WTAE-TV: Wikis


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Wtae 2008.png
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Branding Channel 4 (general)
Channel 4 Action News (newscasts)
Slogan 4 Said It Would (general)
Where the News Comes First (news)
Channel Digital: 51 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels 4.1 ABC
4.2 This TV
Translators 22 (UHF) (4.3) Oakland, PA
Owner Hearst Television, Inc.
(WTAE Hearst Television, Inc.)
First air date September 14, 1958
Callsign meaning Television sister to the former WCAE, now WEAE
Former channels Analog:
4 (1958-2009)
Effective power 1000 kW
Height 273 m
Facility ID 65681
Antenna coordinates 40°16′49″N 79°48′11″W / 40.28028°N 79.80306°W / 40.28028; -79.80306
Website www.thepittsburghchannel.com

WTAE-TV (Digital channel 51, displayed as PSIP virtual channel 4) is the ABC affiliate serving the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania region, and serving as a ABC affiliate for the Wheeling/Steubenville and Clarksburg/Weston, West Virginia market areas. Its transmitter is located in Buena Vista, Pennsylvania and its studios are located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. It is one the of the ABC affiliates in the United States with a higher channel allocation because of channel 51 having the highest channel allocation nowadays.



Channel 4, originally allocated to Irwin, Pennsylvania (in Westmoreland County), was moved to Pittsburgh in the mid 1950s. This came about because Pittsburgh mayor David L. Lawrence had petitioned the FCC relentlessly for a fourth VHF channel in the area. In the analog age, WTAE was thus short-spaced to other channel 4 stations in Columbus, Ohio (WCMH-TV, which is NBC), Buffalo, New York (WIVB-TV, which is CBS), and Washington, D.C. (WRC-TV, an NBC O&O), with the tower located southeast of the city as a result.

The first WTAE-TV station identification from 1958. WTAE's distinct present logo has been in use since 1973.

WTAE-TV signed on the air on September 14, 1958 as Pittsburgh's ABC affiliate. From the beginning, it has been owned by the Hearst Corporation, which purchased the station's former sister radio station, WCAE/WTAE Radio, in 1931. (The radio station is now WEAE, and is owned by ABC/Disney as part of the ESPN Radio network; ESPN is a partnership of Disney and Hearst.) WTAE is the only TV station affiliated with a major network in Pittsburgh to have not changed hands in ownership: Hearst owned 50 percent of the television station when it was launched and became its sole owner in 1962. The station itself is now run by Hearst's wholly-owned subsidiary television unit Hearst Television, of which it serves as one of the three flagship stations for the unit, alongside WBAL-TV in Baltimore and WCVB-TV in Boston.

In the early years, Channel 4 was best known in the market for its locally-originated entertainment programming, most notably the after-school children's shows:[citation needed]

In 1958, Shock Theatre premiered late at night on WTAE. The show was locally produced and hosted by Bob Drews who portrayed Sir Rodger (often misspelled as Sir Roger). Drews was a former Pittsburgh radio disc jockey who also wrote a satire magazine called Thimk. Shock Theatre featured monster movies such as The Invisible Man and Frankenstein. Drews interspersed comedic live-action skits within the movie and also was famous for his haircut, the Sir Rodger Clip. (Little is known of what became of Drews after the show left the air in the early 1960s.)

On April 24, 1980, WTAE personality Nick Perry, who hosted Bowling for Dollars and also called the lottery drawings for the Pennsylvania Lottery, fixed the PA Lottery's Daily Number so that the drawing could come up as "666". Perry would eventually serve jail time, and the drawings were moved from WTAE to WHP-TV in Harrisburg a year later. This resulted in lotteries now being audited and monitored with "witnesses" from the government and/or accounting firms hired by them, and also inspired the movie Lucky Numbers. KDKA aired the PA Lottery drawings in the Pittsburgh market after this incident all the way until 2009 when they moved back to WTAE. WTAE now has a two year contract with the Pennsylvania Lottery.

