WJRT-TV: Wikis


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Flint, Michigan
City of license Flint, Michigan
Branding ABC 12 (general)
ABC 12 News (newscasts)
Slogan Your Trusted Source (news)
Your Weather Source (weather)
Channels Digital: 12 (VHF)
Subchannels (see article)
Affiliations ABC
Live Well HD Network (on DT2)
The Local AccuWeather Channel (on DT-3)
Owner Disney/ABC
(Flint License Subsidiary Corporation)
First air date October 12, 1958
Call letters’ meaning Jewett Radio & Phonograph Co. (original owners) of radio station WJR, in Detroit owned by station's founders (with T added to stand for Television)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
12 (VHF, 1958-2009)
36 (UHF, until 2009)
Former affiliations ESPN Plus (for Michigan and Michigan State football, until 2006)
Transmitter Power 18.2 kW
Height 286 m
Facility ID 21735
Transmitter Coordinates 43°13′49.5″N 84°3′31.7″W / 43.230417°N 84.058806°W / 43.230417; -84.058806
Website www.abc12.com

WJRT-TV, channel 12, (branded as ABC 12) is an ABC-owned and operated television station (O&O) in the Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Michigan television market. Its studios are located in Flint, Michigan, with offices and newsroom for the Tri-Cities located in Saginaw. The station broadcasts with 18.2 kilowatts of power from a 1,000-foot tower located near Chesaning, Michigan. The station is the only one in the market owned and operated by any major network.

WJRT-TV can be seen on cable systems throughout northeastern Michigan, as far north as Alpena. At one time, it was seen on cable as far north as Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where the Shaw system there offered WJRT-TV instead of WGTU from across the locks; in the early-2000s, Shaw replaced WJRT-TV with Detroit's WXYZ-TV.

WJRT-TV is the only station in the Flint / Tri-Cities market that is headquartered in the city of Flint that produces local content.



WJRT-TV is the only station in the market that has never changed its affiliation. WJRT-TV was founded in 1958 by Goodwill Stations, the owner of WJR in Detroit at the time. That company won out over two other companies seeking to operate channel 12, the Trebit Corp. (which owned WFDF-AM) and W.S. Butterfield Theatres, Inc. Failed plans to place the transmitter facilities in Independence Township, Michigan are part of the story of WJRT-TV's birth. Goodwill Stations took over the former WTAC-TV studios and offices after that station folded in 1954 and remains there today. When it was learned that Independence Township was in the Detroit television market, Goodwill settled on placing the channel 12 transmitters near Chesaning, Michigan; the transmitters remain there today. Once this was done, WJRT-TV went on the air on October 12, 1958, as an ABC network affiliate. WJRT-TV was the first Michigan television station outside of Detroit to go all-color in 1967.[1]

Goodwill Stations merged with Capital Cities Broadcasting (predecessor of Capital Cities Communications) in 1964, but WJRT-TV was spun off to Poole Broadcasting (owned by John Poole, a former Capital Cities stockholder) because the merged company was one VHF station over the FCC's ownership limit of the time.[2] In April 1978, WJRT-TV along with the rest of Poole Broadcasting (which included WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island and WTEN in Albany, New York) were sold to Knight Ridder. As soon as the acquisition of Poole Broadcasting was finalized, Knight Ridder cut a corporate affiliation deal with ABC; however, WJRT-TV was already affiliated with ABC when Knight Ridder acquired the station. During the late 1980s, Knight Ridder decided to exit broadcasting by selling its stations to separate owners; as a result, WJRT-TV was sold to SJL Broadcast Management (the predecessor of today's Montecito Broadcast Group) in 1989.

