|Syracuse, New York
|Channels||Analog: 14 (UHF)
Digital: WSTM-DT2 24.2 (UHF)
Virtual: 3.2 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||The CW (2006–present)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WSTQ Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||June 19, 2000|
|Call letters' meaning||disambiguation of WSTM-TV|
|Sister station(s)||WSTM-TV, WTVH|
|Former callsigns||WAWA-LP (2000–2003)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (2000–2001)
|Transmitter power||9.8 kW (analog)
210 kW (WSTM-DT2)
|Height||34 m (analog)
393 m (WSTM-DT2)
|Facility ID||10320 (analog)
|Transmitter coordinates|| (analog)
|Public license information:||Profile
WSTQ-LP is the low-powered, CW-affiliated television station for Central Upstate New York. Licensed to Syracuse, it broadcasts an analog signal on UHF channel 14 from a transmitter in the city's Lakefront section. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station is sister to NBC affiliate WSTM-TV and CBS affiliate WTVH. The latter, however, is actually owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation but operated by Sinclair through joint sales and shared services agreements. All three outlets share studios together on James Street/NY 290 in the Near Northeast section of Syracuse.
Due to its low-powered status, this signal is only attainable in the immediate Syracuse area (northern and eastern boundary is roughly NY 481/Interstate 481; southwestern reach is NY 173). Therefore, in order to expand the station's broadcasting radius, it is simulcasted in 720p high definition on WSTM-TV's second digital subchannel. WSTQ-LP is branded as CW 6 in reference to its universal channel position on area cable systems (not over-the-air channel 6 which is held in the market by WVOA-LP).
The station signed-on June 19, 2000 as WAWA-LP and was owned by Venture Technologies Group, LLC. It was technically an Independent outlet although very few syndicated programming was shown since the majority of the lineup consisted of home shopping and other paid shows. On October 20, 2001 ten months after WNYS-TV dropped its UPN affiliation, WAWA-LP picked it up. For two years, it fought to get carriage on Time Warner Cable. Due to the lack of programming on the station, the cable company refused to carry it. It can be argued Time Warner's control of UPN's rival network at the time, The WB, played some role as well. By federal law, it was not obligated to carry WAWA-LP due to its status as a low-powered station which has no "must-carry" protection.
Time Warner Cable had already added WSBK-TV from Boston to its line-up on channel 6 in July 2001. This was done even though there was a cost of nearly $1 million a year in out-of-market licensing fees. At one point, WAWA-LP even offered to pay Time Warner Cable to carry the station. Low-powered outlets buying channel space on cable is commonplace due to the lack of "must-carry" protection. WAWA-LP took the case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and asked them to adopt a rule that would require the provider to black out WSBK's prime time UPN line up whether it carried WAWA-LP or not. In the end, the FCC ruled against the station.
In 2003, Raycom Media (then the owner of WSTM-TV) purchased WAWA-LP from Venture Technologies for an undisclosed amount of money. The station had its call letters changed to the current WSTQ-LP (a disambiguation from WSTM-TV) and was given the on-air branding "UPN 6, The Q". Raycom used "6" to reflect its pending cable channel slot on Time Warner which was obtained July 1, 2003 following WSTQ-LP's acquisition by the company. Ironically, the same "must-carry" laws that kept WAWA-LP off Time Warner eventually got the station on the system. The law gives full-powered stations the option of "retransmission consent" or requesting compensation from cable systems to carry them.
In this case, full-powered WSTM-TV can require cable systems like Time Warner to offer low-powered WSTQ-LP on the system as part of the compensation for carrying the full-power station. As a result of the ownership change, this station was consolidated into WSTM-TV's facility. Until 2005, WSTQ-LP carried the Bill Keeler Show (a daily and later weekly local comedy series that was based in Utica and aired on Fox affiliate WFXV). When the show did not register in the ratings and was losing money, Keeler yanked the show from the Syracuse market in 2005. Keeler also cited FCC requirements that would require his show to be captioned in Syracuse which was an additional infrastructural expense.
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom in December 2005) and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment (the division that operated The WB) announced that they would dissolve UPN and The WB, and move some of their programs to a newly created network operated as a joint venture between the companies, The CW Television Network. As a result of that announcement, WSTQ-LP revealed in March that it would become Syracuse's affiliate with the new network. The station became a CW affiliate on September 18 and changed its branding to "CW 6". On March 27, 2006, Raycom Media announced the sale of WSTQ-LP and WSTM-TV to Barrington Broadcasting. Also in 2006, Ion Television affiliate WSPX-TV filed an application with the FCC to broadcast its digital signal on channel 14 where WSTQ-LP's analog signal is located. This was eventually abandoned in favor of channel 15 on December 3, 2008. WSTQ-LP was largely unaffected by the consolidation of WSTM-TV with rival WTVH on March 2, 2009. On February 28, 2013, Barrington Broadcasting announced the sale of its entire group, including WSTQ-LP, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The sale was completed on November 25. The station has an application to "flash-cut" its analog signal to digital on UHF channel 14. Using the WSTQ-LD call sign (referring to low-powered digital), it will drastically increase the station's coverage area and will originate a signal from WSTM-TV's tower in Onondaga.
After Raycom acquired WSTQ-LP, WSTM-TV began producing a half-hour prime time newscast called Action News at 10 on UPN 6 which competed with Fox 68 Eyewitness News at 10 seen on WSYT. That program, produced by WTVH, was seen every night for thirty minutes unlike WSTQ-LP's show which was only aired on weeknights. Action News at 10 would eventually be expanded to a seven night operation on January 8, 2005. In April 2006, WTVH ceased producing all local news programming for WSYT in order to focus on its own newscasts that were cemented in third place by this point. Ironically, the 10 o'clock broadcasts on WSYT were WTVH's most successful having soundly beat WSTM-TV's effort on WSTQ-LP in the ratings.
Since dropping news programming from the CBS outlet, WSYT remains one of a handful of big four network-affiliated stations throughout the United States that do not produce or air local newscasts. When WSTQ-LP became a CW affiliate, its newscast title changed to Action News at 10 on CW 6. On August 30, 2010, the show's format was expanded to an hour on weeknights featuring more coverage and additional segments. Soon after, on September 7, rival ABC affiliate WSYR-TV added a prime time newscast to its second digital subchannel. Unlike traditional 10 o'clock broadcasts, however, this only airs live for fifteen minutes and is then repeated four times in the hour.
In mid-December 2010, WSTM-TV became the first station in the market to upgrade local newscasts to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although the broadcast on WSTQ-LP was technically included, it was initially only seen in the updated resolution on Time Warner Cable digital channel 866. This is because WSTM-DT2 (serving as WSTQ-LP's digital signal) only transmitted in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition at the time. The situation changed in January 2013 when the subchannel was upgraded to high definition transmission thus allowing the WSTQ-LP broadcast to be seen terrestrially in HD. However, the WSTQ-LP newscast is still seen in downscaled 4:3 on the station's analog feed. Corresponding with the upgrade, the program received an updated graphic and music package while being renamed The CW 6 News at 10.
- Channel 6 branded TV stations in the United States
- Channel 14 low-power TV stations in the United States
- Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.