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Syracuse / Utica /
Ithaca, New York
City of license Syracuse
Branding CBS 5 (general)
CBS 5 News (weeknights)
Action News (during simulcasted WSTM shows)
Slogan News That Matters Most (weeknights)
Live. Local. Latebreaking. (during simulcasted WSTM shows)
Channel Digital: 47 (UHF)
Subchannels 5.1 CBS
Owner Granite Broadcasting Corporation
(operated through JSA and SSA by Barrington Broadcasting)
(WTVH License, Inc.)
First air date December 1, 1948
Callsign meaning TeleVision H
(from its time as WHEN)
Sister station(s) WSTM-TV
Former callsigns WHEN-TV (1948-1976)
Former channels 8 (VHF analog, 1948-1961)
5 (VHF analog, 1961-2009)
Former affiliations NBC (1948-1950)
ABC (1948-1962)
DuMont (1948-1955)
all secondary [1]
Effective power 500 kW
Height 290.1 m
Facility ID 74151
Antenna coordinates 42°57′19.3″N 76°6′33.3″W / 42.955361°N 76.10925°W / 42.955361; -76.10925

WTVH is the CBS-affiliated television station for Central New York State that is licensed to Syracuse. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 47 from a transmitter in Sentinel Heights. Owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation, the station is operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by Barrington Broadcasting. This makes it sister to NBC affiliate WSTM-TV and low-powered CW affiliate WSTQ-LP. All three share studios on James Street (a.k.a. NY 290) in Syracuse northeast of downtown and the I-690 / I-81 interchange. Syndicated programming on WTVH includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, TMZ on TV, and Martha Stewart.



WTVH debuted on December 1, 1948 as WHEN-TV with an analog signal on VHF channel 8. It went on-the-air as Syracuse's first television station and the first owned-and-operated by the Meredith Corporation. The company had entered broadcasting only two years before, after buying WAGE (620 AM) and changing the calls to WHEN. The station has always been a CBS station, though at first they also carried secondary affiliations with ABC and DuMont. When WSYR-TV (now WSTM-TV) signed-on in 1950, WHEN only had ABC as a secondary until WNYS-TV (later WIXT and now WSYR-TV) signed-on in 1962. Their affiliation with DuMont ended in 1956 when that network ceased operations.

In July 1961, the station moved to VHF channel 5, swapping channel locations with WROC-TV in Rochester. In 1976, Meredith sold WHEN radio to Park Communications, but kept WHEN-TV. Since the radio station kept the WHEN calls, Meredith had to change channel 5's call sign. It originally wanted the new call letters WTVF (TV Five, referring the station's on-air identity), but those went to the former WLAC-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. At this point, Meredith chose WTVH as the new calls, with H being a link to its WHEN heritage.

Logo used from 1996 to 2002, under the "WTVH 5" branding.

In June 1993, Meredith announced the sale of WTVH and sister station KSEE-TV in Fresno, California to Granite Broadcasting with the sale closing on December 23 of that year. With that deal, WTVH became Granite's oldest television station based on the date and time the station began its broadcasting operation. The company would soon increase its Northeast holdings with their purchase of WKBW-TV in Buffalo in 1995 and WBNG-TV in Binghamton in July 2006. As part of the WBNG purchase, Les Vann (formerly President and General Manager of WTVH) was promoted to Executive Vice President of Central and Southern New York operations with regional responsibilities at both WBNG and WTVH. At the same time, Matthew Rosenfeld was promoted to Vice President and Station Manager of this channel after holding the General Sales Manager position since 2004.

Logo used from 2002 to 2005, under the "5 On Your Side" branding.

WTVH was featured in the film Bruce Almighty in 2003. It is portrayed as the rival station of WKBW in Buffalo, mainly because the common ownership of both stations made gaining rights to use them in the movie easier. It is also said that WKBW's real-life rival, WIVB-TV, refused to allow their branding to be used in the film, resulting in WTVH being substituted.

