WZME

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WZME
Bridgeport, Connecticut/
New York, New York
United States
City Bridgeport, Connecticut
Channels Digital: 49 (UHF)
(shared with WEDW; to move to 21 (UHF))
Virtual: 43 (PSIP)
Affiliations
Owner NRJ TV LLC
(NRJ TV NY License Co., LLC)
Founded November 20, 1980
First air date September 28, 1987 (30 years ago) (1987-09-28)
Call letters' meaning Memorable Entertainment
(slogan of MeTV)
-or-
Me
(former network affiliation)
Former callsigns
  • WICC-TV (1953–1960)
  • WBCT-TV (1987–1988)
  • WHAI-TV (1988–1998)
  • WIPX (1998)
  • WBPT (1998–1999)
  • WSAH (1999–2012)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 43 (UHF, 1987–2008)
Former affiliations
Transmitter power 170 kW
1000 kW (CP)
Height 220 m (722 ft)
Facility ID 70493
Transmitter coordinates 41°16′44.3″N 73°11′6.4″W / 41.278972°N 73.185111°W / 41.278972; -73.185111Coordinates: 41°16′44.3″N 73°11′6.4″W / 41.278972°N 73.185111°W / 41.278972; -73.185111
41°3′10.2″N 73°33′47″W / 41.052833°N 73.56306°W / 41.052833; -73.56306 (CP)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS

WZME, virtual channel 43 (UHF digital channel 49), is a Sonlife Broadcasting Network-affiliated television station licensed to Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States and serving the New York City television market. The station is owned by NRJ TV LLC. WZME's studios are located on Wakeley Street in Seymour, Connecticut, and its transmitter is located on Great Hill Road in Seymour.

History[edit]

WICC-TV (1953–1960)[edit]

The UHF channel 43 allocation in Bridgeport was first assigned to WICC-TV (standing for "Industrial Center of Connecticut", referring to Bridgeport[1]), named after the local radio station. The station signed on in March 1953 as an affiliate of ABC and DuMont, a month after Connecticut's first UHF station, WKNB-TV (now WVIT) in New Britain, signed on. Considering that UHF was rather new at the time and required an expensive converter, the station was not seen by many. In addition, ABC and DuMont network programming was easily seen in much of WICC's viewing area via WABC-TV (channel 7) and WABD (channel 5, now WNYW), respectively, from New York City.

One attempt at locally generated programming on the station was Newsvision, created by station owner Ken Cooper, in which a station camera was pointed at a teletype machine, with music being played on the audio channel. The FCC disallowed this because they ruled the video and audio channels must work in sync, rather than be separate sources.[citation needed]

None of WICC's attempts to gain viewers succeeded; one of these included a stunt where Bob Crane (who would later become the star of the sitcom Hogan's Heroes) offered $100 to the first caller who reached the station. No one called, leading the station to announce in January 1960 that WICC was the "only station in the U.S. without any viewers".[2] That December, WICC-TV went off the air.[citation needed] Most of the station's programming inventory was destroyed by fire a few months later.[citation needed]

As a home shopping station (1987–2009)[edit]

A group of women, under the name of Bridgeways Communications Corporation,[3] received a construction permit for a new station on channel 43 on November 20, 1980,[4] and on September 28, 1987, the station signed on as WBCT-TV, airing home-shopping programming.[3] Initially, the station planned to become a locally focused independent station, with WBCT's management concerned that Bridgeport was being served only by New York City stations;[3] a year later, however, the station had changed its plans and planned to implement cultural programming aimed at the Jewish community in the New York City market as a whole.[5] Shortly afterward, the station changed its call letters to WHAI-TV, in reference to chai, the Hebrew word for living. However, the station was sold in 1994 to ValueVision,[6] which in turn sold WHAI to Paxson Communications in 1996.[7] By then, the station had also added infomercials to the schedule.

