Plattsburgh, New York
|City of license||Burlington|
|Branding||ABC 22 (general)
Fox 44 Local News
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 22 (PSIP)
|Translators||W09BB 9 Schroon Lake, NY
W55AI 55 Lake Placid, NY
W63AD 63 Rutland
|Owner||Lambert Broadcasting of Burlington, LLC
(operated through LMA by
Smith Media, LLC)
|First air date||August 19, 1968|
|Call letters’ meaning||Vermont / New York|
|Former callsigns||WEZF-TV (1971-1982)|
|Former channel number(s)||22 (UHF analog, 1968-2009)|
|Transmitter Power||10 kW|
WVNY is the ABC-affiliated television station for the state of Vermont, except Bennington and Windham Counties, and the North Country of New York State that is licensed to Burlington. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 from a transmitter on Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak. Owned by Lambert Broadcasting of Burlington, the station is operated by Smith Media, LLC through a local marketing agreement (a.k.a LMA). This makes it a sister station to Fox affiliate WFFF-TV and the two share studios on Mountain View Drive in Colchester.
Syndicated programming on WVNY includes: Family Feud, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, and Everybody Loves Raymond. On cable, they can be seen on channel 4 on Comcast in Vermont and Charter in New York State. On Vidéotron in Montreal, it can be seen on channel 22. It can also be seen in that city on Illico channel 51 and in high definition on digital channel 651. Like most other stations in the Burlington / Plattsburgh market, WVNY has substantial viewership in Southern Quebec, Canada. This includes Montreal which is ten times larger than the entire viewership of their American coverage area combined.
In addition to its main signal, WVNY operates three analog repeaters.
|Call sign||Channel||City of license||Licensee||Transmitter location|
|W09BB||9||Schroon Lake, New York||town of Scroon Lake||northeast of town near airport|
|W55AI||55||Lake Placid, New York||Lambert Broadcasting||center of town|
|W63AD||63||Rutland, Vermont||Lambert Broadcasting||Pico Peak in Killington|
WVNY began broadcasting on August 19, 1968. It was the first station in the area to air live broadcasts in color. In 1971, they switched call letters to WEZF-TV to match its sister FM radio station. In 1982, the calls switched back to WVNY. The station maintained studios on Shelburne Road (a.k.a. U.S. 7) in South Burlington. WVNY was the host station for the 1980 Winter Olympics and the famous Miracle on Ice ice hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union. For many years it had to compete against fellow ABC affiliate WMTW-TV in Portland, Maine whose transmitter on Mount Washington covered most of Vermont. That station had been the ABC affiliate of record for the market until channel 22 signed-on and stayed on many of the area's cable systems well into the 1980s.
During the 1980s until 1995, WVNY dropped ABC's General Hospital in favor of cartoons and aired Boston Red Sox baseball games on Friday nights. Viewers could still see General Hospital on CFCF-TV in Montreal. For a time, WVNY even aired CFL football games. During the 1990s, the station frequently dropped network programming in favor of infomercials. As a result, several ABC shows were never seen in Montreal. Before WVNY was purchased by Lambert Broadcasting, it would pre-empt Jimmy Kimmel Live for the same purpose (at first only the last half hour of the show but later the whole hour). Since the rights to Jimmy Kimmel Live in Canada were owned by CHUM Limited on its formerly-owned Citytv system (although Citytv is owned by Rogers Media since CHUM Limited was dissolved into CTVglobemedia), which owned no television stations in Montreal, the show was not viewable there without digital cable or satellite.
In 2004, WVNY became a sister station to WFFF after Lambert Broadcasting acquired WVNY and entered into a local media agreement (a.k.a. LMA) with Smith Media, the owner of WFFF. That company then moved WVNY into WFFF's Colchester facilities. WVNY-DT on channel 13 became the first VHF high definition station in the area when it signed on-air in 2006. The station became digital-only effective February 17, 2009. On that date, WVNY-DT remained on its current pre-transition channel assignment, VHF channel 13, identifying as channel 22.1 via PSIP. They have had difficulty achieving equivalent coverage with its digital signal compared to analog channel 22 raising concerns that some parts of Vermont will be left without a full-power ABC affiliate. This is now the case for Enosburg, Vermont in Franklin County. Channel 22 was given to WCAX-TV for its digital signal position. For viewers in Central Vermont, WVNY operates a low-powered analog repeater from Pico Peak in Killington (W63AD channel 63) that is still active after the transition. The other two New York analog repeaters also still work.
WVNY has made several attempts at airing newscasts but none of them have ever made any headway in the ratings against CBS affiliate WCAX and NBC affiliate WPTZ. Besides the difficulties of being the youngest network affiliate in the market, it was a UHF station in an area that is very mountainous. Those stations usually do not get good reception in rugged terrain. WVNY's last and best attempt at operating a news department began in 1999 and its newscasts were known as ABC 22 News. However due to financial troubles, news production was shut down on September 12, 2003. This resulted in the termination of 25 newscast related personnel. From that point, WCAX and WPTZ operated well established local news operations. WCAX has traditionally had a Vermont focus in coverage while WPTZ tends to cover more from New York State.
In 2005 after WVNY moved into WFFF's studios, Smith Media made an announcement that it was planning to start a news department for the two stations. After the creation of The CW and WFFF airing that network's programming at 10 P.M., there was some doubt as to the status of the WFFF and WVNY news department launch. In mid-July 2007, planning for a nightly 10 o'clock broadcast on WFFF started with the posting of news department related jobs on that station's website. This development was related to The CW being moved to WFFF-DT2 instead of airing in a delayed manner at 10 on the main channel.
On November 26, advertisements started appearing on WFFF and WVNY for the launch of the 10 o'clock show (known as Fox 44 Local News at 10) which happened on December 3. From the start, WFFF's news set has been using remote controlled high definition cameras meaning they were the first to offer local news in high definition. Until August 2009, WCAX aired its local newscasts in widescreen 16x9 standard definition but that was not true high definition. WFFF's 10 o'clock production is not the first in the market because back on July 16, 2007, WCAX began producing a weeknight 10 o'clock newscast. This can be seen on their 24-hour local weather channel.
On March 3, 2008, WFFF began to produce a weeknight 7 o'clock newscast on WVNY called Fox 44 Local News on ABC. It was the first station in the area to offer news at that time. The move to launch this production was due in part to the tough competition of local news at 6 o'clock on WCAX and WPTZ. It remains to be seen how this broadcast will affect or even make a dent into the ratings. As is the case on WFFF, the WVNY news is produced in high definition. The show airs at 6:30 on weekends to accommodate ABC programming. The broadcasts on this station mark the return of local news since they shut down their own news department. The only "ABC 22" identification on the news is in the intro package and the "bug" in the bottom right corner of the screen. On August 18, 2008, WFFF began airing a weekday morning newscast (entitled Fox 44 Local News This Morning) which runs from 7 to 9. Included in the launch were cut-ins on WVNY during its airing of Good Morning America. This occurs at :25 and :55 past the hour and the two stations simulcast each other. Eventually an hour of local morning news starting at 6 was added to WVNY.
During weather segments, WVNY and WFFF use live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from three regional sites. It is presented on-screen in weather segments as "Sky Tracker Triple Doppler". The WVNY and WFFF news music package is the Fox owned-and-operated theme used by stations that are owned by the network.