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WPGH-TV
WPGHFOX53.png
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Branding Fox 53
Channel 11 News
Channel Digital: 43 (UHF)
Subchannels 53.1 Fox
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WPGH Licensee, LLC)
First air date July 14, 1953
Callsign meaning PittsburGH
Sister station(s) WPMY
Former callsigns WKJF-TV (1953-1954)
Former channels 53 (UHF analog, 1953-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1953-1954, 1969-1971, and 1974-1986)
Silent (1954-1969, 1971-1974)
Effective power 1,000 kW
Height 302.8 m
Facility ID 73875
Antenna coordinates 40°29′42.5″N 80°0′16.2″W / 40.495139°N 80.0045°W / 40.495139; -80.0045
Website wpgh53.com

WPGH-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 43 from a transmitter at its studios on Ivory Avenue. They can also be seen on Comcast channel 7 and in high definition on digital channel 213. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group [1], the station is sister to MyNetworkTV affiliate WPMY and the two shares studios. Syndicated programming on WPGH includes: Scrubs, Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men, and Deal or No Deal.

Contents

History

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1950s-1960s

The station originally signed-on July 14, 1953 as WKJF-TV. However, financial woes and the fact that it was a UHF station competing against the more established VHF station WDTV-TV (now KDKA-TV) forced the station to sign-off in August 1954. The station returned to air under new owners U.S. Communications in February 1969 as WPGH-TV. However, despite a well-programmed lineup, financial problems continued to plague the station again forcing it off-the-air on August 16, 1971. During this brief period, WPGH offered Japanese cartoons dubbed into English including: Speed Racer, Marine Boy, Ultraman, and Prince Planet.

1970s-1980s

Under the technical leadership of Chief Engineer Robert Boyd, broadcast engineer James G. Miller, and others the station was repaired and updated in 1973. WPGH was finally back on-air for good on January 14, 1974 after being sold again in 1973. The deep bass and melodious voice of William C. Trushel II was often heard during station identification and other audio spots. They offered cartoons, some off-network dramas such as The Untouchables, old movies, religious programming like The 700 Club, and low-budget off-network sitcoms. A locally-produced Polka dance show was filmed in-house in their studios. The station also served as a secondary affiliate for CBS, ABC, and NBC when it came to picking up shows that KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV, and WIIC-TV (now WPXI) passed on.

Meredith Corporation purchased WPGH in 1978 and added some first-run syndicated talk shows to the station. It also gradually added more recent off-network sitcoms. With WPTT (now WPMY) now in the competition, WPGH put in very high bids for programming and even overpaid for it in order to prevent it from ending up on WPTT. That practice, however, caused the station to become unprofitable despite its high ratings. As a result, Meredith put WPGH up for sale in 1985. Sinclair, owner of WPTT, put in a bid so it could combine assets and sell WPTT to the Home Shopping Network. However, it was outbid by Lorimar-Telepictures which took over the station in 1986. WPGH became Pittsburgh's Fox affiliate on October 6, 1986 and was sold to Renaissance Broadcasting in 1987 after Lorimar-Telepictures reduced the purchase price from $35 million to $21.5 million dollars. [2].

1990s-2000s

As a Fox affiliate, WPGH continued to receive very high ratings but its practice of overpaying for programming also continued to keep the station unprofitable. It was put up for sale again in 1990 and this time Sinclair successfully acquired the station. However, the group struggled to obtain financing so it worked out a deal to sell WPTT to its General Manager and longtime employee Eddie Edwards. Sinclair took over WPGH in Fall 1991 and moved the best programming on WPTT's schedule to WPGH. This station then added more first-run syndicated talk and reality shows. WPGH and WPTT (the latter having changed its call letters to WCWB) moved into the same building in 1997 and the two became officially co-owned by Sinclair in 2000 after the FCC relaxed its rule allowing one company to own two television stations in the same market.

