WZTV

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Not to be confused with WTVZ.
WZTV
Wztv 2010.png
Nashville, Tennessee
United States
Branding Fox 17 (general)
Fox 17 News (newscasts)
Slogan We Are Fox 17
Channels Digital: 15 (UHF)
Virtual: 17 (PSIP)
Subchannels 17.1 Fox
17.2 WeatherNation TV
17.3 Antenna TV
Affiliations Fox (since 1990)
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WZTV Licensee, LLC)
First air date August 5, 1968 (1968-08-05)
(original incarnation)
March 6, 1976; 40 years ago (1976-03-06)
(current incarnation)
Call letters' meaning We're Zenith TeleVision
Sister station(s) WNAB & WUXP-TV
Former callsigns WMCV (1968–1971)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
17 (UHF, 1968–1971 & 1976–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
independent (1968–1971 & 1976–1990)
silent (1971–1976)
Secondary:
PTEN (1993–1995)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 411 metres (1,348 ft)
Facility ID 418
Transmitter coordinates 36°15′49.8708″N 86°47′39.0480″W / 36.263853000°N 86.794180000°W / 36.263853000; -86.794180000
Website www.fox17.com

WZTV, virtual channel 17 (UHF digital channel 15), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, and is sister to MyNetworkTV affiliate WUXP-TV (channel 30, wholly owned by Sinclair) and CW affiliate WNAB (channel 58, owned by Tennessee Broadcasting but operated by Sinclair through an outsourcing agreement).

All three share studios on Mainstream Drive along the Cumberland River, WZTV's transmitter is located on Knob Road north of downtown along I-24.

History[edit]

First independent station in Nashville[edit]

The station originally began broadcasting on August 5, 1968 as WMCV from a small studio in West Nashville.[1] It was the area's first UHF station, as well as the state's first independent station. Not surprisingly with three well-established network affiliates in the market, WMCV did not attract many advertisers and relied mainly on old movies, cartoons, religious programs, and syndicated fare. Additionally, the Nashville market is a fairly large market geographically; UHF stations usually do not carry very well over long distances. Many area households probably did not have sets capable of receiving the station's signal anyway. This was very typical of UHF start-ups in the late-1960s and early-1970s. WMCV went off the air on March 10, 1971. After a false start ended hopes for a 1974 return, new owner Reel Broadcasting brought the station back as WZTV on March 6, 1976 initially branding it as "Z TV" and later "Z 17".

Second attempt as an independent station[edit]

WZTV's first several years showed far more promise than WMCV ever did. With wealthier ownership, it was able to buy the rights to college basketball and Cincinnati Reds baseball supplementing the usual independent syndicated program assortment such as cartoons, classic sitcoms, older movies, westerns, and reruns of old network dramas. Even though the station placed ads in TV Guide in 1979 and 1980 offering assistance to Middle Tennessee viewers who had problems receiving its UHF signal, the problem became mostly a moot one as many households could now view the station clearly via cable.

In the early 1980s, WZTV was sold to Multimedia, which owned several NBC and CBS affiliates around the country. WZTV soon got some competition in the form of Murfreesboro-based WFYZ (channel 39), which took to the air in 1983. Soon after, in 1984, TVX Broadcast Group signed on WCAY-TV (channel 30). However, WZTV not only remained the dominant independent station in Middle Tennessee, but was the only one that was profitable.

Nashville was only a medium-sized market at the time, and by 1985, it was obvious that it was not big enough for three independent stations. However, Multimedia and TVX had more resources than Murfreesboro TV Corporation, owners of WFYZ, could possibly hope to match. With this scenario, channel 39 opted to broadcast only music videos (similar to MTV). Later that year, the Christian Television Network bought WFYZ and switched it to an all-religious format in 1986 under new calls, WHTN. WZTV then acquired most of WFYZ's former shows.

In 1988, Multimedia sold WZTV to Act III Broadcasting, who had a reputation for buying its competitors' stronger programming inventory. However, this strategy wasn't successful in Nashville, since TVX was far wealthier than Act III's competition in most other markets. In 1987, TVX affiliated all of its stations, including WCAY, with the newly launched Fox network. However, WCAY did not get a substantial ratings boost. TVX bought Taft Broadcasting's five non-Big Three stations later that year; two of these stations were Fox affiliates, while the other three were independent. TVX acquired massive debt as well, and was forced to sell some of its underperforming medium-market stations to service the new debt. WCAY and sister station WMKW in Memphis were sold to MT Communications. After the sale was complete, WCAY changed its call sign to WXMT.

