|South Bend, Indiana
|Branding||WSBT 22 (general)
Fox Michiana (on DT2)
WSBT 22 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||First, Fast, Accurate|
|Channels||Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 22 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||CBS (Secondary through 1954)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WLUC Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||December 21, 1952|
|Call letters' meaning||South
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
34 (UHF, 1952–1957)
22 (UHF, 1957–2009)
30 (UHF, until 2009)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:
|Transmitter power||266 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WSBT-TV, UHF digital channel 22, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to South Bend, Indiana and serving Northern Indiana and the southern portion of Western Michigan, which are collectively referred to as "Michiana". Owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station's studios are located on East Douglas Avenue in Mishawaka, and its transmitter is located in South Bend.
The station first signed on the air on December 21, 1952, and was founded by the Schurz family, the owners of the South Bend Tribune and WSBT radio, from studios on Lafayette and Jefferson streets in downtown South Bend. WSBT-TV was originally affiliated with all four major networks of the time: it was a primary CBS affiliate with secondary affiliations with NBC, ABC and DuMont; it lost the latter three networks when WSJV (channel 28, now a Heroes & Icons affiliate) signed on in March 1954. It was the first UHF station in the United States to produce a live telecast, a five-minute local news bulletin. Although WSBT is the oldest continuously operating UHF station in the country, it switched channels once during the analog era. Originally broadcasting on UHF channel 34, the station moved to the stronger channel 22 around 1958.
WSBT was the first station on UHF to telecast a high school basketball tournament, which came from John Adams High School. In 1953, WSBT-TV had several sports-related firsts. In the fall of that year, WSBT became the first television station in the country to present a closed-circuit telecast of a college football practice. This allowed Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy to direct the practice, as he was hospitalized at the time. WSBT-TV was also the first station in Indiana to broadcast in color, starting in 1954 in new studios designed by architect William Pereira.
When the Federal Communications Commission tightened its cross-ownership regulations in the 1970s to bar common ownership of television stations and newspapers in the same market, the combination of the Tribune and the WSBT radio and television stations were among the few such combinations that were grandfathered under those rules. WSBT has the distinction of being the longest-tenured CBS affiliate in the state of Indiana.
The station unveiled its new all-digital facility in Mishawaka on November 16, 2008, beginning with the station's 10 p.m. newscast (which airs on its second digital subchannel). The new facility was built from the ground up for digital broadcasting, and channel 22 became the first Michiana station to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition. The radio stations began broadcasting from the new facility a few weeks earlier. The former WSBT studio building is now home to the area's PBS member station WNIT (channel 34).
On August 4, 2008, WSBT announced plans to purchase Weigel Broadcasting's three stations in the market, ABC affiliate WBND-LP (channel 57), CW affiliate WCWW-LP (channel 25) and MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYS-LP (channel 69). Since the three stations are all low-powered outlets, they are not counted under FCC ownership rules which permit common ownership of a full-power television station and one or more low-power stations. Alongside WSBT-DT's existing three channels, the purchase would have given Schurz Communications a total of six channels in the market across four stations, including two "Big Four" network affiliates. However, in the absence of action by the FCC, the deal was called off in August 2009.
Schurz announced on September 14, 2015 that it would exit broadcasting and sell its television and radio stations to Gray Television for $442.5 million. Gray already owned WNDU-TV (channel 16) in South Bend. Despite WSBT-TV's higher ratings, Gray kept WNDU and sold WSBT-TV to expedite approval of the deal; on October 1, 2015 Gray announced that the station would be swapped to Sinclair Broadcast Group for WLUC-TV in Marquette, Michigan. The sale separated channel 22 from both the South Bend Tribune, which Schurz would keep, and the WSBT Radio Group, which was sold to Mid-West Family Broadcasting. The FCC approved the sale on February 12, 2016. The sale was completed on February 16, 2016. Sinclair's purchase of WSBT also marked a re-entry into Indiana as the company had owned WTTV/WTTK in Indianapolis from 1996 before that station was sold to Tribune Broadcasting in 2002. As a result of the sale, fellow CBS affiliate WWMT to the north in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which serves the Grand Rapids market, became a sister station to WSBT.