In 1986, WTAE partnered with the Salvation Army and started Project Bundle Up, an operation to make sure that children and seniors get warm clothing. WTAE has run the Project Bundle Up Auction which is an auction where local businesses donate products to be auctioned off, and the Project Bundle Up Telethon a traditional telethon where viewers call in to donate money, businesses donate money and all of the proceeds from the auction and telethon benefit the Salvation Army. In 2007, WTAE moved the auction to the Internet.

Although it was the only ABC affiliate in the region when it signed on at the time, WTAE also pre-empted and/or delayed a handful of ABC programs, most notably its daytime lineup from the 1960s to the late 1990s (one show in particular, "One Life to Live," which they passed on from its 1968 debut up until 1978, when the serial went to an hour-long format), and those that did not air on channel 4 would end up on either WPGH-TV or WPTT. Today, WTAE runs nearly the entire ABC schedule. The station cut back its Saturday morning newscast to three hours, but it still runs a news-intensive schedule, alongside its top-rated syndicated first-run talk shows. WTAE has carried Live with Regis and Kelly (and Kathie Lee) since its national debut in 1988 and Entertainment Tonight since 1989. It should be noted that for a ABC affiliate that is owned by a company that does not own a network, WTAE has the local rights to CBS Television Distribution's "Rachel Ray," "ET," "Oprah," and "Inside Edition" instead of CBS O&O KDKA, which is rare in several television markets where a network O&O would air shows produced by its sister company, since WTAE's parent company had made long-term contract deals for these programs before CBS took over syndication rights.

At various times, WTAE has also served as the ABC affiliate for the Johnstown/Altoona, Wheeling, West Virginia/Steubenville, Ohio, and Clarksburg/Weston, West Virginia television markets (all of which could receive WTAE as a grade B signal). With WTAE having long been one of ABC's strongest affiliates, both parties reportedly resisted efforts by other TV stations in those cities to obtain a full-time ABC affiliation. Since then, one station was eventually granted affiliation in Altoona (WATM-TV), while WBOY-TV in Clarksburg and WTRF-TV in Wheeling (Both owned by West Virginia Media Holdings, the former briefly being a sister station to WTAE in 2001.) launched ABC stations on one of their digital subchannels in August 2008[1] on Your ABC and ABC Ohio Valley, respectively. WTAE is still available on cable in all of those markets today. In addition to those areas, WTAE can also be seen on several out-of-market cable systems throughout northwestern and central Pennsylvania, and several locations in eastern and northeast Ohio. Today, WTAE serves as the default ABC affiliate for the Clarksburg-Weston and the Wheeling-Steubenville TV markets, both of which lack ABC stations of their own.

WTAE was also one of many ABC stations that pre-empted the special showing of Saving Private Ryan late in 2004 due to scares that the Federal Communications Commission would impose a fine on them if they had aired the World War II movie due to the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy earlier that year. It was later determined that the movie showing was not a violation of FCC regulations.

Digital TV

Video Aspect Programming
4.1 1080i 16:9 Main WTAE-TV programming / ABC HD
4.2 480i 4:3 This TV Pittsburgh

In March 2009, WTAE applied for FCC authorisation to build a 9250-watt digital broadcast translator on channel 22[2] to cover portions of the northern Pittsburgh area which are currently unable to receive channel 4's digital signal.[3] WTAE must wait for WPMY, which had been operating in analog nightlight mode after terminating regular analogue UHF 22 programming on the original February 17th deadline, to leave the channel entirely on March 19th.

On August 3, 2009, WTAE converted their traffic/weather digital subchannel into a This TV affiliate due to the success of Retro Television Network airing on WPXI-DT2.[4] The channel is known as This TV Pittsburgh.

