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|Rochester, New York|
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)|
Virtual: 31 (PSIP)
|Branding||Fox Rochester (general)|
13 WHAM News on Fox Rochester (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Breaking News &|
|Affiliations||31.1: Fox (1986–present)|
31.2: Antenna TV
31.3: Comet (O&O)
31.4: TBD (O&O)
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group |
(WUHF Licensee, LLC)
cable: YES Network
First air date
|January 27, 1980|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
31 (UHF, 1980–2009)
Call sign meaning
|Ultra High Frequency|
|HAAT||161 m (528 ft)|
Public license information
WUHF, virtual channel 31 (UHF digital channel 28), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Rochester, New York, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates ABC affiliate WHAM-TV (channel 13) under a shared services agreement (SSA) with owner Deerfield Media. The two outlets share studios on West Henrietta Road (NY 15) in Henrietta (with a Rochester mailing address); WUHF's transmitter is located on Pinnacle Hill on the border between Rochester and Brighton. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 7 in both standard and high definition.
WUHF began operations on January 27, 1980 as a general entertainment independent station running cartoons, sitcoms (classic and recent), movies, drama series, and religious programs. The station was owned by Malrite and the General Manager was Jerry Carr who was the former The Weather Outside personality. Apparently, by sheer coincidence, the station re-used a call sign which was previously used by a different and unrelated station which operated on the same channel 31, albeit in New York City. The latter station had only used the WUHF calls for its first year of experimental operation (1961–62); it is now Ion Television owned-and-operated station WPXN-TV.
In 1983, former underground cartoonist Brian Bram produced and hosted All Night Live, a program aired live from midnight to 7 in the morning on Fridays and Saturdays. Bram's show was a showcase for regional bands including Personal Effects, Cousin Al and the Relatives, and The Degrads. On October 9, 1986, WUHF became a charter affiliate of Fox for Rochester and was known on-air as "Fox 31". Most of the religious shows were gone by then. However, WUHF was initially still programmed as an independent station since Fox would only air one program, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers until April 1987, and even then, would not present an entire week's worth of programming until 1993. In 1989, Act III Broadcasting bought the station from Malrite Communications Group. In a group deal, Abry would become the owner in 1994.
By 1996, it was controlled by Sinclair and was eventually sold to that company. In the 1990s, classic sitcoms, movies, and drama shows made way for talk, reality, and court shows. The station ended weekday airings of cartoons at the end of 2001 when Fox canceled its weekday kids block nationwide. In 1999, the station became known on-air as "Fox Rochester" although it adopted a "Fox 31" logo from 1999 to 2005. Its digital signal signed on-the-air in 2004 under a special temporary authority from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In 2006, WUHF added The Tube digital music video channel on a new second digital subchannel. This continued until the service went out of business in 2007.
In August 2005, the Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into a shared services agreement with Nexstar Broadcasting Group, owner of CBS affiliate WROC-TV (channel 8). Sinclair agreed to be the subordinate entity allowing Nexstar to control programming for WUHF. The station then moved from its studios on East Avenue (NY 96) in Rochester to WROC-TV's facilities.
On May 15, 2012, Sinclair and Fox agreed to a five-year extension to the network's affiliation agreement with Sinclair's 19 Fox stations, including WUHF, allowing them to continue carrying the network's programming through 2017.
On December 3, 2012, Sinclair announced it would acquire the non-FCC assets of ABC affiliate WHAM-TV from Newport Television (with the license and other FCC assets being transferred to Deerfield Media). On December 31, 2013, WUHF terminated its eight-year SSA with WROC-TV, and the station was re-located into the Henrietta studios of WHAM-TV. On January 1, 2014, WUHF introduced two WHAM-TV-produced newscasts, Good Day Rochester, and a new 10 p.m. newscast. Both were previously seen on WHAM-DT2 (a CW-affiliated subchannel).