On December 22, 2006, Nancy Duffy (general assignment reporter for WSYR) died. She had been away from work since August. Throughout her career, Nancy led the way for women in journalism. She became the first woman police reporter in Central New York after joining the Syracuse Herald-Journal in 1966. She was Syracuse’s first female television reporter when she moved to WHEN in 1967. She became the first woman to join the Syracuse Press Club and later served as its President. In 1970, Nancy served as press secretary at Syracuse City Hall. She returned to channel 5 after a year and moved to WSYR as a reporter and weekday morning anchor in 1977.

In April 2008, Matthew A. Rosenfeld was appointed to the position of President and General Manager of WTVH and its Binghamton sister stations (WBNG and "WBXI"). On April 6, 2008, Jean Daugherty died at age 84. She was known to many baby boomer children as "The Play Lady" on this station's locally produced children program, The Magic Toy Shop, from 1955 to 1982. Jean wrote more than 6,000 episodes of the program, which when it ended its run, was the longest running local kid show in the country.

On June 12, 2009, WTVH ceased analog television service on VHF channel 5. It remained on UHF channel 47 after the transition.[2] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continue to display their virtual channel as 5.

On September 6, 2009, its transmitter was damaged after a power failure. While Granite Broadcasting worked to fix the signal, WSTM's third digital subchannel (normally a 24-hour local weather channel) carried WTVH.[3] WSTM-DT3 also broadcasts from a transmitter in Sentinel Heights. This could also be seen on Time Warner digital channel 133. As of September 12, their signal was restored, although as late as November 12 over-the-air viewers continued to experience breakup of the signal.[4]



On March 2, 2009 as a result of low ratings and slow advertising sales, it was announced that WTVH was entering into joint sales and shared services agreements with rivals WSTM and WSTQ.[5][6][7] Initially, this station continued to operate out of their own facilities on James Street, but they eventually moved into WSTM's studios a block away.[8] WTVH's website was not updated after the announcement and was eventually integrated with that station's web address. Ironically, the original holders of the WTVH calls from 1953 to 1965, WHOI in Peoria, Illinois, had an equivalent deal announced the very same day between the same two companies. That Barrington-owned station is now managed by WTVH's Granite sister station WEEK-TV.[9] WTVH's studios were put up for lease in the Summer but so far no takers have come forward.

Utica market

Since 1956, when the network ended a secondary affiliation with WKTV after a dispute, WHEN-TV/WTVH has also served as the de-facto CBS affiliate for the majority of the Utica television market namely Herkimer County and that area's portion of Oneida County (Otsego County has WBNG as its default). In past years, WTVH was extremely protective of this status, having barred current ABC WUTR from affiliating with CBS on at least one occasion. Under Granite's ownership, this status has not necessarily been taken advantage of in terms of advertising and targeting towards the Utica market. Portions of that area lost access to WTVH's over-the-air broadcasts as a result of the 2009 digital television transition.[10]

NFL controversy

In 1997, CBS gained the rights to the American Football Conference of the NFL. The league determined that portions of Yates County, a fairly narrow location only a few miles wide at certain points, was within 75 miles (121 km) of Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills. That area is on the far western fringe of the Syracuse television market, and it has bounced between the Syracuse and Rochester markets a couple of times. Therefore, WTVH is forced to blackout Buffalo Bills games if they do not sell out. With this station's control over the Utica market, unless the Bills are hosting an NFC team or the game is on Sunday or Monday nights, it would be blacked out there as well. This was not the case when NBC held the rights to AFC games. WSTM was allowed to broadcast Bills games even when they did not sell out. However, the NFL and Bills apparently had not checked the regional television market boundaries for a number of years before the switch from NBC to CBS. Bills games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario in Canada are not subject to blackout restrictions in Syracuse as no part of the area is within 75 miles (121 km) of Toronto.

News operation

Their weeknight news logo.