During the 1970s WJRT-TV became Mid Michigan's highest rated television station, helped by ABC's ratings improvements during the decade. During the late 1980s and into the 1990s, WJRT-TV was usually second to WNEM-TV. However, after ABC purchased WJRT-TV (along with WTVG in Toledo, Ohio) from SJL in 1995, the station returned to the top of the Mid-Michigan ratings for primetime, where it remains today. Because Capital Cities spun the station off decades earlier, WJRT-TV was the only ABC station not part of the Capital Cities/ABC merger in 1986, although it should be noted that longtime ABC affiliates KTRK-TV in Houston and WPVI-TV in Philadelphia were part of the merger.

In 1994, New World Communications signed an affiliation deal with Fox Broadcasting Company, resulting in most of New World's stations switching affiliation to Fox. Among the stations due to switch was WJBK-TV in Detroit, a longtime CBS affiliate. To avoid being consigned to UHF in what was then the 9th-largest market, CBS heavily wooed Detroit's longtime ABC affiliate, WXYZ-TV. WXYZ-TV's owner, E.W. Scripps Company, then told ABC that unless it agreed to affiliate with Scripps-owned stations in four smaller markets, it would switch WXYZ-TV to CBS. As a contingency, ABC approached SJL about buying WTVG and WJRT-TV. Both stations' city-grade signals reached portions of the Detroit area. The deal closed on August 29, 1995.

Ironically, when ABC acquired WJRT-TV in 1995, it was reunited with its namesake radio station, WJR. WJR's owner, Capital Cities, had merged with ABC in 1986. And in 2002, WFDF (now a Detroit station), which unsuccessfully sought a channel 12 license in the 1950s, would also become a sister to WJRT-TV when ABC bought the station. However, this reunion was partially broken up, as ABC sold WJR, along with other ABC Radio properties, to Citadel Broadcasting in January, 2006.

WJRT-TV also served as the ABC affiliate of record for Lansing until WLAJ signed on in 1990.

Digital Television

WJRT-TV currently broadcasts with the following digital subchannel lineup:

Channel Name Programming
12.1 WJRT-HD main WJRT-TV/ABC programming in 720p
12.2 ABC12 Plus Live Well HD Network and local shows
12.3 ABC12 Weather Channel ABC12's 24 Hour Weather Channel / The Local AccuWeather Channel

ABC12 Plus is WJRT-TV's second digital subchannel. It shows extra programming, such as programming from the Live Well HD Network (programs from this channel on ABC12 Plus are shown in 480i standard definiton due to lack of bandwidth), rebroadcasts of ABC12 News, WJRT's local public affairs show Newsmakers, local specials and movies.

ABC12's third digital subchannel is its 24-hour weather channel. It features live Doppler weather radar 24 hours a day, interlaced with extended local weather forecasts from the ABC12 weather team, as well as national forecasts from The Local AccuWeather Channel.


Analog to Digital Conversion

WJRT-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on June 12, 2009 [3], as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station had been broadcasting its pre-transition digital signal over UHF channel 36, but returned to channel 12 for its post-transition operations. [4][5] Since the transition, certain viewers have difficulty reaching their signal on channel 12. So on October 14, 2009, WJRT filed an application to the FCC to increase the power level from 18.2 kW to 30 kW.[6] At this time, it has yet to be granted.


As an ABC owned station, WJRT-TV carries the full ABC television lineup.

Syndicated programming on WJRT-TV includes Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Live with Regis and Kelly, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, and The Rachael Ray Show.

Local programming on the channel includes 31 hours of newscasts per week, as well as the half hour weekly public affairs show Newsmakers. Other local interest programming includes college sports from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University via ESPN on ABC, as well as occasional Detroit Pistons games from the same.

News Operation

WJRT-TV broadcasts a total of 31 hours of local news per week (with five hours on weekdays, and three hours each on weekends), producing far more local content than any other station in the market.

WJRT-TV newscasts also feature segments with personnel from ABC News (for national and international stories and Tech Bytes), and Bloomberg Television (in The Bloomberg Business Report).

WJRT-TV began producing its newscasts in 16:9 on October 26, 2009, during its First at 4 newscast making them the first station in Mid-Michigan to do so.