Fox affiliation[edit]

The deal between Fox and TVX had one catch. If one of TVX's underperforming stations (like WCAY/WXMT) was sold, that station could lose its Fox affiliation. As a result, in 1990, Fox pulled its affiliation from WXMT and moved it to WZTV. Act III was not done yet. The company approached MT about buying WXMT's syndicated programming inventory and moving it to WZTV, which would have left WXMT with only religious shows and Home Shopping Network programming. MT initially agreed, but backed out of the deal a few days later. He came up with another idea in which WXMT would sell its sitcoms, dramas and movies to WZTV, while WXMT would keep barter shows and cartoons. The deal closed in mid-February, around the same time that WZTV changed its on-air name to the current "Fox 17".

Over the years, WZTV's schedule began migrating towards more first-run talk, court, and reality shows. Most of channel 17's sitcoms and cartoons moved to WXMT around this time. In 1994, Act III merged with Abry Communications. Only a year later, Sinclair Broadcast Group bought most of Abry's stations, including WZTV. Sinclair then entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with channel 30, which was now UPN affiliate WUXP. Most of WZTV's sitcoms and cartoons moved to WUXP; Sinclair eventually bought that station outright in 2001. Fox discontinued its weekday cartoon block in 2001, allowing its affiliates to add even more first-run syndicated shows. Today, WZTV offers Fox programming, first-run reality, talk and court shows, and recent sitcoms.

On May 15, 2012, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Fox agreed to a five-year extension to the network's affiliation agreement with Sinclair's 19 Fox stations, including WZTV, that will run through 2017.[2]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[3]
17.1 720p 16:9 WZTV-FO Main WZTV programming / Fox
17.2 480i 4:3 WXNat WeatherNation TV
17.3 AN TV Antenna TV

WZTV-DT2[edit]

WZTV-DT2 was initially a standard definition simulcast of the main channel from its 2008 launch until the subchannel was temporarily deleted in 2010. On October 27, 2014, WeatherNation TV and Sinclair Broadcasting signed an affiliation agreement to carry that network on a subchannel of Baltimore sister station and fellow Fox affiliate WBFF-TV, which is Sinclair's flagship station. Additional Sinclair-owned stations were added to the agreement. WZTV-DT2 began carrying WeatherNation TV on December 16, 2014.[4]

WZTV-DT3[edit]

On January 1, 2016, WZTV-DT3 launched as the station's third digital subchannel, and became an affiliate of Tribune Broadcasting-owned Antenna TV, thus stripping the affiliation with WRTN-LD3. This is part of a new deal between Sinclair and Tribune for the carriage of Antenna TV on the subchannels of Sinclair-owned and/or operated stations.[5]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WZTV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 17, on February 17, 2009, which was intended to be the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The deadline was moved to June 12, 2009, but the station decided to convert on the original deadline.[6] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 15.[7][8] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 17.

Programming[edit]

General programming[edit]

The station clears all of the Fox network's programming schedule, except for the Xploration Station children's educational programming block. Syndicated programming on WZTV, as of September 2015, includes Hot Bench, Judge Judy, The Wendy Williams Show, The 700 Club, Divorce Court, The Big Bang Theory (acquired from WNAB on September 22, 2015), Entertainment Tonight, Jeopardy! (the program's carriage by WZTV being a rarity for a Fox affiliate), Anger Management, Everybody Loves Raymond and Access Hollywood.[9] In a particular example from this list, the Nashville market is one of the few that carries Jeopardy! on a separate station because Wheel of Fortune airs on ABC affiliate WKRN-TV. Syndicated Saturday morning programming, in lieu of the Xploration Station, includes Teen Kids News, DragonflyTV, Real Life 101, Think Big and the U.S. Farm Report.

Sports programming[edit]

WZTV was the television home of Nashville Sounds baseball from 1982 to 1992.[10]

Current sports programming[edit]

WZTV, along with sister station WUXP carry the locally produced sports program, Titans All Access, a 30-minute game preview show hosted by famed Tennessee Titans Radio personality Mike Keith. It provides highlights behind the scenes of the games, and analysis and perdictions for the next game that is played after the broadcast of this program.[11] Since the Fox network's sports division carries the NFC package, the only time WZTV carries any Titans games is when they play a home game against an NFC opponent because the Titans play in the AFC or if a Titans game is flex-scheduled from CBS to Fox to balance both network's schedules.

