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Wjfw 2009.png
Rhinelander / Wausau, Wisconsin
Branding Newswatch 12
Slogan Your Northwoods
News Leader
Channel Digital: 16 (UHF)
Subchannels 12.1 NBC
12.2 Universal Sports
Translators W27AU 27 Wausau
Owner Rockfleet Broadcasting
(Northland Television, LLC)
Founded October 20, 1966
Callsign meaning Jasper F. Williams (former owner)
Former callsigns WAEO-TV (1966-86)
Former channels 12 (VHF analog, 1966-2009)
Effective power 269 kW
Height 362 m
Facility ID 49699
Antenna coordinates 45°40′3.3″N 89°12′29.4″W / 45.667583°N 89.208167°W / 45.667583; -89.208167

WJFW-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Northern Highland area of Wisconsin that is licensed to Rhinelander. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 from a transmitter in Starks. Owned by Rockfleet Broadcasting, the station has studios on South Oneida Avenue in Rhinelander. Syndicated programming on WJFW includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Judge Judy, and Judge Joe Brown. It can also be seen on an analog translator, W27AU channel 27, in Wausau. This airs from a transmitter southwest of the I-39 / U.S. 51 / WI 29 junction on Mosinee Hill. It has a construction permit to broadcast a low-powered digital signal.



Digital programming

The station's signal is multiplexed. On WJFW-DT2 and Charter digital channel 967 is Universal Sports.

Channel Programming
16.1 main WJFW programming / NBC HD
16.2 WJFW-DT2 Universal Sports


When the station signed on-the-air October 20, 1966 it had the call letters WAEO-TV after its founder Congressman Alvin E. O'Konski. Its studios were located next door to the tower in Starks. This was at the time one of the tallest structures in the world. On November 17, 1968, a small plane with three passengers crashed into the tower knocking it out and the station's building. It was off-the-air until a new tower was erected in the same location as the original. New studios were eventually built at the current location in Rhinelander. After its completion, WAEO was back on-the-air September 1, 1969. When the new tower was completed in 1969, it was the 7th tallest structure in the world at 1,800 feet. The new tower was also the first in the United States built exclusively for color television transmission. On June 1, 1979, the station was sold to minority-owned company Seaway Communications.

It was the first VHF commercial television station in the United States to be owned by minority interests. In 1984, Dr. Jasper F. Williams (the founder and CEO of Seaway Communications) was killed in a plane crash. In his memory, the call letters were changed to WJFW-TV in 1986. In 1989, it activated a new translator on channel 27 in Wausau. The station's main transmitter is located further north than other North Central Wisconsin stations. This was a result of WISN-TV in Milwaukee which also broadcasted on channel 12 in the analog era. The other two VHF and one UHF stations in the area had aired their analog signals on channels which were also in use by Chicago stations farther away and less prone to interference. As a result, channel 12 provided only Grade B coverage of Wausau itself and some parts of Marathon County could not watch the station at all except on cable. Seaway merged with Rockfleet, the station's current owner, in 1998. Steve Kmetko, host on E! was a reporter and anchor at WAEO in his early days. WJFW broadcasts have been digital-only since February 17, 2009. In mid-March 2009, the station added Universal Sports as a second digital subchannel. Unlike most NBC affiliates in the Central Time Zone, WJFW does not air weekday Midday or early evening local news on the weekend.

News team

Current personalities


  • James Fillmore - weekday mornings and reporter
  • Kristyn Allen - weekday mornings and reporter
  • Heather Schallock - News Director seen weeknights at 5
    • weeknight 5 o'clock producer and reporter
  • Asavari Phadnis - Executive Producer seen weeknights at 6 and 10

Weather Watch 12 Meteorologists

  • Luke Sampe (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Matt Benz - weekday mornings
  • Tony DeGrand - weekends


  • Matt Thompson - Director seen weeknights at 6 and 10
    • weekday mornings (taped)
  • George Savaricas - weekends and reporter


  • Jeff Allen - producer
  • Dana Blado
  • Alex Ronallo

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Report to the North (1966-1973)
  • Television 12 News (1973-1978)
  • Newswatch 12 (1978-present)

Station slogans

  • Making A Difference (1994-2000)
  • Where Local News Comes First (2001-2005)
  • Your Northwoods News Leader (2005-present)
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External links


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