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WNUV logo
Baltimore, Maryland
Branding The CW Baltimore
Channels Digital: 40 (UHF)
Affiliations The CW
Owner Cunningham Broadcasting
(operating under a LMA by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
(Baltimore (WNUV-TV) Licensee, Inc.)
First air date July 1, 1982
Call letters’ meaning NUVision, Inc. (founding owner)
Sister station(s) WBFF
Former channel number(s) Analog:
54 (UHF, 1982-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1982-1995)
UPN (1995-1998)
The WB (1998-2006)
Transmitter Power 845 kW
Height 372.8 m
Facility ID 7933
Transmitter Coordinates 39°20′10.5″N 76°38′58.1″W / 39.33625°N 76.649472°W / 39.33625; -76.649472

WNUV, digital channel 40, is an affiliate of the CW Television Network, located in Baltimore, Maryland. WNUV is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, but is operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group through a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Fox affiliate WBFF (channel 45). However, WNUV is effectively owned by Sinclair due to Cunningham's financial structure (see below). The two stations share studios and office facilities in the Woodberry section of Baltimore. WNUV's analog transmitter is located near Gilson Park in Catonsville, Maryland, while its digital transmitter is located on Television Hill in Woodberry.



WNUV-TV began broadcasting on July 1, 1982, owned by a local firm called NUVision, Incorporated. The station was Baltimore's third UHF commercial outlet, but only the second on the air at the time (future sister station WBFF was the other). Channel 54 was originally programmed as a hybrid of business news from the Financial News Network (now part of CNBC) and SuperTV, a subscription television service. FNN programmed daytime hours, while subscription TV aired during the evening and late nights.

In the fall of 1984, WNUV-TV dropped FNN programming and slowly began to add general-entertainment programs, such as cartoons, off-network reruns, and movies, though they Super TV programming at night. In the spring of 1986, the station ended its subscription TV service and became a full-time, conventional independent station, adopting the on-air name "Baltimore 54". At that time, channel 54 had morning and afternoon children's programming similar to WBFF's Captain Chesapeake, hosted from a mock space ship by a Star Trek-like crew of characters known as the "54 Space Corps".

In 1989, WNUV-TV was bought by Abry Communications. Under its ownership, the station remained a full-time independent and picked up the broadcast rights to some Baltimore Orioles games produced by Home Team Sports. The station showed Orioles games through 2006.

In 1994, Abry merged with Sinclair Broadcast Group. However, Sinclair already owned WBFF and could not keep both stations. Accordingly, WNUV was purchased by Glencairn Ltd., headed by former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards. The Smith family, owners and founders of Sinclair (which launched WBFF in 1971) owned 97 percent of Glencairn's stock, so Sinclair effectively owned both stations. Sinclair further circumvented the rules by signing a local marketing agreement with Glencairn, under which WNUV's operations were merged with those of WBFF. In effect, Sinclair had emasculated WBFF's major rival.

WNUV was Glencairn's first station and similar deals resulted in Glencairn owning 11 stations all operated by Sinclair under LMAs. The Federal Communications Commission eventually fined Sinclair $40,000 in 2001 for illegally controlling Glencairn.

When the United Paramount Network was launched in January 1995, WNUV became its Baltimore affiliate. However, in December 1997, the station became Baltimore's WB affiliate (low-power station WMJF-LP had been the previous WB affiliate) in January 1998. UPN moved to Home Shopping Network station WHSW (channel 24), which had been purchased by UPN part-owner Chris-Craft Industries and became WUTB.

WNUV launched a 6:30 PM newscast in 1997 called UPN 54 News at 6:30 (changed to WB 54 News at 6:30 in January 1998). The newscast shared the same news set and anchors as WBFF's 10 PM newscast. In January 2005, Sinclair decided to move WNUV's 6:30 PM newscast to 5:30 PM on WBFF. The station currently airs no newscasts.

Sinclair tried to purchase WNUV outright in 2001 as part of a merger with Glencairn. However, the FCC turned down the request because Baltimore was one of six markets where Sinclair could not legally have a duopoly. The Baltimore market, despite its relatively large size (it is the 24th-largest market) has only seven full-power stations (or six, if the two Maryland Public Television stations licensed in the market are treated as one)--too few to legally permit a duopoly. The FCC requires a market to have eight unique station owners once a duopoly is formed—effectively limiting duopolies to markets with at least nine full-power stations. As a result, WNUV was one of five stations retained by Glencairn, which was renamed Cunningham Broadcasting. However, Cunningham (and WNUV) is still effectively owned by Sinclair since most of its stock is held by trusts owned by the Smith family. There is nearly uncontestable evidence that Glencairn/Cunningham has served as a corporate shell used by Sinclair to circumvent FCC ownership rules.

On January 24, 2006, the WB and UPN networks announced that they merge into a new network, known as the CW Television Network. A month later, Fox, which had bought WUTB in 2001, announced the formation of MyNetworkTV, with WUTB and the other Fox-owned UPN affiliates as the nuclei. Conventional wisdom suggested that WNUV would become Baltimore's CW affiliate. However, when The CW released the first batch of affiliates outside its core group of stations owned by Tribune and CBS, WNUV wasn't on the list. Sinclair had announced it would affiliate most of its WB and UPN affiliates with MyNetworkTV a month after that network announced its formation, leading to speculation that WNUV would revert to independent status. It wasn't until May 2, 2006, that Sinclair affiliated most of its other UPN and WB affiliates, including WNUV, with the CW. The station's branding switched in September to "The CW Baltimore". The CW Television Network commenced operations on September 18, 2006.

From January 2007 to January 2008, DirecTV carried WNUV nationally on channel 385 as the satellite provider's distant CW affiliate. It has since been replaced by WDCW in Washington, D.C..

Digital television

The station's digital channel:



WNUV-DT broadcasts on digital channel 40.

Digital channels

Channel Name Programming
54.1 / 40.1 WNUV-DT main WNUV/The CW programming

Analog-to-Digital Conversion

WNUV shut down its analog signal on February 17, 2009. [1] WNUV's digital signal remained on its pre-transition channel number, 40 [2] using PSIP to display WNUV's virtual channel as 54.



External links


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