Ever since the 1990s, WTVH's newscasts have struggled in the Nielsen ratings, running a distant third behind WSYR and WSTM. This precipitous decline in its local news viewership contributed to Meredith's decision to sell the station in 1993. Even the strength of CBS's prime time network programming failed to lift them out of the ratings basement.

In 2000, WSTM declined to renew their agreement to provide a nightly 10 o'clock broadcast for Fox affiliate WSYT. Instead, they started airing a weeknight prime time show on WSTQ-LP. As a result, WSYT partnered with WTVH to keep the broadcasts on-air. Now known as Fox 68 Eyewitness News at 10, this was eventually joined by an hour-long weekday morning newscast called Fox 68 Eyewitness News at 7. In April 2006, WTVH ceased the production of news programming on WSYT in order to focus on its own third place ranked newscasts. However, the 10 P.M. news was WTVH's most successful, soundly beating WSTQ.

After becoming operated by WSTM, the station shut down its news department. This resulted in the elimination of forty jobs at the station. However, it retained two news editors and anchor Michael Benny. He continued to solo-anchor weeknight newscasts on WTVH at their studios, using other personalities from WSTM and their facilities for all other content. As of November 2009, Benny is the only employee who remained. There is very little difference between the news offered by both stations and on the weeknights, except for different colors and graphics; most of the stories are the same on both stations. They simulcast every WSTM newscast except for weekend mornings.

WTVH's live trucks were moved to WKBW, another Granite station, which is losing viewership and laying off staff as well. They no longer provide live coverage of any breaking news event. Neither WTVH or WSTM have attempted to offer news shows outside traditional time slots to compete with WSYR (such as weekdays at 11 A.M. or weeknights at 4 and 7) despite a plan originally announced. Viewership has steeply declined on channel 5 since becoming operated by WSTM, with the rumor mill turning wildly that eventually they will stop broadcasting local news altogether.

The negative publicity WTVH received from shedding its workforce and closing down its broadcast center continues to be felt to this day, raising speculation CBS will eventually move its affiliation to another station in the Syracuse market. Meanwhile, WSYR has seen a noticeable increase in viewership in their newscasts, as they are now the only other local news operation in Syracuse.

Newscast titles

  • NewsCenter 5 (mid 1970s-1993)
  • WTVH 5 News (1993–1996)
  • News 5 (1996–1999)
  • Eyewitness News 5 (1999–2002)
  • 5 On Your Side (2002–2005)
  • CBS 5 News (2005–present)
  • Action News (2009–present, during WSTM-produced newscasts)

Station slogans

  • "You've Got a Friend on TV 5" (early 1980s-1986)
  • "Stand Up and Tell'em You're from Syracuse" (1986–1989, used during period station used Frank Gari's "Turn To News")
  • "Your News for the '90s" (1989–1991)
  • "The Look of Syracuse is Channel 5" (1991-1992, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • "On Your Side" (2002–2005)
  • "Central New York's First News" (2005–2009)
  • "News That Matters Most" (2009–present)
  • "Live. Local. Latebreaking." (2009–present, during newscasts simulcast from WSTM)

News team


  • Andrea Bullard - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Megan Coleman - weekday mornings and Noon
    • health reporter
  • Michael Benny - weeknights and reporter
  • Lisa Spitz - weekends and reporter


  • Wayne Mahar (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Peter Hall - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Mike Brookins (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekends


  • John Evenson - Director seen weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Niko Tamurian - weekends and reporter


  • Laura Hand - Community Affairs Director
    • "3 in Touch", "Uniquely Central New York", and "Central New York in Focus" segments producer
  • Jim Kenyon - Chief Investigative
  • Brandon Roth
  • Kristen Drew
  • Alex Dunbar
  • Hailey Hinds
  • Joe Roetz

Past personalities

The following personnel made up the final news team at the station when it eliminated their news department.