Original plans called for the station to become a charter station of the Pax TV network[8][9] (as WIPX[9][10]) when it launched in August 1998, but those plans were scrapped (mainly due to duopoly concerns resulting from Paxson's acquisition of WPXN-TV channel 31, as both stations' signals overlap[11] and are considered part of the New York City market; at that time the FCC did not allow common ownership of such stations) and the call letters were again changed, this time to WBPT.[12] After an attempt to sell the station to Cuchifritos Communications (which planned to make the station the flagship of a Spanish-language home-shopping service[11][13]) fell through,[14] the station was sold in 1999 to the Shop at Home Network[14] which switched the station to the network and changed its call letters to WSAH.[15]

Azteca América nearly bought the station late in 2000 to serve as its New York City affiliate.[16] The deal quickly collapsed,[17] with Azteca América citing concerns over WSAH's coverage of the market;[18] the network ultimately affiliated with WNYN-LP. The station continued to run Shop at Home, with a brief interruption in 2006 when the network temporarily closed.[citation needed]

On September 26, 2006, The E. W. Scripps Company (the then-owner of the former Shop at Home owned-and-operated stations) announced that it was selling WSAH along with four other stations (KCNS in San Francisco, California; WMFP in Boston, Massachusetts; WOAC (now WRLM) in Canton, Ohio; and WRAY-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina) to Multicultural Television for $170 million.[19] Multicultural assumed control of KCNS, WOAC and WRAY on December 20, 2006 and flipped their programming to an all-infomercial format; it did not take control of WSAH and WMFP immediately due the stations' pending license renewal. The licenses were renewed in early April 2007, and on April 24, 2007, Multicultural took control of these stations.[citation needed]

In May 2007, WSAH changed shopping networks, switching from Shop at Home to Gems TV, a shopping network that specializes in jewelry. In addition, infomercials once again became a part of the schedule.[citation needed] The Gems TV affiliation was discontinued in 2009.[citation needed]

Switch to entertainment programming (2009–2016)[edit]

WSAH's logo before joining MeTV.

On July 1, 2009, WSAH affiliated with the Retro Television Network (RTV), becoming one of only a few affiliates to carry RTV on its main channel.[20] Initially, RTV programming was seen from 6 p.m. to midnight, with infomercials continuing during the remainder of the broadcast day. In September 2009, WSAH cut RTV programming back to end at 11 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 p.m. on weekends. Shortly afterwards, the station announced that it would drop RTV completely at the end of the month.[21] The next month, WSAH added a subchannel, airing Chinese-language programming from sister station KCNS.[22] On June 6, 2011, the station rejoined RTV, running its programming from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

After Multicultural ran into financial problems and defaulted on its loans, WSAH was placed into a trust; the station was then placed for sale.[23] On October 6, 2011, it was announced that WSAH would be auctioned off in bankruptcy court by the end of 2011.[24] In the auction, held on November 15, the station was acquired by NRJ TV, LLC, which had earlier acquired KCNS and WMFP; the deal is subject to bankruptcy court approval, though the auction has been challenged by Arthur Liu, who owned Multicultural and is associated with failed bidder NYVV.[25] The FCC approved the sale on March 20, 2012, and it was consummated eight days later.[26]

In December 2011, MeTV announced on its website that it signed WSAH as its New York City affiliate. On January 4, 2012, WSAH switched from Retro Television Network to MeTV on its primary channel, carrying MeTV's programming from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekdays and 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekends. Infomercials ran in the hours that MeTV programming was not shown (making it the largest MeTV affiliate not to carry the network's complete schedule, particularly unusual given the size of the New York City market, and since most MeTV affiliates that preempt programming are in mid-sized and small markets and are alternately affiliated with major broadcast networks). RTV moved to WSAH's second subchannel, replacing the Chinese-language programming. On July 29, 2012, the station's call letters became WZME to reflect its affiliation with MeTV.

On January 24, 2014, MeTV announced that it would move its New York City affiliation from WZME to KVNV (which relaunched as WJLP channel 3) when that station completed its move from Ely, Nevada to Middletown Township, New Jersey in the fall of 2014.[27] At that time, WZME remained the New York-Connecticut MeTV affiliate. With the New York area overlap with WJLP, WZME made the decision to change its network affiliation. As of October 11, 2015, WZME became the affiliate in the New York-Connecticut area of Heroes and Icons, which is also broadcast on WWOR-DT4.

