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Wausau/Rhinelander, Wisconsin
United States
CityWausau, Wisconsin
BrandingNewsChannel 7
My TV Wausau (DT2)
Fox WZAW (DT3)
SloganYour Local News and Weather Authority
ChannelsDigital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
TranslatorsW21DS-D 21 (UHF) Sayner/Vilas County, WI
Affiliations7.1: CBS
7.2: MyNetworkTV/MeTV
7.3: Fox
7.4: Start TV
OwnerGray Television
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air dateOctober 23, 1954 (65 years ago) (1954-10-23)
Call letters' meaningphonetically short for WauSAu, Wisconsin;
also similar to original calls
Sister station(s)WZAW-LD, WEAU, WMTV, WBAY-TV, WLUC-TV
Former callsignsWSAU-TV (1954–1981)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
7 (VHF, 1954–2009)
40 (UHF, until 2009)
57 & 42 W57AR/W42DH Sayner/Vilas County, WI
Former affiliationsDuMont (1954–1956)
NBC (1954–1965)
ABC (1954–1966)
all secondary
AccuWX (DT3)
Heroes & Icons (DT3)
Transmitter power72 kW
Height373 m (1,224 ft)
Facility ID6867
Transmitter coordinates44°55′14.2″N 89°41′28.7″W / 44.920611°N 89.691306°W / 44.920611; -89.691306
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WSAW-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Wausau, Wisconsin, United States and serving north-central Wisconsin, including Rhinelander. Owned by Gray Television, it is a sister station to low-powered Fox affiliate WZAW-LD, channel 33 (which WSAW-TV simulcasts in high definition on its third digital subchannel). The two stations share studios on Grand Avenue/US 51 in Wausau; WSAW-TV's transmitter is located on Rib Mountain.[1]

To serve the Northwoods area of Northern Wisconsin, it operates a digital fill-in translator in Sayner (W21DS-D) that also covers Eagle River. This station broadcasts on UHF channel 21 (also mapping to virtual channel 7 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Razorback Road in unincorporated Vilas County (north of Sayner). The low-powered repeater also serves the western portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula although the broadcasting radius is limited to Marenisco and Watersmeet.


The station launched on October 23, 1954 as WSAU-TV and was a sister station to WSAU-AM 550 and the original WSAU-FM 95.5 (now WIFC). It was originally owned by a consortium of North-Central Wisconsin newspapers that also included the Wausau Daily Tribune-Herald. Channel 7 originally operated from the Plumer Mansion, a Richardsonian Romanesque-style building, that was located on North 5th Street in Wausau and torn down in 1972 one year after the station moved to its current home.[2]

The Plumer Mansion's castle-like exterior and a suit of armor displayed in the mansion inspired the station's graphic designer, Sid Kyler, to design a medieval-style "7" logo along with an accompanying cartoon mascot, the fully armored knight "Sir Seven."[3] The logo and mascot served as representations of the station for several decades. Sometime in the 1960s, the station's original owners sold it to Forward Communications. Forward sold off channel 7 in 1981 and the station adopted its current calls, WSAW-TV on March 8. It has been affiliated with CBS since its beginning although the station did have secondary affiliations with DuMont (until that network expired in 1956), ABC (until WAOW signed-on in 1965), and NBC (until WAEO [now WJFW-TV] launched in 1966). On September 5, 2006, WSAW added MyNetworkTV to a second digital subchannel. Its broadcasts have been digital-only since before midnight on February 16, 2009 when the analog sign-off featured a "good night" from Sir Seven.[4] On April 2, 2011, WSAW became the first station in the market to broadcast local newscast in high definition.[5] With the switch to HD came a revamp of their news set and new graphics, along with a return of Sir Seven as the station's mascot in a newly CGI-rendered form.[6]

On July 1, 2015, Gray bought the non-license assets of the market's Fox affiliate WFXS-DT (channel 55, owned by Davis Television, LLC). Due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership restrictions, a new low-powered station (WZAW-LD channel 33) was established to become the area's Fox affiliate. All of WFXS' program streams including WFXS's existing PSIP channel numbering were then moved to the low-powered outlet. Subsequently, WFXS ceased broadcasting after nearly sixteen years on-the-air and its studios on North 3rd Street in Wausau were shut down.[7]

In consenting to the interference that would be caused by WZAW operating under special temporary authority on channel 31 (the same RF channel as WFXS) rather than its licensed channel 33, Davis Television stated that it would return the WFXS license to the FCC for cancellation following the sale.[8] In August 2015, WSAW launched a prime time newscast on the Fox outlet known as WZAW News at 9. This half-hour broadcast offers direct competition to WAOW's thirty-minute, weeknight-only news airing at the same time on its CW digital subchannel (which aired on WFXS before July 1, 2015).

On October 1, 2015, the station began using its new studio. It was the first upgrade in a decade and took months to finish. The new studio includes two new state-of-the art sets: one each for WSAW and WZAW.[9] Eventually, the WZAW-LD simulcast on WSAW's third subchannel was upgraded to high definition to provide full-market access to Fox programming in HD.

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[10][11][12]
7.1 1080i 16:9 WSAW-DT Main WSAW-TV programming / CBS
7.2 480i MeTV+ WSAW-DT2 / MyNetworkTV & MeTV
7.3 720p Fox Simulcast of WZAW-LD / Fox
7.4 480i Start TV


  1. ^ TV Query Results - Video Division (FCC) USA
  2. ^ From Wikimapia: Site of the Plumer Mansion in Wausau, WI
  3. ^ From The History of NewsChannel 7 (on 2/16/2009, the eve of its analog sign-off)
  4. ^ Video on
  5. ^ From NewsChannel7 Newscasts Now in HD (on 4/4/2011)
  6. ^ From "Sir 7" is Coming Back to Newschannel 7
  7. ^ "Gray in 4 New Deals, Closes 3 Earlier Ones". TVNewsCheck. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  8. ^ Raff, Robert (June 9, 2015). "Interference Consent" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  9. ^ Caldwell, Sean (October 1, 2015). "WSAW, WZAW debut new, state-of-the-art Wausau studios". WSAW-TV. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WSAW
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]