News Operation

Like its NBC rival, WIIC-TV, Channel 4 was not a major player in terms of news coverage in those early years, as the Pittsburgh market was dominated by KDKA-TV and anchor Bill Burns. That changed, however, in 1969, when longtime KDKA radio-and-TV newscaster Paul Long was brought in, along with his KDKA meteorologist-sidekick Joe DeNardo. From then on the market was competitive[citation needed], and Long would continue to be Channel 4's lead news presence well into the 1980s before easing into a more "senior" role. WTAE was also known for the "legendary" news crew of Paul Long and Don Cannon starting in the late 1960s all the way into the 1990s.

Sports has also been a major division at WTAE. One big memory in Pittsburgh was in 1972, WTAE sportscaster Myron Cope coined the phrase "The Immaculate Reception" to describe Franco Harris' miraculous, running shoestring catch that gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a 13-7 playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders. WTAE and its channel 4 logo was immortalized in the 1979 basketball comedy film "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh," whose fictional sportscaster "Murray Sports" (Played by Harry Shearer) was also patterned after Cope. The last sports director was Andrew Stockey, who left the position in 2006 to become an news anchor. The sports department is currently headed by Guy Junker and John Meyer with Tim Benz of ESPN radio filling in occasionally.

In June 1992, the station expanded its news production, adding a Saturday morning newscast from 8 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. (matching WPXI's Saturday morning newscast of the same length which began in 1990) and a three-hour Sunday morning newscast. The station also extended its weekday early evening newscast to begin at 5 P.M., and began to air a weekday morning newscast from 5 to 7 A.M. In 1997, the station expanded its Sunday morning newscast by an hour and began to air its Saturday morning newscast from 6 to 10 A.M. Today, WTAE offers four-and-a-half hours of live news each day.

In 2002, Jean Connelly became the first woman from Western PA to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In doing so, she joined ranks with Paul Long, David Crantz, and Fred Young. Connelly is famous for producing and hosting her own talk show, The Jean Connelly Show.

WTAE unveiled a new set designed by FX Group during the 5 P.M. newscast on Tuesday, September 4, 2007. Also in 2007, WTAE started their own channel on YouTube. You can search them as WTAE-TV.

On Monday September 15, 2008 WTAE became the second station (behind WPXI) to launch local news and weather in High Definition.



Over the past decade, Pittsburgh has been a perennially competitive market for local news, with news ratings usually differing by less than a full ratings point. During the May 2008 Nielsen ratings period, WTAE had the largest audience at 5 a.m, maintained a strong lead a 5 and 6 p.m., and has also tied WPXI at 11.

Awards and Honors

In March 2008, the station won a "Freedom of Information Award" and an IRE Medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors for "pushing open the front door" of the state-run student loan agency.[5]

In April 2008, that same effort resulted in a Peabody Award for the station, in recognition of "station`s relentless legal campaign to obtain public records of a state-run student loan program" which "netted evidence of financial misconduct and pushed the state to rewrite an antiquated right-to-know law."[6]

On-air personnel



  • Wendy Bell (1998–present) - 5 & 11 PM
  • Andrew Stockey (1995–present) - 5, 6 & 11 PM
  • Mike Clark (1995–present) - 5 & 6 AM, Noon
  • Kelly Frey (2000–present) - 5 & 6 AM; general assignment reporter
  • Sally Wiggin (1980–present) - Noon
  • Michelle Wright (1994–present) - 6 PM


  • Janelle Hall (2004–present) - Saturday & Sunday mornings; general assignment reporter
  • Shannon Perrine (1999–present) - Saturday & Sunday evenings; general assignment reporter

Meteorologists (Weather Watch 4)

  • Stephen Cropper (1995–present) - (AMS) 6 & 11 PM
  • Demetrius Ivory (2005–present) - 5 & 6 AM, 5 PM
  • Erin Kienzle (2006–present) - (AMS/NWA) Sunday, Noon (Monday-Thursday)

Traffic (Traffic Watch 4)

  • Scott Stiller (2000-present)
  • Sam Hall in Sky 4 (2008-present)


