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CityJersey City, New Jersey
Affiliations54.1: TBN
54.2: Smile
54.3: Enlace
54.4: Positiv
First air date
April 6, 1981 (41 years ago) (1981-04-06)
(in Poughkeepsie, New York; license moved to Jersey City in 2017[2])
Former call signs
WFTI-TV (1981–1983)
Former channel number(s)
54 (UHF, 1981–2008)
27 (UHF, 2003–2017)
23 (UHF, 2017–2019)
Independent (1981–1983)
Call sign meaning
Trinity Broadcasting New York
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID67993
ERP15 kW
HAAT300.3 m (985.2 ft)
Transmitter coordinates40°44′54″N 73°59′9″W / 40.74833°N 73.98583°W / 40.74833; -73.98583Coordinates: 40°44′54″N 73°59′9″W / 40.74833°N 73.98583°W / 40.74833; -73.98583
Public license information
WebsiteWTBY's public file on TBN's website

WTBY-TV (channel 54) is a religious television station licensed to Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, serving the New York City area as an owned-and-operated station of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). It is a sister station to Edison, New Jersey–licensed Class A TBN Inspire outlet WDVB-CD (channel 23). Both stations share studios on East 15th Street in the Union Square neighborhood in Manhattan and transmitter facilities at the Empire State Building.


WTBY signed on April 6, 1981 as WFTI-TV, originally licensed to the city of Poughkeepsie, New York, in the Hudson Valley region. The station was initially owned by Family Television, Inc., founded by Keith Houser in 1979, and headquartered in the Poughkeepsie Plaza Mall on US 9 in Poughkeepsie. WFTI's early programming included reruns of The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid, and the station originated coverage of Army Cadets sports (except the Army–Navy college football game); Family TV also produced Valley Magazine, a nightly 30-minute program with interviews of local celebrities, such as James Cagney.

After Irving Trust, the station's sole banking source, experienced financial problems and prematurely called the station's loan in 1982 (Irving Trust was ultimately shut down by the Federal Reserve), Family Television sold the station to the Trinity Broadcasting Network in June 1982,[3] though the sale would not be completed until over a year later, in July 1983. TBN then changed the station's call letters on October 4, 1983 to the present WTBY-TV and moved the station's operations to studios in the village of Fishkill. Not long after taking control of the station, TBN co-founders Paul and Jan Crouch helped sign WTBY on the air under TBN ownership with a special edition of the network's flagship program Praise the Lord, broadcast from the new Fishkill studios.

While Poughkeepsie is part of the New York City television market, WTBY's over-the-air signal could only be seen clearly in the northern fringes of the area. Most of the core of the New York area, including the Five Boroughs, got only a rimshot signal even in digital, and it completely missed most of Long Island. For most of its first quarter-century as a TBN-owned station, the bulk of its viewership was in the AlbanySchenectadyTroy market. Until 2010, WTBY operated two translators in that market—W52DF channel 52 to reach Albany and the Capital District, and W47CM on channel 47 to reach Glens Falls and the Adirondacks. Both stations ceased broadcasting due to declining support, which has been attributed to the digital transition, with W52DF shutting down on March 13[4] and W47CM shutting down one month later.[5] W52DF's license, along with 43 other silent TBN repeaters, was canceled on December 1, 2011 for remaining silent over a year.[6]

Until 2007, WTBY was not carried on the two main cable systems in New York City itself (Optimum TV [formerly Cablevision] and Spectrum [formerly Time Warner Cable]), and its cable penetration is still spotty at best on the New Jersey and Connecticut sides of the market. It is not available on DirecTV or Dish Network's New York City local feeds; only the national version is available, as is the case with all TBN-owned stations.

Despite its modest cable penetration in the area, TBN has poured significant resources into WTBY in recent years. In 2007, when TBN opened a new studio in the former Century Center for the Performing Arts near Union Square in Manhattan, WTBY's studio/office operations were moved to that location.

WTBY-TV elected to keep RF channel 27 permanently for digital operation during the first round of digital channel elections in February 2005. The station discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 54, on October 1, 2008.[7] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 27, using PSIP to display WTBY-TV's virtual channel as 54 on digital television receivers, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

The shutdown initially caused the station to be dropped from Service Electric's systems in New Jersey due to difficulty in receiving the signal at the cable headend. Service Electric replaced it with the national TBN service.

Trinity Broadcasting entered WTBY-TV's broadcast frequency into the FCC's spectrum auction, the results of which were released in April 2017. TBN received $162,402,181 for WTBY-TV's spectrum[8] and as a result, the station relinquished its RF channel 27 frequency and moved to channel 23, where it entered into a channel-sharing arrangement with Class A station WDVB-CD, licensed to Edison, New Jersey.[9] WDVB-CD's transmitter is located atop the Empire State Building, and moving WTBY's transmitter there gave it a clear over-the-air signal to New York City for the first time ever. TBN additionally requested to have WTBY's community of license moved from Poughkeepsie to Jersey City, New Jersey, as WDVB's transmitter location at the Empire State Building would leave WTBY unable to service Poughkeepsie with a viewable over-the-air signal. The FCC approved the license move from Poughkeepsie to Jersey City on September 21, 2017. In late January 2018, TBN began the process of purchasing WDVB-CD from their owners, allowing full control of the entire channel space.[10]

Local programming[edit]

Locally produced programs included versions of Praise the Lord and Joy in Our Town, a public affairs program. WTBY also carried programs produced by local pastors, notably A.R. Bernard of Christian Cultural Center, and Floyd H. Flake of the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York. As of 2017, this programming was canceled.


The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of WTBY-TV on the WDVB-CD multiplex[11]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming
54.1 720p 16:9 TBN Main WTBY-TV programming / TBN
54.2 480i 4:3 SMILE Smile
54.3 Enlace Enlace
54.4 POSITIV Positiv


  1. ^ "Channel and facilities sharing agreement". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "Community of license change". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  3. ^ "Changing hands–Approved" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 21, 1982. p. 73.
  4. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. April 16, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
  5. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. May 14, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  6. ^ "Re: Applications for Assignment of License…" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
  7. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  8. ^ "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Auction–Auction 1001–Winning Bids" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. April 4, 2017. p. 4.
  9. ^ "Modification of a licensed facility for DTV application". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Trinity Buying New York And Chicago LPTVs". TVNewsCheck. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  11. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WTBY Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]