|South Bend, Indiana
|Branding||WSBT 22 (general)
WSBT 22 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||First, Fast, Accurate|
|Channels||Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 22 (PSIP)
22.3 First Alert Weather
|Affiliations||CBS (Secondary through 1954)|
(sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group pending)
|First air date||December 21, 1952|
|Call letters' meaning||South
|Sister station(s)||WSBT (AM), WNSN|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
34 (UHF, 1952–1957)
22 (UHF, 1957–2009)
30 (UHF, –2009)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:
|Transmitter power||266 kW|
WSBT-TV, UHF digital channel 22, is a CBS-affiliated television station serving South Bend, Indiana, United States. It is the flagship television station of owner Schurz Communications, and is sister station to the South Bend Tribune, WSBT-AM and WNSN-FM. 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 Fox 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.
WSBT-TV is one of the very few stations to have had the same call letters, owner and primary network affiliation throughout its history as well as the only commercial television station in South Bend to remain owned by a locally based company. 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 – a situation that remains in effect since all four of the media properties that were grandfathered remain owned by the Schurz family to this day. 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 which 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. As Gray already owns WNDU-TV (channel 16) in South Bend, the company will keep WNDU and sell WSBT-TV to expedite approval of the deal; on October 1, Gray announced that the station would be swapped to Sinclair Broadcast Group for WLUC-TV in Marquette, Michigan. The sale will separate channel 22 from both the South Bend Tribune, which Schurz will keep, and WSBT radio and WNSN, which will remain with Gray.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|22.1||1080i||16:9||WSBT-HD||Main WSBT-TV programming / CBS|
|22.2||480i||4:3||WSBT-SD||"SBT2" (additional syndicated programming) / Independent|
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".
WSBT-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 22, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 30 to former analog 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 34½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five 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 sister radio stations WSBT and WNSN as well as Douglas Road Radio-owned WHFB-FM (99.9) and WZOC (94.3 FM); it also partners with the South Bend Tribune, with news stories seen in the Tribune and to provide weather forecasts.
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.
Notable former on-air staff
- Sage Steele - reporter (1995–1997; now at ESPN)
- Kate Sullivan - reporter (now anchor at 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.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WSBT
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WSBT is gonna be… “First at 4:00″ in Michiana. The Changing Newscasts Blog, August 13, 2014.
- "Steele Sage bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Official website
- SBT2 website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WSBT
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WSBT-TV