My TV Wausau (DT2)
WZAW Fox (DT3)
|Slogan||Your Local News and
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF/PSIP)|
|Translators||42 (UHF) W42DH-D Sayner/Vilas County, WI|
|Founded||October 23, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||phonetically short for WauSAu, Wisconsin;
also similar to original calls
|Sister station(s)||WZAW-LD, WEAU, WMTV, WBAY-TV, WLUC-TV|
|Former callsigns||WSAU-TV (1954–1981)|
|Former channel number(s)||7 (VHF analog, 1954–2009)
40 (UHF digital, –2009)
57 W57AR Sayner/
Vilas County, WI
|Former affiliations||DuMont (1954–1956)
Heroes & Icons (DT3)
|Transmitter power||72 kW|
WSAW-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for North-Central Wisconsin's Northern Highland. Licensed to Wausau, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 7 from a transmitter on Rib Mountain. Owned by Gray Television, the station is sister to low-powered Fox affiliate WZAW-LD and the two outlets share studios on Grand Avenue/U.S. 51 in Wausau.
To serve the Northwoods area of Northern Wisconsin, it operates a digital fill-in translator in Sayner (W42DH-D) that also covers Eagle River. This also airs a high definition signal but is seen on UHF channel 42 (or virtual channel 7.1 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's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming |
|7.1||1080i||16:9||WSAW-DT||Main WSAW-TV programming / CBS|
|7.2||480i||4:3||MeTV+||WSAW-DT2 / MyNetworkTV & MeTV|
|7.3||720p||16:9||Fox||Simulcast of WZAW-LD|
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.
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."  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 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. On April 2, 2011, WSAW became the first station in the market to broadcast local newscast in high definition. With the switch to HD came a revamp of their news set and new graphics.
On July 1, 2015, Gray bought the non-license assets of the market's Fox affiliate WFXS-DT (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.
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. 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. Eventually, WZAW-LD's signal was added in full high-definition to WSAW's third subchannel to provide full-market access to Fox.
- TV Query Results - Video Division (FCC) USA
- RabbitEars TV Query for WSAW
- From Wikimapia: Site of the Plumer Mansion in Wausau, WI
- From wsaw.com: The History of NewsChannel 7 (on 2/16/2009, the eve of its analog sign-off)
- Video on WisconsinBroadcasting.com
- From wsaw.com: NewsChannel7 Newscasts Now in HD (on 4/4/2011)
- From wsaw.com: "Sir 7" is Coming Back to Newschannel 7
- "Gray in 4 New Deals, Closes 3 Earlier Ones". TVNewsCheck. 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Raff, Robert (June 9, 2015). "Interference Consent" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
- Caldwell, Sean (October 1, 2015). "WSAW, WZAW debut new, state-of-the-art Wausau studios". WSAW-TV. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- From Transdiffusion: A look at WSAW from the early-1980s and how it compares to British television
- The history of channel 7