|Scranton / Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania|
|Slogan||It's all about YOU!|
|Channel||Digital: 13 (VHF)
|Translators||WYOU-LD 25 (UHF) Waymart|
(operated through JSA by
Nexstar Broadcasting Group)
|First air date||June 7, 1953|
|Callsign meaning||see slogan|
|Former callsigns||WGBI-TV (1953-1958)
|Former channels||22 (UHF analog, 1953-2009)|
|Effective power||30 kW|
WYOU is the CBS-affiliated television station for Northeastern Pennsylvania that is licensed to Scranton. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 from a transmitter at the Penobscot Knob tower farm near Mountain Top. They can also be seen on Service Electric and Comcast channel 2. On digital cable, there is a high definition signal on Comcast channel 233 and Service Electric channel 502.
Owned by Mission Broadcasting, the station is operated by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group through a joint sales agreement (a.k.a. JSA) as sister to NBC affiliate WBRE-TV. Although most of WYOU's operations are based at WBRE's facilities on South Franklin Street in Downtown Wilkes-Barre, it has a sales office on Lackawanna Avenue in Downtown Scranton that is shared with a WBRE news bureau. Syndicated programming on the station includes: Entertainment Tonight, Judge Judy, The Insider and Judge Joe Brown.
WYOU serves one of the largest geographic markets in the country. This area is very mountainous making UHF reception difficult. However, the station was in a unique situation since Scranton / Wilkes-Barre was a "UHF island" before the government mandated digital transition. As a result, it operated several translators to repeat their signal. In March of 2010 all owned and operated translators were shut down after Nexstar determined their VHF signal for WYOU is adequate enough to reach the Wilkes-Barre viewing market. According to nepahdtv.com, this move was met with some dismay from viewers in areas where reception of signals from Penobscot Knob is difficult if not impossible.
WYOU-LD on UHF 25 in Waymart, PA remains operating, as the facility is owned and operated by NextEra Energy.
WYOU was launched on June 7, 1953 as WGBI-TV. It was owned by the Megargee family and their company, Scranton Broadcasters, along with WGBI radio (910 AM now WBZU and 101.3 FM now WGGY). Studios were located in the basement of Scranton Prep High School at Wyoming Avenue and Ash Street in Downtown Scranton. The station remained at this location for many years even after Scranton Preparatory School moved there. Managed for many years by founder Frank Megargee's daughter Madge Megargee Holcomb, Scranton Broadcasters was at one time probably the only broadcasting company in the country run by five women. This included Mrs. Holcomb, her mother Mrs. Megargee, and Frank Megargee's younger daughters: Katharine Megargee Collins, Mary Megargee Griffin, and Jean Megargee Reap.
Despite its link with one of Northeast Pennsylvania's most prestigious broadcasters (WGBI-AM had been founded in 1925), WGBI-TV operated on a tight budget. For example, the Megargees found AT&T's rates for a dedicated network feed line too high for their liking. This forced station engineers to switch to and from the signal of WCBS-TV in New York City whenever CBS programming was on-the-air. As a result, picture quality for network programming left much to be desired. The switchover was a delicate process requiring tight coordination between engineers stationed around the clock at the transmitter site and directors at the studios since no one there could see the WCBS feed.
WGBI went into a limited partnership with the Philadelphia Bulletin in 1958 and was renamed WDAU-TV after WCAU-TV in Philadelphia which was also owned by the newspaper. The FCC ruled that there was so much signal overlap between the two CBS stations that they were effectively a duopoly. Their Grade B signal reaches the Lehigh Valley which is part of the Philadelphia market. Ironically, CBS was placed in a similar situation because WCAU overlapped with WCBS but the network was able to get a waiver to keep both stations in that case. Even with new ownership, WDAU continued to rebroadcast WCBS's signal for network programming until the 1970s when complaints about the poor quality of color network programming led it to buy a network feed. It still has a film archive dating back to the 1950s. A 1972 flood ruined the film archive in WBRE's basement. In 1984, WDAU was sold to Keystone Broadcasters. In 1986, it was sold to Diversified Communications of Portland, Maine. Their call letters were changed to the current WYOU on October 9 of that year. Soon afterward, the station moved to facilities on Lackawanna Avenue.