WJRT-TV switched to an all high definition video switcher on January 9, 2010.[citation needed] Although most sources appear to be upconverted to HD, their graphics and some other sources are now being broadcast in true high definition.[citation needed]

Newscast Lineup


  • ABC 12 News at 5 AM - 5:00-6:00 a.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 6 AM - 6:00-7:00 a.m.
  • ABC 12 News at Noon - 12:00-12:30 p.m.
  • ABC 12 News First at Four - 4:00-5:00 p.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 5 - 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 6 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 11:00 - 11:00-11:35 p.m.


  • ABC 12 Weekend: Saturday Morning - 6:00-8:00 a.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 6 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 11 - 11:00-11:30 p.m.


  • ABC 12 Weekend: Sunday Morning - 7:00-8:00 a.m.
  • ABC 12 Weekend: Sunday Morning - 9:00-10:00 a.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 6 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
  • ABC 12 News at 11 - 11:00-11:30 p.m.


Current On-Air Talent

Current Anchors

  • Angela Brown - weekend mornings (also reporter)
  • Terry Camp - weekdays at 4PM (also reporter)
  • Larry Elliott - weekday mornings and noon
  • Matt Franklin - weekdays at 4PM (also reporter)
  • Karen Gatlin - weekday mornings and noon
  • Bill Harris - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11PM
  • Angie Hendershot - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11PM
  • Gabe Gutierrez - weekend mornings (also reporter), host of Newsmaker
  • Joel Feick - weekends at 6 and 11PM (also reporter)

First Alert Weather Team

  • J.R. Kirtek (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 11PM
  • Kevin Goff (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings, 6 and 11PM
  • John McMurray (AMS Member) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon
  • Leslie Toldo - Meteorologist; weekdays at 4PM (also health reporter)

Sports Team

  • Greg Molzon - Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and 11PM
  • Ryan Slocum - Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 11PM (also sports reporter)


  • Kristen Abraham - Saginaw bureau reporter
  • Randy Conat - general assignment reporter (also photographer)
  • Lori Dougovito - general assignment reporter
  • Marc Jacobson - morning reporter
  • Cathy Shafran - general assignment reporter, host of Newsmaker
  • Rebecca Trylch - general assignment reporter (also news producer)

Former On-Air Talent

  • Taryn Asher (now at WJBK in Detroit)
  • Jason Carr (now at WJBK in Detroit)
  • Rece Davis (now at ESPN)
  • Josh DeVine (now at WSMV in Nashville)
  • Bisi Onile-Ere (now at WDIV-TV in Detroit)
  • Sue Zelenko (later at WTSP in Tampa; since left the business)
  • Glenda Lewis (now at WXYZ-TV in Detroit)

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Area 12 News (1960s-1970s)
  • Channel 12 News (1970s-early 1980s)
  • TV-12 News (early 1980s-1987)
  • 12 News (general)/12 News Nightwatch (11PM newscast; 1987-1994)
  • Newschannel 12 (1994-1997)
  • ABC 12 News (1997-present)

Station Slogans

  • Let's Get Together on Area 12 (1970-1971; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • You're in 12 Country! (mid-late 1970s; used during period station used Al Ham's "Home Country")
  • We're Still the One, on Channel 12 (1977-1980; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • You and Me and Channel 12 (1980-1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Now is the Time, Channel 12 is the Place (1981-1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Hello, Michigan (1982-1986; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • Come on Along with Channel 12 (1982-1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • That Special Feeling on Channel 12 (1983-1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • We're With You on Channel 12 (1984-1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • You'll Love It on Channel 12 (1985-1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Together on Channel 12 (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Something's Happening on Channel 12 (1987-1990; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Where News Comes First (1990-1997)
  • Michigan's Watching Channel 12 (1990-1992; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • If It's Channel 12, It Must Be ABC (1992-1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • What It Takes, Wherever News Breaks (1997-2002)
  • Your Trusted Source for News (2002-present)
  • Your Safest Place in Bad Weather (weather slogan)
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