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The WHIZ Media Group, long controlled by the Littick family of Zanesville, has sold one of Ohio's last family-owned television outlets. NBC affiliate WHIZ-TV and its associated radio stations are going to Salisbury MD-based Marquee Broadcasting, which owns WMDT in their home market.

 

The big takeaway is what becomes of that relationship with NBC when the latest contract expires...will WCMH-TV try to claim exclusivity for NBC in all of central Ohio?

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10 minutes ago, Big Rollo Smokes said:

The WHIZ Media Group, long controlled by the Littick family of Zanesville, has sold one of Ohio's last family-owned television outlets. NBC affiliate WHIZ-TV and its associated radio stations are going to Salisbury MD-based Marquee Broadcasting, which owns WMDT in their home market.

 

The big takeaway is what becomes of that relationship with NBC when the latest contract expires...will WCMH-TV try to claim exclusivity for NBC in all of central Ohio?

IS THIS AN APRIL FOOLS' JOKE? 

 

But anyways, will NBC try to do something with the WHIZ-WCMH situation?

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9 minutes ago, Yankees4life said:

Good God. Those newscasts can't get any worse. From some of the stuff I seen from Marquee, more people will be running to WCMH to keep their sanity 🤣😂

Just as a benchmark, WCMH is essentially the same as WVIT or WBTS but with cheap packaging (graphics, music) and high turnover. Why would anyone go there versus smaller market NBC O&Os?

Edited by TheSpeedKing
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Of course, Zanesville is a separate market from Columbus. Marquee could add another Big 4 network to WHIZ's lineup, or at worse try to move WHIZ into Columbus as an independent, marking the end of the Zanesville market.

Edited by mvcg66b3r
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2 hours ago, mvcg66b3r said:

Of course, Zanesville is a separate market from Columbus. Marquee could add another Big 4 network to WHIZ's lineup, or at worse try to move WHIZ into Columbus as an independent, marking the end of the Zanesville market.

The latter seems likely (going as an Independent) and then provide the Columbus Stations on a translator in Zanesville. I also know people from that area that have told me that sometimes they can also get WTRF (CBS/ABC/MY) and WTOV (NBC/FOX/CW) from Wheeling/Steubenville when conditions are good.

Edited by Kenneth Kissel
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, mvcg66b3r said:

Of course, Zanesville is a separate market from Columbus. Marquee could add another Big 4 network to WHIZ's lineup, or at worse try to move WHIZ into Columbus as an independent, marking the end of the Zanesville market.

 

1 hour ago, Kenneth Kissel said:

The latter seems likely (going as an Independent) and then provide the Columbus Stations on a translator in Zanesville. I also know people from that area that have told me that sometimes they can also get WTRF (CBS/ABC/MY) and WTOV (NBC/FOX/CW) from Wheeling/Steubenville when conditions are good.

That was always my thought, except it probably should have been done some 15 to 20 years ago.

 

On analog, WHIZ-TV on channel 18 was non-existent in Columbus. I have been going there for the last 30+ years and I have never been able to catch that station with a watchable signal, either pre- or post DTV transition. They would have to boost power/tower height, relocate the tower, and/or change the community of license if they want OTA coverage in the capital city. Getting on Spectrum, Dish and DirecTV is another story. 

 

Programming-wise? Columbus may now be Ohio's largest municipality in terms of population, and is now the state's second-largest TV market (after Cleveland). But I'm not sure if there is enough of audience or enough available quality programming for a new independent. Going with a news-intensive format like WDVM (former NBC affil WHAG-TV) in Hagerstown would be risky but it's an option. And WSYX or WBNS-TV will put up a fight if Marquee attempts to add the other networks on a WHIZ sub, as neither want to lose their Zanesville audiences. I would hate to see a legacy station like WHIZ-TV lose their network and then get turned into a wasteland for subchannels and/or informercials on 18.1 (see WMGM or KENV after each lost NBC).

 

There was barely room for two indies in the late '80s when WTTE was still a quasi-indie during Fox's early days and Chillicothe-based WWHO (then WWAT) used a low-power translator on channel 17 to get its programming into Columbus. And just to prove my CBUS street cred is legit, I can recall watching W08BV in the late '80s and early '90s with its mix of syndicated shows, movies, and MuchMusic imported from Canada. Too bad they were an LPTV.