  • Keith Kobland - weekday mornings and Noon (now at WSYR)
  • Donna Adamo - weeknights at 5, 6, and 11
  • Michael Benny - Executive Producer seen weeknights at 5:30 and 6 (retained)
  • Chuck Plumpton - weekends and multimedia journalist


  • Tom Hauf - Chief seen weeknights (now at WSYR)
  • John DiPasquale - weekday mornings and Noon (now at WXXA-TV)
  • John Gerard - weekends and multimedia journalist
  • Thomas Esterguard - fill-in (now at WXXA)


  • Kevin Maher - Director seen weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Rishi Barran - weekends and reporter

Multimedia Journalists

  • Jon Dougherty
  • Haley Hinds (now at WINK-TV)
  • Angelique Piccolo
  • Joe Roetz
  • Catherine Hawley (now at WRIC-TV8
  • Megan Eaton
  • Jason Douglas

These people were also seen on the station at some point in time.

  • Liz Ayers, now of WCNY-TV (1986–2006)
  • Rishi Barran, now of WBBH-TV/WZVN-TV
  • Joe Bartosik, now of WeatherBug (2001–2005)
  • Andy Brigham
  • Mark Cooper (?-?)
  • Ron Curtis, deceased 2001 (1959–2000)
  • Steve Cyphers, reporter with ESPN, was Sports Director in the mid 1980s
  • Susan Davies, now of KOAA-TV
  • Tracy Davidson, now of WCAU-TV (?-1996)
  • Kristin Donnelly, now of News 12 Long Island (2004–2007)
  • John Eves, now owner of WXHC radio (?-?)
  • John Fisher (?-?)
  • Steve Flamisch, now of WRGB-TV (2006–2008)
  • Maureen Green (1983–2007)
  • Jamie Guirola, now of WKMG-TV (2002–2004)
  • Catherine Hawley
  • Kathleen Hessert, anchorwoman (circa 1970s) now a sports media consultant
  • Jim Holland, anchor and later News Director
  • Bill Carey reporter, executive producer and news director, now at News 10 Now
  • Rich Isome, reporter/sports anchor
  • Bob Kirk, anchor, works for Entercom radio stations in Rochester, NY doing morning newsbreaks
  • Frank Kracher, left station due to TBI (2005–2007)
  • Art James, longtime reporter and program host (deceased)
  • Carrie Lazarus, now of WSYR-TV
  • Anne Lilly, anchorwoman, (1977–1982) Left to join Satellite News Channel
  • Brian MacGorman, sports anchor
  • Lyra Manning, now of WBTW-TV (?-?)
  • Kai Maxwell, anchor
  • Chris May, reporter/weekend anchor
  • Maureen McCann, now of News 8 Austin (2004–2006)
  • Don Morrow, program host and voiceover announcer, pioneering newscaster 1948-49
  • Matt Mulcahy, (1997–2005)
  • David Muir, now of ABC News, anchored at the station in the mid-late 1990s
  • Kae Newman, reporter (early 1980s)
  • Kathy Orr, now of KYW-TV(?-1998
  • Angelique Piccolo
  • Janelle Reichert, last worked at KREM-TV (2005–2007). Currently working for Central Florida News 13 in Orlando, FL as Janelle Jordan.
  • Al Roker, weather and feature reporter for NBC's The Today Show, was weekend weatherman at the station from 1974–1976, while attending the State University of New York at Oswego
  • Martha Sharan, co-host "PM Magazine" (1980–1982) now a media consultant, Atlanta, GA.
  • Marti Skold, weathercaster
  • Jack Slater, weatherman and co-host "PM Magazine" (circa 1970s)
  • Joe Sotille, weatherman (late 1970s - early 80s)
  • Donna Speziale, deceased 2001
  • Larry Sparano, weekend anchor, now of WICZ-TV (?-?)
  • Mike Tirico, ESPN and ABC Sports play-by-play announcer; ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer starting in 2006. Was the sports director at WTVH (late 80s-Early 90's)


External links


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