They changed hands ten years later to Nexstar Broadcasting. In 1998, Nexstar bought rival WBRE and sold WYOU to Mission Broadcasting. However, it kept control of WYOU's operations under a joint sales agreement with WBRE as the senior partner. On February 17, 2009 as part of the optional transition to digital-only broadcasting, WYOU left UHF channel 22 and continues to operate its digital signal on VHF channel 13.
They were a solid runner-up to WBRE and later ABC affiliate WNEP-TV for much of the time from the 1950s to the 1980s. This was achieved through its coverage of major stories including the Knox Mine Disaster and U.S. Senate hearings on racketeering in the late-1950s. The Associated Press commended the station on its gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Senate hearings and WDAU News Director Tom Powell was courted by CBS to be a network news anchor. During the 1950s and 1960s, mirroring the longstanding rivalry between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, WDAU dominated Scranton while WBRE ruled Wilkes-Barre. In the early-1980s, they strengthened their hand when it brought in Gary Essex, longtime anchorman at WNEP, and teamed him with popular anchorwoman Debbie Dunleavy. It also became the second station in the market to use a news helicopter as well as the first to air a newscast in drive time.
WYOU spent the early part of the 1990s as a solid runner-up to WNEP. However, after Nexstar began the JSA with WBRE, its ratings plummeted and have never recovered since that station was always favored before WYOU. Some have referred to this channel as the "ugly step-sister" of the two from Nexstar's lack of effort to improve it. Even luring away another former popular WNEP anchorman, Frank Andrews, did not help the cause. He left the station in March 2006 to make a successful bid for a seat in the state house where he served under his real name, Frank Andrews Shimkus.
In 2002, both stations dropped their separate weekday morning and Noon newscasts in favor of Pennsylvania Morning and Pennsylvania Midday which were jointly-produced and simulcasted on both stations. At the start of 2008, Pennsylvania Morning stopped airing on WYOU. In its place is the 6 o'clock hour of the nationally syndicated morning show, The Daily Buzz. The station also debuted their own newscast at Noon that replaced Pennsylvania Midday. In an effort to become more competitive with dominant WNEP, WYOU and WBRE instituted a major shakeup in format back in Fall 2006. While WYOU went with a talk / debate format for its weeknight shows, WBRE News became more of a traditional news program. This set a more clear competition against WNEP. For each WYOU weeknight broadcast, it started off with weather ("StormCenter Weather", another innovation) and a shortened rundown of the day's top stories. The show then focused on an ongoing story, investigation, or topic and brought in analysts and experts to discuss it. Viewers were able to call into the station and participate in the discussions. WYOU generally did a traditional newscast whenever WBRE had programming that bumped its news back by a significant amount of time.
On June 16, 2008, there were several more major changes made on the two station. Candice Kelly, who anchored on the station, moved to the weeknight newscasts on WBRE. She was joined by newcomer Drew Speier. WYOU and WBRE's midday shows switched anchors. Mark Hiller moved from WBRE’s 11 A.M. news to WYOU’s Noon broadcast while Eva Mastromatteo switched over to WBRE at 11. Hiller also debuted as anchor of WYOU’s new First at 4 weekday broadcast. The station was the first one in the market to broadcast local news weekday afternoons at 4. This was followed at 4:30 by The Insider which moved from its 7 o'clock slot. WYOU dropped their 5 P.M. show and aired two episodes of Judge Judy. At 6 o'clock, Lyndall Stout (who anchored on WBRE) joined Eric Scheiner for the half-hour WYOU Inter@ctive. The station also launched a new weeknight newscast, WYOU News at 7. WNEP already airs local news at that time on weeknights. All of the preceding changes were an attempt to better compete against WNEP and get more ratings. WYOU and WBRE shared a Williamsport Bureau on West 4th Street. There was no weekend sports anchor on this station.
Nexstar announced on April 3, 2009 that WYOU would shut down its news department effective the following day. This resulted in the lay-off of fourteen personnel. Syndicated programming now airs in place of the newscasts. The station saves nearly one million dollars a year from closing down its news department.  As a measure of how far WYOU's once-proud news department had fallen, the last Nielsen ratings issued before the shutdown showed their weeknight 11 o'clock newscast only garnered a four percent share.  Even with the ending of local news, WYOU struggles to receive even a 3% share of the ratings for syndicated programming in place of former newscasts.  The secondary set at WBRE's facilities used to produce the newscasts on WYOU was eventually modified to broadcast a nightly prime time show on Fox affiliate WOLF-TV.
WYOU StormCenter Weather Team