Edited by Big Rollo Smokes
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1 hour ago, Big Rollo Smokes said:

 

That was always my thought, except it probably should have been done some 15 to 20 years ago.

 

On analog, WHIZ-TV on channel 18 was non-existent in Columbus. I have been going there for the last 30+ years and I have never been able to catch that station with a watchable signal, either pre- or post DTV transition. They would have to boost power/tower height, relocate the tower, and/or change the community of license if they want OTA coverage in the capital city. Getting on Spectrum, Dish and DirecTV is another story. 

 

Programming-wise? Columbus may now be Ohio's largest municipality in terms of population, and is now the state's second-largest TV market (after Cleveland). But I'm not sure if there is enough of audience or enough available quality programming for a new independent. Going with a news-intensive format like WDVM (former NBC affil WHAG-TV) in Hagerstown would be risky but it's an option. And WSYX or WBNS-TV will put up a fight if Marquee attempts to add the other networks on a WHIZ sub, as neither want to lose their Zanesville audiences. I would hate to see a legacy station like WHIZ-TV lose their network and then get turned into a wasteland for subchannels and/or informercials on 18.1 (see WMGM or KENV after each lost NBC).

 

There was barely room for two indies in the late '80s when WTTE was still a quasi-indie during Fox's early days and Chillicothe-based WWHO (then WWAT) used a low-power translator on channel 17 to get its programming into Columbus. And just to prove my CBUS street cred is legit, I can recall watching W08BV in the late '80s and early '90s with its mix of syndicated shows, movies, and MuchMusic imported from Canada. Too bad they were an LPTV.

Reception wise, I live northwest of Columbus, and I get a very faint signal (but no video or audio) from Channel 30 (WHIZ). That Channel 17 translator is now WDEM-CD, itself an HC2 wasteland. I'm thinking that WHIZ will remain the NBC affiliate for Zanesville unless Nexstar significantly downsizes and sells to NBC. Only then I can see WHIZ go independent. And yes, being a news intensive independent in that case is an option.

Edited by TheSpeedKing
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1 hour ago, TheSpeedKing said:

Reception wise, I live northwest of Columbus, and I get a very faint signal (but no video or audio) from Channel 30 (WHIZ). That Channel 17 translator is now WDEM-CD, itself an HC2 wasteland. I'm thinking that WHIZ will remain the NBC affiliate for Zanesville unless Nexstar significantly downsizes and sells to NBC. Only then I can see WHIZ go independent. And yes, being a news intensive independent in that case is an option.

Couldn't Nexstar work with Marquee to make WHIZ a satellite of WCMH and merge the two news departments together? That could be an option. 

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Reading between the lines here, The WHIZ ownership wants it to be a Zanesville Station mainly. No Moving it Closer to Columbus or anything like that. Marquee could do that but it is used to Small-Town stations. They want WHIZ to survive as a NBC affiliate in Zanesville.

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1 hour ago, ColumbusNewsFan said:

Reading between the lines here, The WHIZ ownership wants it to be a Zanesville Station mainly. No Moving it Closer to Columbus or anything like that. Marquee could do that but it is used to Small-Town stations. They want WHIZ to survive as a NBC affiliate in Zanesville.

 

That may be so, but Marquee is a small fish in a large pond. If NBC and Nexstar wants it, it's in the bag.

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8 minutes ago, GoldenShine9 said:

WHIZ is a Zanesville, not a Columbus station. What is more likely is that it poaches additional affiliations for its subchannels.

I hope that can happen but you know Nexstar, Sinclair, and Tegna will put up a fight with Marquee the entire way. If they win, the best thing for Marquee to do, is to put WCMH, WBNS, WSYX, WTTE as subchannels in Zanesville. In addition to that. Sinclair could (if they wanted too) sell WWHO to Marquee so WHIZ would have a presence in Columbus as an news alternative if WHIZ goes Independent from NBC. 

Edited by Kenneth Kissel
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Where is all this speculation that NBC is going to ditch WHIZ coming from? Nothing is going to happen because Marquee is buying this station. In fact, Marquee has some leverage with NBC because they at least own another affiliate in Bowling Green. OTOH, the Litticks had no leverage with the network given that WHIZ was their only property. If NBC wanted to leave this station, they already would have.