  • Marcie Cipriani (2000–present)
  • Tara Edwards (2007–present)
  • Becky Emmers (2009-present) (web reporter "Plugged In" and "Link N'@")
  • Jon Greiner (2000–present)
  • Ari Hait (2006–present)
  • Ashlie Hardway (2009-present)
  • Sheldon Ingram (1992–present)
  • Bob Mayo (1994–present)
  • Jennifer Miele (2004–present) (Westmoreland County Bureau Chief)
  • Amber Nicotra (2008–present)
  • Jim Parsons (1998–present) ("Team 4 Investigations")
  • Paul Van Osdol (1999–present) ("Team 4 Investigations")

Hearst Television Washington Bureau

  • Sally Kidd - Washington bureau reporter
  • Nikole Killion - Washington bureau reporter
  • Laurie Kinney - Washington bureau reporter

Sports (Action Sports)

  • Guy Junker (1984–1990; 2006–present) - weekdays
  • John Meyer (2009-present) - weekends [7]
  • Tim Benz (2007–present) - Fill-In
  • Bill Hillgrove - "Steelers Insider" [8]

Former on-air personalities

  • Rick Andrews (1969-1974) (weather)
  • Christina Arangio (1997–2000) (weekend morning anchor/reporter) Now at WTEN-TV
  • Timyka Artist (2004–2006) (reporter), now at WPXI in Pittsburgh
  • Scott Baker (1993–2006) (anchor)
  • Melinda Basara (1995–1998) (Westmoreland County reporter), now at WBAL-TV in Baltimore
  • Jan Bohna () (children's television show host, Romper Room (died in 2005)
  • Pat Bridges () (weather)
  • Mike Brookins (2000–2005) (meteorologist)
  • Marilyn Brooks (1983–2008) (medical editor), retired
  • Susan Brozek (1988–1995) (reporter), now a Senior Producer in Local Programming & Talk Show host at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh
  • Jon Burton (2000–2008) (sports)
  • Cathy Caldwell (2005) (traffic reporter)
  • Don Cannon (1969–1995) (anchor), moved to KDKA-TV but has now left there as well
  • Frank Cariello (1989-1992) (meteorologist)
  • Tonia Caruso (1997–2001) (reporter), now serves as Comcast reporter and WQED-TV OnQ contributor
  • Nan Chapman (?-?) (weather/reporter)
  • Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins (1970–1971), (hosted Jazzbeauxz' Rehearsal, an eclectic talk and music program, 11:30PM Saturdays)
  • Jean Connelly (1960–1975), producer/host of Jean Connelly Show
  • Ed Conway (1961–1974) (sports) (died in 1974)
  • Myron Cope (1970–1995) (sports commentary) (died 2008)
  • Dave Crantz (1968–1970), (longtime station promotions director, hosted Charlie Chan Theatre, 11:30PM Saturdays)
  • Lynn Cullen (1982–1993) (feature reporter)
  • Faith Daniels (reporter)
  • Rod Daniels (-1984) (weekend anchor), now at WBAL-TV in Baltimore
  • Susan Davies (1986–1995) (meteorologist)
  • Joe DeNardo (1969–2004) (chief meteorologist) (retired)
  • Beverly DeStein (reporter)
  • Ann Devlin (1988–1991) (host of Pittsburgh's Talking)
  • Ashley DiParlo (2006–2009) ("Plugged In")
  • Beth Dolinar (1986–1995) (weekend anchor/reporter)
  • Bob Drews (1958–1962) (portrayed Sir Rodger, host of Shock Theatre, which played late-night monster movies on WTAE)
  • Whitney Drolen (2002–2004) (reporter)
  • Dave Eckert (late-80's) (reporter)
  • Jennifer Emert (1998-?) (breaking news/helicopter reporter)
  • Stu Emry (1980–1988) (reporter)
  • Debra Fox (1976–1986) (reporter/anchor)
  • Ellen Gamble (1998–2004) (traffic reporter)
  • Chris Glorioso (2001–2004) (reporter)
  • Galen Grimes (1978–1982) (weekend anchor/reporter/first medical reporter)
  • Carol Hall (1977–1984?) (anchor/reporter) http://www.carolhall.com/
  • Lonny Haskins (1986-1988) (weekend sports)
  • Michael Haynes (2008-2010) (weather fill-in) - now at KOKI
  • Bill Hillgrove (1978–1995) (sports), now the "voice" of Steelers football & Pitt men's basketball and football; also Steelers Insider on WTAE
  • Kim Hawkins (1985-1987) reporter
  • Lynn Hinds (AM Pittsburgh Host)