In 1994, several cable systems in Canada started carrying WUHF via the Cancom communications satellite in out-of-market areas where Fox was not otherwise available. However, it had been carried on cable in Belleville, Ontario and other communities on the north shore of Lake Ontario since the 1980s. It was formerly carried by Eastlink (in SD only) and on Bell Aliant FibreOP TV (in both SD and HD) for viewers in Atlantic Canada until late 2012 (January 30, 2013 in Eastlink's case), when it was replaced with WFXT in Boston, a former Fox O&O (now owned by Cox Media Group). The station is also carried in the Thousand Islands region of the North Country in the town of Hammond (via Citizens Cable TV) as well as in the provinces of Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador. WUHF has been carried on satellite systems since 1996 and it is currently the only Rochester-based television station seen in Canada on the Shaw Direct satellite provider
CF Cable in the western suburbs of Montreal used to carry the station in 1995 but replaced it with sister station WUTV from Buffalo the following year. That station was carried on Vidéotron for cable systems outside the West Island. It was also the first Fox station carried on Montreal cable. However, the northern suburbs of that city (particularly Saint-Jérôme) still carry the station, even though in Mont-Tremblant, WFFF-TV along with other Burlington, Vermont–Plattsburgh, New York stations are seen there instead. Sinclair was re-negotiating for carriage of WUHF on the local Time Warner Cable system in Rochester. The previous agreement expired on December 31, 2010. An updated retransmission agreement was reached in February 2011. Had this not happened, WUHF could have pulled its signal from Time Warner Cable.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|31.1||720p||16:9||WUHF-DT||Main WUHF programming / Fox|
WUHF discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 31, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (like most Sinclair stations and was replaced by a "nightlight" loop that ran until March 3). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 31.
On November 30, 1997, WUHF established its own news department and aired a nightly prime time newscast (known as Fox News First; later renamed as The Ten O'Clock News) along with a Sunday night sports highlight show. In 2003, the operation was converted to Sinclair's controversial News Central format which consisted of national and international news as well as weather and sports segments produced at Sinclair's headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland. The local news operation at WUHF was significantly downsized as a result. It also aired The Point, a one-minute conservative political commentary, that was also controversial and a requirement of all Sinclair-owned stations with newscasts until the series was discontinued in December 2006.
After becoming operated by Nexstar, the News Central format was abandoned and broadcasts on WUHF ceased. Two anchors, a producer, and a photographer were added to WROC-TV's news staff. The remainder of its personnel was laid off in this move. On September 1, 2005, a nightly half hour prime time show (known as Fox First at 10) produced by WROC-TV began airing on this station. It aired from a secondary set from that station's facilities. Eventually, this expanded to 45 minutes followed by a fifteen-minute sports highlight program known as Sports Extra.
On September 4, 2012, WROC-TV became the second Rochester area station to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The 10 p.m. newscast on WUHF was included in the upgrade. On December 30, 2013, WROC-TV produced its final newscast on WUHF. WHAM-TV took over WUHF's newscasts on January 1, 2014; as a result, the 10 p.m. newscast became 13 WHAM News at 10 on Fox Rochester, and the station began airing a morning newscast from 7–9 a.m., Good Day Rochester; both newscasts were effectively relocated from WHAM-DT2. On September, 2014, 13 WHAM News This Morning (4:30-7:00) has since been renamed Good Day Rochester and WUHF now simulcasts the last half hour (6:30 a.m.) of the program.
Notable current on-air staff
- Mike Catalana – sports director; weeknights
Notable former on-air staff
- Lafayette, Jon (August 29, 2019). "Disney Sells YES Network To Group Including Sinclair". Broadcasting & Cable. Future plc. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
- Sinclair Reups With Fox, Gets WUTB Option, TVNewsCheck, May 15, 2012.
- "WROC out, 13WHAM in on Fox". Democratic & Chronicle. Gannett Company. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WUHF
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WROC out, 13WHAM in on Fox. Democrat & Chronicle, 7 October 2013, Retrieved 8 October 2013