In some occasions mainly during the month of March, WZTV may air some Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball games from the ACC Network by Raycom Sports in the event that WUXP's sports schedules conflict between ACC Network games and the TSSAA state high school basketball championships and/or American Sports Network's Ohio Valley Conference and/or Conference USA basketball packages. Those scheduling conflicts that usually only ensue on weekends. WNAB or one of WUXP's digital subchannels may also pick up some C-USA programming from ASN since that station is considered one of ASN's alternate affiliates in Nashville.

Thursday Night Football simulcast[edit]

WZTV previously simulcast all of the Titans appearances on NFL Network's Thursday Night Football if they were to be scheduled during any week between 9-17. WZTV also simulcast TNF appearances of the Titans at any time during the season, but this changed in 2014, when CBS partnered up with the NFL Network to simulcast TNF in weeks 2-9. As a result, WZTV's simulcasting of any Tennessee Titans game on TNF is now limited to if the Titans have TNF games scheduled for weeks 9-17 (second half of regular season), with local CBS station WTVF showing Thursday night games during weeks 2-9 in the first half of the season, regardless of the teams involved.[12] Beginning with the Tennessee Titans-Jacksonville Jaguars game on November 19, 2015, WTVF simulcast all of the team's TNF appearances to go along with the network's TNF simulcasts in the early half of the season.

News operation[edit]

WZTV broadcasts 34½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays).[citation needed] On July 7, 1997, WZTV premiered a half-hour prime time newscast called Fox News at 9 that aired Sunday through Friday evenings and was produced by ABC affiliate WKRN-TV (channel 2) through a news share agreement, as a result of a demand from Fox that its affiliates air local newscasts. This station was one of the few Fox stations in the top 50 markets that did not air any local news programming prior to the launch of the program. On July 9, 2000, the new share agreement with WKRN ended, and WZTV began production of their own newscasts.[13]

In 2004, WZTV began incorporating national news and sports, and local weather segments from Sinclair's News Central division into its newscast, which were based at the company's headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland; the station retained anchors and reporters to provide local news stories for the broadcasts. That year, it also launched a half-hour newscast at 10 p.m., Fox 17 News: Late Edition, to compete against late night newscasts from Nashville's big three network affiliates (WKRN-TV, WSMV-TV and WTVF). This came around the time that most Fox stations in larger markets were adding newscasts at 10 p.m. Central (11 p.m. Eastern). After News Central was shut down in March 2006, WZTV reformatted the program as Fox 17 News at 10 adding local sports and expanding the local news and weather segments, resulting in the hiring of additional on-air staff members.

On September 11, 2011, WZTV became the third station in the Nashville market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. This included a new news set designed by Devlin Design Group as well as an updated logo, which now uses a red, white and blue color scheme.[citation needed]

At one point in September 2014, WZTV began airing a 30-minute newscast that began at 5:30 p.m.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • FOX News at Nine (July 7, 1997 – July 5, 2000) [14]
  • FOX 17 News (July 6, 2000 – present) [14]
  • Tennessee Mornings (morning newscast; 2006-2013)
  • Fox 17 This Morning (morning newscast; 2013–present)

Out of market coverage[edit]

South-central Kentucky[edit]

Since the Bowling Green, Kentucky media market didn't have a Fox affiliate of its own, WZTV was the default Fox affiliate for that area on cable from 1990 to January 1992, when WKNT became that market's first Fox affiliate. After WKNT (now WNKY) became an NBC affiliate on March 27, 2001, WZTV once again became Bowling Green's default Fox affiliate for a second time on cable and over-the-air. On September 5, 2006, Bowling Green area ABC affiliate WBKO began to broadcast Fox programming on a new second digital subchannel. However, in spite of the existence of WBKO-DT2, Mediacom still offers WZTV on its cable systems in Butler and Edmonson counties, including Morgantown and Brownsville, respectively.[15]

WZTV's over-the-air signal can still be picked up in select areas of the Bowling Green market, and it had long been available on cable in that area, although providers in Glasgow and Munfordville actually piped in Louisville Fox affiliate WDRB. In addition, WZTV also remains on WesternCable, the on-campus cable system fed to classrooms and residence halls at Western Kentucky University.[16]

Northern Alabama[edit]

From 1979 to sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, WZTV was also carried on certain cable systems in the Huntsville, Alabama market along with Nashville's big three stations (WTVF, WSMV {as WSM-TV} and WKRN). They were all gradually dropped sometime in the 1980s and early 1990s as new national cable channels launched overtime.[17]

References[edit]

External links[edit]