  • John B. Hughes (1958-?) (anchor), first channel 4 news anchor
  • Sheila Hyland (1988–1998) (weekend anchor/reporter), now runs her own media training firm
  • Carl Ide (1958–60's) (anchor)
  • Baron James (1995–2000) (weekend anchor/reporter)
  • Alan Jennings (1989–1997) (reporter), now at WPXI
  • Donna Jordan (1982-1984) (consumer reporter)
  • Mark Johnson (1995–1996) (sports)
  • Meghan Jones (2001–2006) (traffic/reporter/"Call 4 Action" reporter after Koeppen left)
  • Bob Kovachick (1986-1988) (meteorologist)
  • Susan Koeppen (2000–2004) ("Call 4 Action" reporter/weekend morning anchor), currently serves as CBS' The Early Show consumer reporter
  • Ted Koppy (1999–2002) (weekend anchor/reporter) Now at WTNH-TV
  • Brandon Lenoir (2006) (reporter)
  • Paul Long (1969–1995) (anchor) (Died in 2002)
  • Adam Lynch (1980–1995) (anchor)
  • Dick Mancini (1970's-80's) (meteorologist)
  • Jack Martin (1992–1996) (weekend morning anchor/reporter)
  • Jerry Martz (1997–2005) (meteorologist)
  • Greg McCampbell (1983–1988) (reporter)
  • Al McDowell (AM Pittsburgh Host) (Died in 1994)
  • Sam Merrill (2000–2002) (anchor/reporter) (returned to WNEM-TV in Michigan)
  • Liz Miles (1990–2000) (reporter, previously worked at KDKA-TV)
  • Cathy Milton (AM Pittsburgh Host/anchor/reporter)
  • Angie Moreschi (1992–1995) (anchor/reporter)
  • Ed Mullin (1970's) reporter (died in 1976)
  • Dave Murray (1958-late 60s) (anchor)
  • Andrea Naversen (consumer reporter) (1980-1982)
  • Joe Negri (co-host/musician)
  • Colleen Needles (1986-1987) 6 PM anchor
  • Alby Oxenreiter (1988–1996) (sports), now a sports anchor/reporter at WPXI
  • Pat Parris (1996–2000) (sports)
  • Andy Pearson (1995–1998) (anchor)
  • Nina Pineda (1996–2000) (reporter), now at WABC-TV in New York)
  • Jake Ploeger (2000–2009) (sports; anchor/reporter)
  • Tom Randles (1986–1990) (weekend anchor/reporter), now at (WSMV-TV in Nashville, TN)
  • Rod Rassman (1995–1998) (reporter)
  • Mary Ravasio () (reporter)
  • Gina Redmond (1991–1995) (reporter/weekend morning anchor); now at WVTM, Birmingham
  • Ken Rice (1988–1994) (anchor/reporter), now 5 and 11 o'clock anchor at KDKA-TV
  • Gus Rosendale (2005–2007) (reporter), Now at WPTZ-TV
  • Shiba Russell (2002–2006) (weekend anchor/reporter), now at WCVB-TV
  • Emily Ryan (2001–2004) (reporter)
  • Jack Salvatore (1985-1987) reporter
  • Stan Savran (1980–1991) (sports)
  • Aaron Saykin (2006-2009) (Call 4 Action reporter), returned to WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, NY. [1]
  • Eleanor Schano (c.1960) (weather forecaster)
  • Mike Schneider (1977–1982) (reporter/anchor), now at Bloomberg Television
  • Don Schwenneker (2000–2007) (weather) now at WBBM in Chicago
  • Jim Scott (anchor/reporter)(mid 1970's; 1984-1990)
  • Melanie Shafer (1996–2000) (anchor/reporter), now at WSAZ in Huntington, West Virginia
  • Paul Shannon (1959–1975) (host of Adventure Time)
  • Kristine Sorensen (1999–2001) (reporter), currently an anchor at KDKA-TV
  • John Steigerwald (1978–1985) (sports)
  • Hank Stohl (early '60s) (puppeteer-comic, hosted after-school Popeye 'n' Knish program, also the early 60's Hank Stohl Show (mornings) and Saturday Night Instead of the Movies)
  • Mike Stone (1998–2000) (meteorologist), now at WTOL in Toledo, Ohio.
  • Melanie Taylor (2005–2008) ("Traffic Watch 4") returned to B-94
  • Dee Thompson (1966-1974) (sports)
  • Ricki Wertz (1958–1982) (children's television show host)
  • T.J. Winick (1998–2000) (Westmoreland County reporter) Now at ABC News
  • Shawn Yancy (1996–2001) (weekend anchor/reporter) Now at WTTG-TV
  • Steve Zabriskie (-1978) (sports)
  • Yvonne Zanos (1984–1997) (reporter/consumer reporter)(Died January 8, 2010)
  • Tony Zarella (1990–1995) (sports)



