|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)|
This TV Marquette
|Affiliations||19.1: MeTV (2011–present)|
19.2: Start TV
19.3: Heroes & Icons
19.4: Ion Television
19.6: Court TV
|Owner||Lilly Broadcasting |
|Founded||October 5, 2001|
First air date
|February 2, 2003|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
19 (UHF, 2003–2009)
Fox (2003–August 2009)
Silent (August–October 2009)
This TV (October 2009–May 2011)
MyNetworkTV (2006–August 2009, January–May 2011)
MyNetworkTV (2009–January 2011, May 2011–2019)
Antenna TV (January–May 2011)
This TV (May 2011–2019)
Antenna TV (May 2011–2019)
Call sign meaning
255 kW (application)
|HAAT||176 m (577 ft)|
Public license information
WZMQ, virtual and UHF digital channel 19, is a MeTV-affiliated television station licensed to Marquette, Michigan, United States, serving the Central and Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The station is owned by Lilly Broadcasting. WZMQ's transmitter is located in Ishpeming, Michigan. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 14.
The station launched on February 2, 2003, as Fox affiliate WMQF. Prior to WMQF's launch, Fox programming was seen in the Upper Peninsula on a limited basis—either over-the-air (on WLUC-TV, which aired the network's programs from 1992 to 1995, or Green Bay's WLUK-TV) or Charter cable systems (which imported either WLUK or Cadillac's WFQX-TV). WMQF also had a secondary affiliation with UPN, broadcasting that network's programming during off-network hours. (UPN was previously affiliated with the Crystal Falls Class A station WUPT-CA, which folded after losing UPN to WMQF.) After UPN folded in 2006, WMQF adopted a second affiliation with MyNetworkTV, effectively using the station to program the later portions of prime time after Fox programming.
WMQF was originally owned and operated by Equity Media Holdings. WMQF had no physical presence in the Upper Peninsula under Equity's ownership other than the transmitter. The company central-cast 100% of WMQF's programming (as it did with its other stations) from its headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to network and syndicated programming, Equity would air two programs on WMQF produced for its Retro Television Network at the time, the conservative political talk shows Unreliable Sources and Closing Remarks. Throughout its history (and especially during its early days), picking up WMQF over-the-air was a challenge to viewers due to its relatively weak 500,000-watt analog signal. When WMQF was picked up, its signal and picture quality could still tend to be sub-par. As with other Equity central-casting operations (such as Lexington, Kentucky's WBLU-LP), viewer, advertiser and vendor questions and concerns about reception went unanswered without any local staff (the station's engineer serving a number of Equity stations came into Marquette only when required); the station's website did not help as it was a crude local Yahoo!-style business guide with little to no information about the station's programming, contact links, or operations outside of basic Fox programming synopses. As a result, most cable providers chose to obtain WMQF's signal directly off the satellite uplink to the transmitter (it was available free-to-air on the Galaxy 18 satellite system).
On December 8, 2008, Equity Media Holdings filed for bankruptcy, resulting in the auction off all its television stations the following April. WMQF would be sold to MMMRC, LLC, a company owned by the principals of De Pere, Wisconsin-based Smet Construction Services. The sale closed the week of June 23, 2009, when the station's call sign was changed from WMQF to WZMQ. By this time, however, WMQF programming was discontinued as Equity was not able to meet the mandatory digital transition earlier in June 2009 (see Digital Television below). As a result, Fox would move its affiliation from channel 19 to the WLUC-DT2 channel 6.2 in August 2009, which maintained its previous Universal Sports affiliation in overnights until it was able to establish a full schedule. During the interim, Fox programming was still available on Charter through its importing of WLUK-TV from Green Bay (which continued on Charter throughout WMQF's existence until WLUC asserted market exclusivity for the Fox affiliate in mid-2012).
Smet Construction Services constructed new facilities in De Pere, Wisconsin, from which WZMQ programming would originate. The construction was completed on or about October 15, 2009, after which Smet officially launched WZMQ, replacing the "Coming Soon" slides that had been broadcast since the summer with programming from This TV and MyNetworkTV on channels 19.1 and 19.2 respectively. The studio in De Pere was abandoned and all operations moved to Marquette. Antenna TV would be added to channel 19.2 on January 1, 2011, with MyNetworkTV moving to channel 19.1, replacing This TV's weeknight movie broadcast.
In May 2011, WZMQ picked up the MeTV subchannel, placing it at 19.1; its other subchannels each were renumbered accordingly, with This TV and MyNetworkTV moving to channel 19.2 and Antenna TV moving to 19.3. Over time, as the revenue of MeTV increased and MyNetworkTV declined, WZMQ decreased the branding of 19.2 as "My 19", choosing to stick with "MeTV Marquette" for the majority of the day and promoting the MyNetworkTV schedule less often. By 2017, it now carries the service mostly unbranded, secondarily to the subchannel's primary This TV affiliation.
On October 10, 2017, MMMRC agreed to sell WZMQ to a company controlled by Brian and Kevin Lilly, the owners of Lilly Broadcasting, for $103,475. The new owners began operating the station through a local marketing agreement the following day.
Lilly soon instituted several programming changes on the station, including local weather forecast segments provided by the meteorology staff at Lilly's WICU-TV/WSEE-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania, which already provides weather forecasts to their stations in the Caribbean region. The This TV affiliation also ended in 2019, with Start TV moving to the second subchannel, and its fourth subchannel affiliating with Ion Television.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|19.1||480i||16:9||ME TV||Main WZMQ programming / MeTV|
|19.3||H & I||Heroes & Icons|
|19.4||ION 4||Ion Television|
WZMQ shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 19, 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 "flash-cut" its digital signal into operation on UHF channel 19 after being granted an original digital construction permit when the Federal Communications Commission finalized the digital television allotment plan on April 21, 1997,. WMQF did not receive a companion channel for a digital station. Since the channel was then owned by Equity Media Holdings, the company told the FCC it was not able to convert WMQF and most of its stations to digital in time for the transition. After being sold to MMMRC, WZMQ made its flash-cut to digital shortly before the June 2009 transition cutoff, transmitting two subchannels that were at low-power due to Equity-era transmitter neglect.
- "Internet Archive crawl of station's website". 16 October 2007. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
- "Takers found for 60 Equity stations". Television Business Report. April 18, 2009. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
- "Redirect". www.northpine.com.
- "WMQF changes to WZMQ". Retrieved March 1, 2019.
- "Call Sign History (WZMQ)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- "Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Michigan TV station building studio in De Pere, 9/26/2009".
- "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info.
- "Final DTV Channel Plan from FCC97-115". www.transmitter.com.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "Application View ... Redirecting". licensing.fcc.gov.