As a religious station (2017–present)[edit]

On January 1, 2017, WZME became an affiliate of SonLife Broadcasting Network, run by Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[28]
43.1 480i 16:9 WZME Sonlife Broadcasting Network
43.2 CNC World CNC World

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WZME (as WSAH) signed on its digital signal on channel 42 on December 16, 2006.[citation needed] The station discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 43, on July 4, 2008. The analog signal was taken off the air, following a lightning strike at the transmitter. Since the cost of repairing the transmitter was considered to be uneconomical, due to the pending analog shutdown, the station's owners sought permission from the FCC to keep the analog transmitter silent. This did not affect WSAH's digital signal or its availability on cable.[29][30] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 42, using PSIP to display WZME's virtual channel as 43 on digital television receivers.

Spectrum reallocation[edit]

The FCC made public on April 13, 2017, that WZME has agreed to surrender its broadcast license for the sum of $191,813,165.[31] The station will continue its broadcast operations and will move to Bridgeport-licensed public television station WEDW (owned by Connecticut Public Television) for its channel sharing arrangement. WZME previously aired The Works on DT2 and Comet on DT3.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mishkind, Barry (2005). "Call Letter Origins: The List". oldradio.com. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  2. ^ "WICC-TV: Not One Viewer" (PDF format). AmericanRadioHistory.com. January 18, 1960. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Cavanaugh, Jack (November 15, 1987). "Station Makes a Quiet Debut". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Application Search Details". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Group Plans TV Station for Jewish Audience". Associated Press (via The New York Times). September 6, 1988. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Application Search Details". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Application Search Details". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ Fybush, Scott (November 26, 1997). "WILD– Still Waiting". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (August 26, 1998). "Mergers and Spinoffs". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  10. ^ Fybush, Scott (January 15, 1998). "Ice Storm Damage Continues". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Dempsy, John (December 9, 1998). "Paxson Seeks To Sell Station". Variety. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  12. ^ Fybush, Scott (September 4, 1998). "One Shoe Drops in Maine..." North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  13. ^ Fybush, Scott (December 11, 1998). "Big Apple's Big Changes, and, We Visit the Midwest". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (March 5, 1999). "We Will Never Make Fun of Boston Weather Again..." North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  15. ^ Fybush, Scott (June 18, 1999). "CBL: The Final Countdown". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  16. ^ Fybush, Scott (October 2, 2000). "Spinning the Dial in Connecticut". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  17. ^ Fybush, Scott (December 11, 2000). "Adios, WHUB!". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  18. ^ Trigoboff, Dan (July 1, 2001). "Not So Fast, Pappas". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Scripps Sells Shop At Home TV Stations" (Press release). The E. W. Scripps Company. September 26, 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Retro TV Finds a Home in New York". Retrieved June 5, 2009. 
  21. ^ Fybush, Scott (September 21, 2009). "Remembering Fred Cusick". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  22. ^ Fybush, Scott (November 2, 2009). "Pulse Fades Out – Now It's a Party". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  23. ^ Jessell, Harry A. (December 28, 2010). "Multicultural Handing Over WSAH to Trustee". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  24. ^ "WSAH Bridgeport To Be Auctioned". Broadcasting & Cable.
  25. ^ Jessell, Harry J. (November 29, 2011). "NRJ Wins Bidding for WSAH New York, But..." TVNewsCheck. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  26. ^ [1] (PDF format). Federal Communications Commission.
  27. ^ Downey, Kevin (January 24, 2014). "Me-TV Picks Up Big-Market Primary Slots". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WZME
  29. ^ "WSAH Analog Off Air". radio-info.com.
  30. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  31. ^ http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0413/DA-17-314A2.pdf
  • "RadioDXer.com". WICC-TV, Channel 43, Bridgeport, CT. Retrieved October 18, 2005. 

External links[edit]