WBAY-TV: Wikis


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WBAY-TV Logo.png

WBAY-DT2 Logo.pngWBAY-RTN.png
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Branding WBAY-TV 2 (general)
Action 2 News (newscasts)
Slogan Coverage You Can Count On
Channels Digital: 23 (UHF) (PSIP 2)
Affiliations ABC
Local weather (DT2)
Retro Television Network (DT3)
Owner Young Broadcasting
(Young Broadcasting Of Green Bay, Inc., Debtor-in-Possession)
Founded March 17, 1953
Call letters’ meaning W Green BAY
Former channel number(s) Analog:
2 (1953-2009)
Former affiliations CBS (1953-1992)
DuMont (1953-1956)[1]
Transmitter Power 1000 kW (digital)
Height 372 m (digital)
Facility ID 74417
Transmitter Coordinates 44°24′34.6″N 88°0′6.7″W / 44.409611°N 88.001861°W / 44.409611; -88.001861
Website www.wbay.com/

WBAY-TV is the ABC television affiliate in Green Bay, Wisconsin, broadcasting on UHF digital channel 23 (or PSIP channel 2) from a transmitter located in the town of Ledgeview, Wisconsin. It signed on the air on March 17, 1953 as the second television station in Wisconsin, after WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.

The station is currently owned by Young Broadcasting, and is one of 7 Young-owned stations whose management and operations would be handled by Gray Television as part of a proposed takeover of Young Broadcasting by its secured creditors (a plan tenatively approved by a New York bankruptcy judge on July 22, 2009). Under Gray management, this would make it a sister station in Wisconsin to NBC affiliates WMTV in Madison and WEAU in Eau Claire; the station currently exchanges news stories with Hearst-Argyle Television's WISN-TV in Milwaukee, and Quincy Newspapers' stations throughout the state, all of them ABC affiliates. Its operations are handled by WHTV and WLNS in Lansing.



Studios in 2007

WBAY-TV was originally owned by the Norbertine Order of Priests, whose abbey is in nearby De Pere. The priests run St. Norbert College in De Pere and already operated radio stations in Green Bay and Appleton. After carrying multiple networks in its early years, the station became a primary CBS affiliate, and benefited from that network's coverage of National Football League games, primarily of the Green Bay Packers. Packers games drew up to a 90 percent share of the audience during the 1960s success of teams coached by Vince Lombardi, and the station carried "The Vince Lombardi Show." The station also originated the team's exhibition game coverage from the 1960s to 2002 with some exceptions. Main anchor Bill Jartz has been Lambeau Field's PA system announcer since the start of the 2005-2006 season. The station has continued to air Monday Night Football Packer games originating from ESPN since the 2006 season.

In the mid-1970s, WBAY was sold to Nationwide Communications, Inc., which operated the station until 1993, when it was sold to Young Broadcasting.

CBS purchased the assets of Midwest Television in that same year to acquire their long-time strong Twin Cities affiliate WCCO-TV/AM; Midwest also owned Channel 2's longtime competitor, then-ABC affiliate WFRV/WJMN (Channel 5/3). CBS considered WBAY a strong affiliate, trying to sell WFRV/WJMN after closing the deal with Midwest. FCC rules were relaxed at the time to allow one entity to own more stations, so the network decided to keep the two stations and affiliate WFRV/WJMN with their own network in 1992, giving Channel 2 affiliation with ABC. In 2007, CBS sold WFRV/WJMN to Liberty Media.

WBAY insisted that the change take place on or near the anniversary of their sign-on date, March 17. Since that date fell on a Tuesday in 1992, WFRV and WBAY swapped networks on Sunday, March 15, with "TV-2" joining ABC.

The station also usually pre-empts the first hour (7-8pm Central) of the ABC lineup on Tuesday evenings during the football season to carry the local program Tuesday Night Touchback, which was formerly known as Monday Night Countdown before it was moved in 2007 because of Dancing with the Stars and the departure from ABC of Monday Night Football (for most of the 2000's, the slot has been among the lowest-rated on ABC's primetime schedule, as was the case with the pre-MNF timeslot). That hour then airs hours later on early Wednesday morning after Jimmy Kimmel Live during the football season. However in November 2009 this was changed temporarily due to viewer feedback involving the pre-emption of the series premiere of V which forced that program to be aired after the Saturday late news; for the remainder of November, V will air at 7pm, while Tuesday Night Touchback pre-empted The Insider and aired before prime time in a half-hour truncated form. WBAY's sister station in Nashville's WKRN (Channel 2) also pre-empts Tuesday early primetime programming during football season for the Tennessee Titans coach's show.

The station's headquarters in downtown Green Bay was built in 1924 as a former Knights of Columbus clubhouse and later was turned into a private Roman Catholic high school during the Great Depression when the Norbertines took over the building. The former gymnasium/auditorium is now called the WBAY Auditorium and is used as the studio for the station's Cerebral Palsy telethon. During the early years of WBAY, it served as the main studio until 1954 when an addition was built behind the main building. The auditorium has also been used for local theatrical productions. The station's newsroom is in the basement of the building in an area that originally held a swimming pool and bowling alley. The WBAY building also served as the home of the WBAY radio stations (now WTAQ and WIXX), which were later purchased by Midwest Communications in the late 1970's, but remained in the building until Midwest built a combined Green Bay operations facilitiy/company headquarters in 2007 and a news-weather sharing agreement maintained for many years was discontinued in favor of WLUK-TV.