By 2002, WPGH was no longer running cartoons, with Fox Kids being removed from the weekday lineup around the country. It focused now on court shows, talk shows, reality shows, and off-network sitcoms along with Fox programming. Sinclair and the network cut a six-year affiliation contract extension for Sinclair's nineteen Fox affiliates. As a result, the affiliation will remain on WPGH through at least March 2012. They signed-off their analog signal as part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion on February 17, 2009 [3] even though the deadline had been extended to June 12. [4]

It was one of three stations in the Pittsburgh market to still use the original sign-off date alongside sister station WPMY and WQED-owned WQEX. Both WPGH and WPMY kept their analog signals up for some time after airing a looping program from the National Association of Broadcasters about the DTV transition as part of the SAFER Act before signing-off completely on March 19. Because of the early sign-off, this made WPGH one of the only stations in the channel 52-69 spectrum participating in the SAFER Act because the spectrum would need to be cleared up immediately after June 12 for other uses.

News operation

Their nightly news open.

Throughout its history, WPGH has aired various local news shows. On January 28, 1997, the station added a prime time broadcast, known as the Fox 53 Ten O'Clock News, to compete with WPXI's Pittsburgh Cable News Channel (a.k.a. PCNC). In August 2001, WNPA (now WPCW) began airing the market's third 10 P.M. newscast produced by KDKA. In 2003, Sinclair converted WPGH's show to the now defunct, controversial News Central format. This resulted in the loss of their local weather operations replaced with meteorologists stationed at News Central headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland. National news and some sports highlights also originated from News Central.

On January 12, 2006, WPGH and WPXI entered into an news share agreement where the latter would produce a nightly 10 o'clock newscast on this channel. All of their former news staff, except for sportscaster Alby Oxenreiter, were laid-off. January 30 saw the debut of Channel 11 News on Fox 53 at 10 while PCNC began airing a new 7 P.M. broadcast. On October 6, 2007, WPXI upgraded their newscast to high definition with the WPGH show being included. Every night except Saturday, there is a fifteen minute sports highlight show on this station known as Ox on Fox Sports Extra.

Newscast titles

  • TV 53 News (1974-1981)
  • News 53 (1981-1986)
  • Fox 53 Ten O'Clock News (1997-2006)
  • Channel 11 News on Fox 53 at 10 (2006-present)

News team

Channel 11 News on Fox 53 at 10
(Weeknights 10 to 10:45)

  • Anchors:
    • Darieth Chisolm
    • David Johnson
  • Weather:
    • Julie Bologna
  • Reporter:
    • Timyka Artist

(Saturdays 10 to 10:30 and Sundays 10 to 10:45 P.M.)

  • Anchors:
    • Gordon Loesch
    • Stacia Erdos
  • Weather:
    • Kevin Benson
  • Sports:
    • Bill Phillips - Saturdays
  • Reporter:
    • Timyka Artist

Ox on Fox Sports Extra
(Sunday through Friday nights 10:45 to 11)

  • Host:
    • Alby Oxenreiter
  • Reporters:
    • Rich Walsh
    • Bill Phillips

WPGH features additional news personnel from WPXI. See that article for a complete listing.

Past personalities

Anchors

  • Sheila Hyland - Managing Editor seen weeknights
  • Katie Sesny - weekends
  • Jennifer Gladstone - national news
  • Morris Jones - national news
  • Jay Harris

Meteorologists

  • Vytas Reid - Chief seen weeknights
  • Megan Glaros - now at WCBS-TV
  • Chuck Bell
  • Elizabeth Hart
  • Matt Morano
  • Scott Padgett

Sports

  • Jonas Schwartz - Director seen weeknights
  • Kurt Angle - weeknights
  • Mark Armstrong - weekends

Reporters

  • Mark E. Hyman - "The Point" segment producer
  • Cyndy McGrath
  • Kerry McQuone
  • Andy Briggs
  • Kym Gable

Photographers

  • Dale Eaton - Chief
  • Kirk Manson
  • Dennis Burke
  • Christina Dunmyer
  • Steve Banfield
  • Ron Skaggs
  • Dan Vojtko

References

External links


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