On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This service, which would be sister to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming Independent. It was also created to compete against The CW.
On May 1, 2006, it was made public WILF would become a separate station and become the area's charter MyNetworkTV affiliate. Also at that point, it became known that WSWB would affiliate with The CW. This was due to both UPN and The WB being offered on the main station. Since WILF's signal completely missed Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, it was also announced that it would be added to a new third digital subchannel of WOLF-TV. WILF changed its call sign to the current WQMY on July 7 to reflect the upcoming affiliation change.
MyNetworkTV launched September 5 and this station introduced its first logo. As a WSWB full-time satellite, it did not have one. WSWB began airing The CW on September 18. Starting on May 8, 2010, it began re-broadcasting live Philadelphia Union MLS telecasts from ABC affiliate WPVI-TV.
On September 25, 2013, New Age Media announced that it would sell most of its stations, including WQMY and WOLF-TV, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. On October 31, 2014, New Age Media requested the dismissal of its application to sell WQMY; the next day, Sinclair purchased the non-license assets of the stations it planned to buy from New Age Media and began operating them through a master service agreement.
On May 8, 2017, Sinclair entered into an agreement to acquire Chicago-based Tribune Media—which, through a shared services agreement with owner Dreamcatcher Broadcasting, operates ABC affiliate WNEP-TV (channel 16)—for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune, pending regulatory approval by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. However, the complicated SSA relationships that Sinclair has in the Scranton/Wilkes–Barre market with WOLF, WSWB and WQMY result in an ownership entanglement, as WNEP and WOLF rank among the market's four highest-rated stations, and the market has too few independently owned full-power stations to permit a second legal duopoly in any event (WOLF and WSWB are currently the only legal television duopoly in the market). As such, significant restructuring may be required that could result in the companies selling one or more of the four stations to another broadcasting group in order to alleviate potential antitrust issues preceding approval of the acquisition if acquiring WNEP directly and folding it into the existing sharing agreements is not permitted (Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley cited Scranton/Wilkes–Barre as one of three markets, out of fourteen where ownership conflicts exist between the two groups, where the proposed acquisition would likely result in divestitures); however, sales of any of the stations to an independent buyer is dependent on later decisions by the FCC regarding local ownership of broadcast television stations and future acts by Congress. On April 24, 2018, Sinclair announced that the non-license assets of WQMY, WOLF-TV, and WSWB would acquired by Standard Media Group, a company controlled by Standard General, as part of a nine-station, $441.1 million deal. Sinclair concurrently exercised its option to buy WQMY and WOLF-TV to allow Standard Media Group to buy the stations outright; for regulatory purposes, WQMY will continue to be licensed as a satellite of WOLF-TV.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|53.1||480i||4:3||WQMY-DT||Main WQMY programming / MyNetworkTV|
|53.2||720p||16:9||WOLF-DT||Simulcast of WOLF-TV / Fox|
|53.3||480i||4:3||WSWB-DT||Simulcast of WSWB|
WQMY multiplexes its signal in order to broadcast WOLF in HD and WSWB to the Lycoming County area. In mid-2010, WQMY started routing direct HD signals to various cable companies in northeast Pennsylvania.
WQMY shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 53, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 29. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 53, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
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