|Flint/Saginaw/Bay City, Michigan|
General: Fox 66|
Newscasts: Fox 66 News
Digital: 16 (UHF)|
Virtual: 66 (PSIP)
Sinclair Broadcast Group|
(WSMH Licensee, LLC)
|Founded||September 27, 1984|
|First air date||January 13, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||We Show More Hits|
|Sister station(s)||WEYI-TV, WBSF|
|Former channel number(s)||
66 (UHF, 1984–2009)
|Transmitter power||245 kW|
|Height||365.5 m (1,199 ft)|
|Public license information:||
WSMH, branded Fox 66, is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Flint, Michigan, United States and serving the Flint/Tri-Cities television market. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 (or virtual channel 66 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Amman Road (near Gary Road) near St. Charles, Michigan. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates Saginaw-licensed NBC affiliate WEYI-TV (channel 25, owned by Howard Stirk Holdings) and Bay City-licensed CW affiliate WBSF (channel 46, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting) through separate shared services agreements. However, Sinclair effectively owns WBSF as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. WSMH has studios on West Pierson Road in Mount Morris Township (though with a Flint mailing address), which also hosts master control and some internal operations for WEYI and WBSF. WSMH is typically carried on channel 8 on most cable systems.
Flint Broadcasting Limited Partnership requested a station with the call letter WSMH, which were assigned on September 27, 1984. WSMH first went on the air on January 13, 1985 as an independent station with Frederick (Fritz) Mills as general manager. Mills was formerly director of national sales, UPI Media in Chicago. A fire at the transmitter in April 1985 forced the station to go off the air for about one month until repairs could be made. Flint Broadcasting sold the station to Gerald J. Robinson by July 1986. On October 9, 1986, it became a charter Fox affiliate. Sinclair Broadcast Group bought the station in 1996. From 1990 to 1997, WSMH was the Mid-Michigan affiliate of the now defunct syndication package The Disney Afternoon.
On October 28, 2002, the station launched its first newscast, News at Ten, the first using a centralization model for all Sinclair stations.
On September 30, 2006, WSMH began broadcasting The Tube on its secondary subchannel. Channel 66 dropped its local news staff in 2006, opting instead to contract with WNEM to replace its 10 p.m. newscast.
The retransmission agreement between the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Comcast was set to expire on February 5, 2007. An extension was granted twice so the sides could negotiate. During the talks, Comcast stated that it would not pay cash for retransmission rights but was willing to give free commercial time to WSMH in exchange for carriage. On March 9, Sinclair and Comcast signed a new deal to extend retransmission rights for four years to expire on March 1, 2011.
Per a new five-year affiliation agreement reached between owner Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Fox Broadcasting Company on May 15, 2012, WSMH will remain a Fox affiliate until at least December 31, 2017.
In late August 2012, TheCoolTV was dropped from all 32 Sinclair stations that carried the channel, including WSMH, with no replacement due to non-renewal of affiliation. Sinclair signed an agreement on June 2014 which adds GetTV to 33 TV markets with WSMH adding that channel on channel 66.2 effective July 2.
Effective April 27, 2015, WEYI took over duties of producing the news for sister station WSMH. The station, being operated by Sinclair, may carry sports since August 30, 2015 from Sinclair Networks' American Sports Network. Zuus was replaced on .3 by sci-fi network Comet on October 31, 2015. In December 2015, the station replaced GetTV with Antenna TV.
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On October 28, 2002, WSMH started up a news department and began airing local broadcasts every night at 10. Known as Fox 66 News at 10, it was assisted by Sinclair's centralized news department under the News Central brand. Local news originated from WSMH's studios while national news, weather, and sports aired from News Central headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland. The station was the first Sinclair-owned property to use the News Central service and marked the first time it had ventured into the local news market. In January 2006, Sinclair announced plans to end its News Central operation due to low ratings and expense.
On April 10, Sinclair announced that CBS affiliate WNEM-TV would begin producing a nightly 10 o'clock show on WSMH known as TV 5 News at 10 on Fox 66. This began airing on April 24 from WNEM's studios on North Franklin Street in Downtown Saginaw. After the final News Central broadcast on April 21, many local WSMH news employees were laid off. It had been expected that some personalities would join the WNEM-produced newscast in the future according to a press release. This was the case for former WSMH reporter David Custer who joined the WNEM news team on May 3.
The final News Central broadcast featured, in its last few minutes, clips from past shows. At the end, the studio was darkened and Kiertzner and his boss left for the last time. Even after WSMH shut down its news operation, Mark E. Hyman's controversial "The Point" editorials continued to air following the end of the WNEM-produced newscasts. Hyman ended his commentaries on November 30. On May 1, 2009, the 10 o'clock news title was re-branded and the broadcast received updated graphics. Every night at 10:45, a fifteen-minute sports highlight show called Sports Extra airs. There is also a segment called "Fugitive Files" airing every week on Mondays which is a common segment offered by local news departments operated by Sinclair. Although WNEM upgraded its newscasts to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen on October 14, 2010, the newscasts on WSMH remain in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition because this channel lacks a modern master control facility at its separate studios to receive the newscast in widescreen.
Effective April 27, 2015, WEYI took over duties of producing the 10 p.m. newscast for sister Sinclair station WSMH, FOX66 News at 10. Prior to April 27, WNEM-TV produced WSMH's evening newscast as part of a local agreement with WSMH. Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, a Sinclair Broadcast Group produced half-hour investigative news program, airs on the channel on Sunday morning starting October 4, 2015.
- Channel 16 digital TV stations in the United States
- Channel 66 virtual TV stations in the United States
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