The station also sponsors the yearly "WBAY Boating Show" and the "WBAY RV and Camping Show", both held in the winter months at the Brown County Arena/Shopko Hall, along with a Boy Scout door-to-door food drive ("Scouting for Food") in the fall.

Digital subchannels

WBAY utilizes their digital channel 23 for multicasting purposes, with WBAY's primary signal being carried on 2-1 in ABC's 720p resolution. The station currently only transmits the ABC schedule and ESPN HD broadcasts of Monday Night Football in high definition.


Stormcenter 2 24/7 (2-2)

Stormcenter 2 24/7's digital subchannel, seen in normal mode at the left, and in warning mode to the right.

WBAY carries a local weather channel called Stormcenter 2 24/7, which is a local equivalent of ABC's O&O AccuWeather subchannels, or NBC's Weather Plus service, over their 2-2 digital subchannel, and also over the digital cable systems of Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, and Comcast of Manitowoc. Like the digital weather channels of other Young stations, the channel is produced in-house with no outside assistance, and is fully automated using the station's weather computers. The loop usually consists of a weather forecast from one of the station's meteorologists, followed by current conditions, radar, travel weather, an outdoors forecast and almanac data such as temperature averages, sunrise and sunset times and the local pollen count, followed by a loop of WBAY's skycam network (Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh and Manitowoc). Seasonal conditions such as snow depth, foliage, boat & beach weather and such also appear in the loop within their respective seasons. Local conditions provided by WeatherBug for several cities appear on the right side of the screen, while the five-day forecast and a weather ticker appear on the bottom; during severe weather, a severe weather message ticker and warning map take up the ticker and five-day space, as shown to the left. Currently only weather, limited advertising (for weather partner Cellcom and other advertisers) and station promotions (customized for each season) air during commercial breaks.

The subchannel is also used for local long-form news coverage, such as carrying full coverage of the Steven Avery murder trial in Chilton in 2006. Six episodes of Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, an E/I-compliant program (required on digital subchannels by the FCC at the start of 2007) air on Stormcenter 2 24/7 weekdays full-screen during the station's 5pm newscast and during the station's 8am Saturday morning newscast to provide continuous weather coverage on the station despite the regulations. The "24/7" title was formerly a misnomer due to WBAY continuing to go off-the-air for 3 1/2 hours on early Saturday and Sunday mornings, but since February 2008 the subchannel also streams online through the station's website 24/7, even during E/I programming and off-the-air periods.


In January 2008, the station launched a DT3 subchannel, WBAY RTV (formerly "RTN 2-3"), which features RTV programming customized to avoid any conflicts with other Green Bay stations already carrying some RTV shows. 2-3's E/I programming airs in one three hour block on Saturday mornings, and operations for the station (including voiceovers and transmission to WBAY) are maintained by RTV, including local commercials and promotions (though the station leaves a 24/7 station identification on-screen at all times in case RTV runs into technical difficulties). The subchannel is also carried by the same systems as Stormcenter 2 24/7 [2].


WBAY holds the record for the longest running telethon on the same channel, airing the Cerebral Palsy Telethon, which has broadcast on the station since 1954. The telethon originally aired for 22 hours from Saturday 8pm-Sunday 6pm, but currently breaks between 12 midnight and 6am, as the station signs off in the overnights during weekends. Past hosts of the telethon have included Raymond Burr, Dennis James (who would later host the United Cerebral Palsy national telethon), and Tom Wopat. Currently the telethon is a local-only effort, using local broadcasters and people to host the marathon program, and the funds raised benefit the local organization, Cerebral Palsy, Inc. Before the sale of the WBAY stations by the Norbertine Fathers, the telethon was simulcast over WBAY AM (later WGEE, now WTAQ) and WBAY-FM (now WIXX).

WBAY's Cerebal Palsy telethon both pre-dated and succeeded the national telethon for United Cerebal Palsy, which ran on numerous stations nationwide from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s.

Sunday Mass

The station continues to air a Sunday Mass on Sunday mornings, as it has since signing on under the ownership of the Norbertine Fathers. After the sale of the station from them however, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay began producing the Mass at WBAY's studio. The Diocese provides a presider, choir, liturgical coordinator, and producer while WBAY provides camera operators, a technical director and audio technician.

News team

Current personalities


  • Bill Jartz, evening anchor
  • Cami Rapson, evening anchor
  • Kevin Rompa, morning and noon anchor
  • Kathryn Bracho, morning anchor/health reporter
  • Jeff Alexander, 4pm anchor/reporter
  • Sarah Thomsen, 4pm anchor/reporter
  • Molly Hendrickson, weekend morning anchor/reporter
  • Marcie Kobriger, weekend anchor/reporter
  • Natalie Arnold, Fox River Valley reporter
  • Kristin Byrne, reporter
  • Chris Hrapsky, reporter
  • Sara Kronenberg, reporter
  • Emily Matesic, reporter
  • Matt Smith, reporter
  • Jason Zimmerman, reporter

StormCenter 2

  • George Graphos, evening
  • Brad Spakowitz, weekend evening
  • Justin Zollitsch, morning
  • Steve Beylon, weekend morning

Action 2 Sports

  • Chris Roth
  • John Gillespie
  • Michelle Tuckner

Past Personalities

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Action 2 News (1987-present)

Station Slogans

  • Northeast Wisconsin's News Leader (1987-2000; news slogan)
  • Making a Difference (1993-2000; general slogan)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (2000-present)
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