On July 25, 2016, Sinclair announced that WSBT-DT2 would affiliate with Fox beginning on August 1, 2016. Quincy Media had reached an agreement to transfer the affiliation from WSJV in exchange for the ABC and CW affiliations in Peoria, Illinois from Sinclair-owned WHOI. A few of WSJV's employees were transferred to WSBT. For a sixty-day period, WSBT-DT2 was simulcast on WSJV-DT1 to allow viewers to transition to the new signal, along with pay television providers. SBT2's broadcasts of South Bend Cubs baseball games also ended for the season; Sinclair intends to begin a new broadcasting relationship with the team for the 2017 season.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|22.1||1080i||16:9||WSBTCBS||Main WSBT-TV programming / CBS|
In 2003, WSBT launched a UPN-affiliated digital subchannel (branded as UPN Michiana) on digital channel 22.2. WSBT-DT2 became an independent station in September 2006, when UPN shut down and its programming was merged with that of The WB to form The CW. At that point, UPN Michiana was rebranded as SBT2. On August 1, 2016, SBT2 became Fox Michiana. The weather radar channel was discontinued at that time.
WSBT-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 22, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 30 to channel 22 for post-transition operations.
Not surprisingly given its roots in a newspaper, WSBT-TV has long devoted significant resources to its news department. It has led the ratings in Michiana for as long as records have been kept.
WSBT-TV presently broadcasts 49½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with eight and a half hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays). The station maintains a news and weather content agreement with their former sister radio stations WSBT and WNSN, as well as Douglas Road Radio-owned WQLQ and WZOC; it also continues to partner with former sister publication the South Bend Tribune, with news stories seen in the Tribune and the station providing the paper's observations for their weather page
On September 5, 2006, the station began producing a half-hour weeknight 10 p.m. newscast on its second digital subchannel (currently branded as WSBT 22 News at 10 on SBT2), after WSBT-DT2 lost its UPN affiliation. On November 16, 2008, WSBT became the first television station in the South Bend market to being broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
On September 8, 2014, WSBT added the area's first-ever 4:00 p.m. newscast with the half-hour newscast called WSBT 22 News, First at 4:00.
As of 2017, WSBT produces newscasts for Sinclair sister stations WNWO-TV in Toledo, Ohio, and WOLF-TV in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Both feature a centralized studio and footage from local reporters.
Notable former on-air staff
- Sage Steele - reporter (1995–1997; now at ESPN)
- Kate Sullivan - reporter (recently left WBBM-TV in Chicago)
- Malone, Michael; John Eggerton (August 24, 2009). "WSBT South Bend Deal Fizzles Absent FCC Action". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
- "Schurz Communications to sell WSBT and other TV, radio stations". South Bend Tribune. September 14, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Kuperberg, Jonathan (September 14, 2015). "Gray Acquiring TV, Radio Stations from Schurz for $442.5 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Gray Television Sells Some, Buys Some". TVNewsCheck. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- Allen, Kevin (November 2, 2015). "WSBT Radio Group will have a new owner, again". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
- FCC Approves Gray-Schurz TV Station Deal. Broadcasting & Cable, 12 February, 2016, Retrieved 13 February, 2016.
- Gray Closes Schurz Acquisition, Related Transactions, And Incremental Term Loan Facility Press Release, Gray Television, Retrieved 16 February, 2016.
- Eck, Kevin (26 July 2016). "Sinclair and Quincy Make Affiliation Deal, WSJV Employees Wonder What’s Next". TVSpy. Adweek Blog Network. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "WSBT to take over Fox affiliate on Aug. 1". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "SBT-2 to become FOX affiliate Monday, Aug. 1". WSBT.com. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
- Hernandez, Sharon (27 July 2016). "WSBT taking over Elkhart's Fox affiliate Monday, programs moving to new channel". Elkhart Truth. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WSBT
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "TV station in Toledo outsources most work". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- Baird, Kirk (8 March 2017). "Anchors away: WNWO, Channel 24, airs newscasts from Indiana". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "Steele Sage bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013.