WSTM-TV: Wikis

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WSTM-TV
Wstm 2009.png

Wstq 2008.png
Syracuse, New York
Branding NBC 3
Action News
CW 6 (on DT2)
Slogan Live. Local.
Latebreaking.
Channels Digital: 24 (UHF)
Subchannels 3.1 NBC
3.2 The CW
3.3 Local Weather
Owner Barrington Broadcasting
(Barrington Syracuse License, LLC)
First air date February 15, 1950
Call letters’ meaning We're Syracuse
Times Mirror
(named when it
owned the station)
Sister station(s) WSTQ-LP
WTVH
Former callsigns WSYR-TV (1950-1980)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
3 (VHF, 1950-2009)
Digital: 54 (UHF)
Transmitter Power 210 kW
Height 399 m
Facility ID 21252
Transmitter Coordinates 42°56′42.9″N 76°7′5.9″W / 42.94525°N 76.118306°W / 42.94525; -76.118306
Website cnycentral.com

WSTM-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for Central New York State that is licensed to Syracuse. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 24 from a transmitter in Sentinel Heights. Owned by Barrington Broadcasting, the station is sister to low-powered CW affiliate WSTQ-LP and CBS affiliate WTVH. The latter is owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation but operated by Barrington through a joint sales agreement (a.k.a. JSA) and shared services agreement (a.k.a SSA). All three share studios on James Street in Syracuse northeast of the I-690 / I-81 interchange. Syndicated programming on WSTM includes: Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Ellen, and Dr. Phil. WSTM and WSTQ split coverage of New York Yankees games produced by the YES Network for WWOR-TV.

Through cable coverage, it serves as the de-facto NBC affiliate for the Watertown and Ithaca / Finger Lakes region of New York State. WSTM provides some news coverage of these areas. Interestingly, the station also carries substantial news stories from Utica and Herkimer County even though that area has its own affiliate, WKTV, that produces local news. WSTM's signal reached parts of southeast Ontario and was carried on the Cogeco cable system in Kingston until February 2009 when it was replaced with Buffalo's WGRZ-TV. [1] It is still (after customer protest) carried on Time Warner Cable in Ogdensburg and Gouverneur along with proposed replacement WPTZ.

Contents

Digital programming

WSTM's signal is multiplexed and at one point carried four subchannels. Due to its low-powered status, WSTQ does not operate a digital signal of its own. However, it is carried on WSTM's second digital subchannel for that purpose. WSTM-DT3 aired NBC Weather Plus, a national weather channel, which ceased operation on December 1, 2008. However, there continues to be a local weather channel known as "Action News Weather Plus". This can also be seen on Time Warner digital channel 133. [2] WSTM-DT4 aired The Tube, a 24-hour music channel. After the network ceased broadcasting, the subchannel became vacant.

On September 6, 2009, WTVH's transmitter was damaged after a power failure. While Granite Broadcasting worked to fix the signal, WSTM's third digital subchannel carried that station. [3] As of September 12, the signal has been restored. [4]

WSTM transmits from Sentinel Heights in LaFayette, New York on UHF digital channel 24:

Virtual channel Programming
3.1 main WSTM programming / NBC HD
3.2 WSTQ-LP "CW 6"
3.3 WSTM-DT3 "Action News Weather Plus"

History

The station began operations on February 15, 1950 with the call sign WSYR-TV. It was owned by Advance Publications, the Newhouse family's company, along with the Syracuse Post-Standard, Syracuse Herald-Journal, and WSYR radio (AM 570 and FM 94.5; now WYYY). It was Syracuse's second television station signing on a year and three months after WHEN-TV (now WTVH). It originally broadcast from the Kemper Building in downtown Syracuse. In 1958, WSYR-AM-FM-TV moved to new studios on James Street. Unlike most NBC affiliates in two station markets, channel 3 did not take a secondary ABC or DuMont affiliation.

