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WLWC
Wlwc 2008.png
New Bedford, Massachusetts /
Providence, Rhode Island
Branding CW 28
Channel Digital: 22 (UHF)
Subchannels 28.1 The CW
Owner Four Points Media Group
(operated through LSA by
Nexstar Broadcasting Group)

(Providence Television Licensee Corporation)
First air date April 1997
Former channels Analog:
28 (1997-2008)
Former affiliations UPN (secondary 1997-1998, primary 1998-2006)
The WB (primary 1997-1998, secondary 1998-2006)
Effective power 350 kW
Height 203 m
Facility ID 3978
Antenna coordinates 41°46′38.4″N 70°55′39.2″W / 41.777333°N 70.927556°W / 41.777333; -70.927556
Website yourprov.com

WLWC is the CW-affiliated television station for the state of Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts that is licensed to New Bedford. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 22 from a transmitter in the Ashley Heights section of East Freetown, Massachusetts. They can also be seen on Cox and Verizon FiOS channel 9 (in Rhode Island) as well as Comcast channel 13 (in Massachusetts). For high definition, it is offered on Verizon FiOS channel 509, Cox channel 705, and Comcast channel 813.

Owned by the Four Points Media Group and operated through a local service agreement (a.k.a LSA) by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the station has studios on Westminster Street in downtown Providence. Syndicated programming on WLWC includes: Two and a Half Men, The Office, Tyra, and Judge Mathis. It is one of two major Rhode Island stations (other one being ABC affiliate WLNE-TV) with facilities in Providence despite being licensed to the Massachusetts side of the market.

Contents

History

WLWC began broadcasting in April 1997 as a primary WB and secondary UPN affiliate. It was owned by Fant Broadcasting and controlled by NBC-owned WJAR under a local marketing agreement (LMA). It was the first completely new station to sign on in the Rhode Island market in 34 years.

The station signed on with various syndicated shows as well as a WJAR-produced 10 P.M. newscast, known as TV 28 News at 10, which began airing a few months after the WPRI-TV-produced effort on Fox affiliate WNAC-TV. By the time the station signed on, the future of the LMA was in doubt given the fact that NBC, which inherited it from Outlet Broadcasting after buying it out in early-1996, did not want to run stations outside their core owned-and-operated (O&O) outlets. NBC, during this time, pushed Fant to sell the stations.

In September 1997, NBC came up with a three-way swap in which Fant exchanged WLWC and sister station WWHO in Columbus, Ohio to Paramount / Viacom for that group's NBC affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut (WVIT) which would then go to NBC. With the ownership change, WLWC became more or less a UPN O&O in 1998 as its affiliation arrangement was changed to primary UPN and secondary WB. After Viacom and CBS merged in 2000, WLWC's master control and some internal operations was integrated with those of now sister stations WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV in Boston. On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would end broadcasting and merge into a new combined network, The CW which launched on September 18. It was a given that WLWC would become an affiliate of The CW based on not only having cleared both The WB and UPN but also its ownership by CBS (which would own half of The CW).

With coming CW affiliation, WLWC's web address changed to "cw28tv.com" and the station received a new CW logo. On February 7, 2007, CBS announced it was selling WLWC and seven other stations in Austin, Texas, Salt Lake City, Utah, and West Palm Beach, Florida to Cerberus Capital Management for $185 million. Cerberus then formed a new holding company for the stations, Four Points Media Group, who took over the operation of the stations through local marketing agreements in late-June 2007. Subsequently, WLWC's website was converted to an interface somewhat similar to the former CBS version. On November 26, master control of WLWC moved from WBZ to KUTV's studios in Salt Lake City. The entire group deal officially closed on January 10, 2008. WLWC permanently turned off its analog transmitter at Midnight on December 9, 2008. The last minutes of transmission were uneventful with the conclusion of Malcolm in the Middle, some commercials, and the opening title of That '70s Show. WLWC is expected to remain on its current pre-transition channel number, 22 (using PSIP to display its virtual channel as 28) following the February 2009 analog shutdown. At one point, the station had studios on State Street in downtown Providence.

Columbus, Ohio connections

In WLWC's short history, there have been several interesting connections between WLWC and television stations in the Columbus market. WLWC's arrangement with WJAR was an outgrowth of a similar arrangement in Columbus with Outlet's WCMH-TV and Fant's WWHO. WLWC and WWHO continued to lead near-identical existences for nearly a decade sharing graphics, voiceovers, and more through several owners. Also, WCMH had used the WLWC calls from its 1949 sign-on until being bought by Outlet in 1976. In the mid-1990s, a Columbus low-power station owned by Premier Broadcasting Corporation announced that it would be using the WLWC call letters. Because of the historic value of the WLWC calls, Outlet arranged to have the callsign "warehoused" on channel 28 in order to keep its local competitor from using them. WWHO was sold in 2005 to the Providence-based LIN TV Corporation who own CBS affiliate WPRI and are the controllers of WNAC.

Programming

When not airing CW network programming, WLWC airs a general entertainment format that includes talk shows, off-network sitcoms, dramas, as well as syndicated programming and movies which generally air on the weekends. As a primary WB affiliate, WLWC aired Kids' WB programming but this was dropped after the primary affiliation became UPN. It was not picked up again after UPN canceled its own children's block in 2003. The block, which was replaced with The CW4Kids in 2008, returned to WLWC when the station began airing CW programming.

In 2002, WBZ added their weekday morning newscast, Sports Final, and WSBK's Red Sox This Week to channel 28's lineup. This was done to serve viewers inconvenienced by Cox's removal of WBZ from their Rhode Island systems. By 2004, WLWC dropped the morning newscast and Red Sox This Week. In place of the morning show, the station began airing the nationally syndicated morning program The Daily Buzz. Sports Final was retained (on a half-hour tape delay) and WLWC also added Phantom Gourmet from WSBK.

Beginning with the 2005 season, WLWC (along with WSBK) began airing Jefferson Pilot's syndicated broadcasts of ACC college football and basketball games as Boston College's move to the conference created regional interest for the ACC. Until May 2007, two of WBZ's weekday morning personalities were shown on WLWC's broadcast of The Daily Buzz as the station itself had none. During the program's weather reports, meteorologist Barry Burbank did a 30-second local weather cut-in. During commercial breaks, traffic reporter Rich Kirkland would give a quick traffic update. After CBS sold the station to Four Points, Sports Final was dropped and the WBZ morning personalities were removed from The Daily Buzz. ACC sports and Phantom Gourmet remain on the station. The latter was eventually dropped as well.

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