  • Channel 4 Action Sports Sunday (Sundays at 11:30 P.M. - 12:00 A.M.)
    • sports talk show
  • Steelers Primetime - extended Steelers coverage during NFL season
  • Project Bundle-up Telethon, seasonal partnership with Salvation Army


Aside from local news and ABC lineup, WTAE's other offerings include Live With Regis And Kelly at 9 AM and Rachael Ray at 10 AM, Access Hollywood at 12:30 PM, The Oprah Winfrey Show at 4 PM, and Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight during the 7-to-8 PM hour.

Past programming

  • Inside Pittsburgh, hosted by Sheldon Ingram
  • The Hank Stohl Show
  • The Jean Connelly Show
  • The Johnny Majors Show
  • Junior High Quiz, sponsored by local bank Pittsburgh National (now PNC Bank)
  • Panther Pride
  • Pittsburgh's Talking
  • Project Bundle-Up Auction, moved to internet
  • Ricki & Copper
  • Romper Room
  • Shock Theatre
  • Tri-State Farmer

News/Station Presentation

Newscast titles

  • 4 Star News (1958–1970s)
  • Action News (1970s-1989)
  • WTAE 4 News (1989–1995)
  • Channel 4 Action News (HD) (1995–present)

Station Slogans

  • Four's-A-Poppin' (1964-1965)
  • Catch 4 (1975-1977; during period station used Frank Gari's "Catch 5")
  • Hello Pittsburgh (1977-1982; during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • You and Me and Channel 4 (1980-1981; localized version of the ABC ad campaign; also incorporated wth Frank Gari's Hello Pittsburgh campaign)
  • Come on Along with Channel 4 (1982–1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • We're with You on Channel 4 (1984–1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • You'll Love It! On Channel 4! (1985–1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Something's Happening on WTAE! (1988–1990; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • News 4 People (1989-early 1990s)
  • Pittsburgh is Watching WTAE! (1990–1991; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Pittsburgh's Watching WTAE! (1991–1992; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • It Must Be WTAE/If it`s WTAE, It Must Be ABC (1992–1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Joe Said it Would (1986–1995; used in weather promos for former chief meteorologist Joe DeNardo)
  • Action News is Everywhere (1995–2001)
  • Taking Action for You (2001–2004)
  • Where the News Comes First (2004–2006 and 2008–present)
  • Where YOU Come First (2006–2008)
  • WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, in HD (2008-Present)


External links


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