WSYR-TV doubled as the NBC affiliate for Binghamton until WINR-TV, now WICZ, signed on in 1957. It also operated a satellite station in Elmira until 1980. That station was first known as WSYE-TV and is now WETM. That station is now owned by Newport Television and fed via the centralcasting facilities of Syracuse cross-town rival WSYR-TV. It still remains affiliated with NBC. The Newhouse family largely exited broadcasting in 1980 and sold WSYR-TV to Times Mirror. Since Times Mirror was not interested in the radio stations, it changed the TV station's calls to the current WSTM-TV (for Syracuse Times Mirror) and kept the James Street studios.

Under Times Mirror ownership, WSTM was sister to fellow NBC affiliate WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama (which later became an NBC O&O and is now an NBC affiliate owned by Media General), and current FOX O&O's KTVI in St. Louis, Missouri, KDFW in Dallas-Fort Worth and KTBC in Austin, Texas. In 1986, Times Mirror sold WSTM to SJL Broadcast Management, a broadcast holding company controlled by George Lilly. SJL then sold WSTM to Federal Broadcasting in 1992. That company was bought out by Raycom Media in 1997. The WSYR-TV calls returned to Syracuse after Clear Channel Communications purchased WIXT (formerly WNYS-TV), the aforementioned ABC affiliate, as part of the Ackerley Group acquisition in 2000. The company changed WIXT's calls to match WSYR-AM which it had owned for several years.

On March 5, 1996, WSTM General Manager Charles Bivins died after collapsing at the Syracuse Track and Racquet Club. He was 48, having suffered a mild heart attack two years earlier. Bivins was also a visiting professor at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, teaching television programming. In 2003, Raycom Media purchased Syracuse's low-powered UPN affiliate WAWA-LP from Venture Technologies, LLC, for an undisclosed amount of money. The station had its call letters changed to WSTQ-LP and was given the on-air branding of "UPN 6, The Q". The WSTQ call letters were derived from WSTM. Raycom used "6" to reflect its cable slot as a result of the station becoming offered on the basic lineup of Time Warner cable on July 1, 2003.

Before the purchase of WAWA, Time Warner had refused to carry it. The same "must-carry" rules that kept WAWA off the cable system eventually got WSTQ on. The must-carry rules give full-powered stations the option of "retransmission consent", or requiring compensation from cable systems as a condition of carrying a station's signal. In this case, full-powered WSTM can require cable systems like Time Warner to offer low-powered WSTQ on their systems as a condition of carrying WSTM. On March 27, 2006, Raycom Media announced the sale of WSTM and WSTQ to Barrington Broadcasting. The sale was finalized that August. On March 2, 2009 as a result of low ratings and slow advertising sales, it was announced that WTVH was entering into a joint sales agreement and shared services agreement with rival WSTM. [5][6][7] Initially, the station continued to operate out of their own location but was eventually merged into WSTM's facilities that are a block away. WTVH was also integrated into WSTM's website. [8] On June 14, 2009 two days after the digital transition, the station's digital signal began broadcasting on UHF channel 24. [9] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continue to display WSTM-DT's virtual channels as "3".

News operation

WSTM's nightly 6 o'clock news open.

News on this station was originally ten minutes long and was not expanded to thirty minutes until the 1960s. There is currently six hours each weekday and three hours of local broadcasts on weekends. For the past two decades, WSTM's newscasts have been second overall in the viewership ratings behind WSYR. As of July 2008, that station remains number one in ratings in Central New York for the whole day-part. However, they are in a tight battle with WSTM for weekday mornings and weeknights at 11. WSYR makes up for this with huge leads during the week at Noon, 5, 5:30, and 6. In two periods during its history, this station have used the popular Action News branding. The station's on-air slogan, "Live. Local. Latebreaking.", has been used since 1998.

In 1996, the station began producing a nightly 10 o'clock newscast known as FOX 68 News at 10 on the area's affiliate WSYT. Original anchors were Chuck Plumpton and Betsy Sykes with Wayne Mahar providing weather forecasts. A sports anchor, Joe Brown, was added later. He was replaced by Joe Zone and Amy Kellogg replaced Betsy Sykes on the anchor desk. Further shuffling of the staff moved Joe Zone to news anchor and Jon Herz was hired as Sports Director. In 2000, WSTM declined to renew their agreement to provide WSYT's news programming and that station partnered with WTVH to keep local news broadcasts on-the-air.

When WSTQ became a sister station, WSTM began producing a weeknight 10 o'clock newscast called Action News at 10 on UPN 6, The Q. This was expanded to seven days a week on January 8, 2005. On January 22, it expanded its own news operation with the addition of weekend morning newscasts. The WSTQ news was renamed Action News at 10 on CW 6 on September 18, 2006 to correspond with that station's network switch from UPN to The CW.

After becoming operated by WSTM, WTVH shut down its news department. This resulted in the elimination of forty jobs at that station. Michael Benny was retained to solo-anchor the weeknight newscasts on that station from their studios using other personalities from WSTM for all other content. However, WTVH retains separate branding, music, and graphic aspects of the weeknight news that airs from 5 to 6:30 and 11 to 11:35. Each station has its own managing editor and there are times where a reporter and one camera person will report a story for WSTM and WTVH. There are also instances when teams from each station are sent to cover a story. In October 2009, Barrington Broadcasting began to produce separate weeknight newscasts on WTVH from a new secondary set at WSTM's facilities. All other newscasts on WTVH are simulcasted from WSTM. The only broadcast that does not air is this station's weekend morning news.

The company may launch new broadcasts on WTVH in new time periods including time slots that WSYR and WSTM do not currently air local news. [8][10] It remains to be seen if will ever happen. The system set up by WTVH to use all videotaped footage (including interviews) shot by WSTM has been filled with problems with staffers from this station walking to WTVH's old studios to deliver raw video to be edited for their newscasts. Viewership has declined steeply since becoming operated by WSTM with the rumor mill turning wildly that eventually that station will stop broadcasting local news altogether. None of the separate broadcasts on that station supply video to the shared website of WSTM and WTVH. WSYR has seen a noticeable increase in viewership as a result of being the only other local news department in the area.

WSTM was the first in Syracuse use weather radar in 1985 and launched their own system in 2000. This consisted of their own radar in a network with WHEC-TV / SUNY Brockport in the Rochester area as well as WIVB-TV in Buffalo. However, both WIVB and WSTM have since shut down their individual radars. During current weather segments, WSTM uses three National Weather Service Doppler radars in Montague, Binghamton, and Buffalo. On-air this is known as "Live Triple Doppler" and the radar beams are superimposed over the on-screen image.

News/Station Presentation

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Newscast Titles

  • Channel 3 News (1980s-1993)
  • TV-3 Action News (1993-1996)
  • Action News 3 (1996-present)

Station Slogans

  • The News Station (1984-1993)
  • More News, More Often (1993-1996)
  • Central New York's News Leader (2000-2006)
  • Live. Local. Latebreaking. (2006-present)
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News music packages

  • KTLA News"
  • "The News Image" and "The News Image Plus"
  • "Hello News"
  • "Move Closer To Your World"
  • "NBC Stations"
  • "The NBC Collection"

News team

Current personalities

Anchors

  • Andrea Bullard - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Megan Coleman - weekday mornings and Noon
    • health reporter
  • Jackie Robinson - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11
  • Matt Mulcahy - weeknights at 5, 6, 10, and 11
  • Laura Hand - weekend mornings and Community Affairs Director
    • "3 in Touch", "Uniquely Central New York", and "Central New York in Focus" segments producer
  • Lisa Spitz - weekend evenings and reporter

Action News Weather Plus Meteorologists

  • Wayne Mahar (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
    • Thursday and Friday at 10
  • Peter Hall - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Matt Stevens - weekend mornings
  • Mike Brookins (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekend evenings and Saturday through Wednesday at 10

Sports

  • John Evenson - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
  • Niko Tamurian - weekend evenings and reporter

Reporters

  • Jim Kenyon - Chief Investigator
  • Jeremy Miller - weekday morning traffic
  • Brandon Roth
  • Kristen Drew
  • Alex Dunbar
  • Hailey Hinds
  • Joe Roetz

Past personalities

References

External links


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