 

In fact, I could see the quality of this station's product improving. They'll invest in getting everything up to date and then forget about it (see: WMDT – now with the same graphics and virtual set for 8 years, but at least it took Marquee for them to go HD). You know, Because Local Matters™. Get used to hearing that a lot on WHIZ. 

Also, I could foresee them adding other networks to their subchannels (like they have in Bowling Green with CBS). Who cares if the Columbus stations lose their Zanesville audience? It is a distinct DMA and Marquee is well within their right to pursue additional affiliations. ABC, CBS, Fox only care if their reverse comp checks clear. 

In other words, nothing is going to happen. This whole "WHIZ is going to go independent or be moved into Columbus" needs to stop. 

Edited by sanewsguy
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Zanesville is 55 or 60 miles from Columbus. It's not exactly unprecedented for two network affiliates to coexist in a 60 mile area. Pittsburgh and Steubenville are much closer as were Akron and Cleveland. Dayton and Cincinnati are about the same mileage. If anything, they should do a Lima and add the other networks on LPTV/subchannels.

 

Edit: WHIZ is viewable at the Franklin Licking County line kind of in the Pataskala area. WHIZ is also viewable in the Mount Vernon area, at least with an outdoor antenna.

 

If you look at Marquee's list of stations on Wikipedia, they all have short towers and crap signals, so don't expect an upgrade for WHIZ. I think one of the towers is of a decent height but none of their stations have a lot of ERP.

 

Edited by DirtyHarry
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If I were them, I'd put some money into translators. You can pick up a decent amount of viewers in places like Athens where they might not get a good signal. Put one in extreme Southeast Perry county, which should be in their market. I think you should be able to hit Athens from there.

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53 minutes ago, sanewsguy said:

Where is all this speculation that NBC is going to ditch WHIZ coming from? Nothing is going to happen because Marquee is buying this station. In fact, Marquee has some leverage with NBC because they at least own another affiliate in Bowling Green. OTOH, the Litticks had no leverage with the network given that WHIZ was their only property. If NBC wanted to leave this station, they already would have.

 

In fact, I could see the quality of this station's product improving. They'll invest in getting everything up to date and then forget about it (see: WMDT – now with the same graphics and virtual set for 8 years, but at least it took Marquee for them to go HD). You know, Because Local Matters™. Get used to hearing that a lot on WHIZ. 

Also, I could foresee them adding other networks to their subchannels (like they have in Bowling Green with CBS). Who cares if the Columbus stations lose their Zanesville audience? It is a distinct DMA and Marquee is well within their right to pursue additional affiliations. ABC, CBS, Fox only care if their reverse comp checks clear. 

In other words, nothing is going to happen. This whole "WHIZ is going to go independent or be moved into Columbus" needs to stop. 

They could do what Marks Radio Group's WBKB-TV 11 in Alpena, Michigan did and add the other stations on digital subchannels, but have each channel simulcast each newscast.

11.1 - CBS

11.2 - NBC

11.3 - ABC

11.4 - Fox/MyNetworkTV

 

Here's how I'd imagine WHIZ-TV would do theirs (18.6 to 18.12 could be possible future subchannel additions):

18.1 - NBC

18.2 - ABC

18.3 - CBS

18.4 - Fox/MyNetworkTV

18.5 - The CW

18.6 - Ion

18.7 - Antenna TV

18.8 - Rewind TV

18.9 - Laff

18.10 - MeTV

18.11 - H&I

18.12 - Decades

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4 hours ago, Big Rollo Smokes said:

 

That may be so, but Marquee is a small fish in a large pond. If NBC and Nexstar wants it, it's in the bag.

If they were going to do that they had the chance over 25 years ago when NBC owned WCMH. They could have moved and become a indie long ago as well but that is not their Main Objective at all. Marquee fit what they want a station that focus on Zanesville. WBNS and WSYX/WTTE signal could get to Zanesville but could they pull a WNKY situation and have Zaneville for the first time a whole lot of network channels. I see that coming before any other of these other predictions. Marquee aren't afraid to up the quality of the newscast and boy do WHIZ-TV needs it.

 

My eyes actually turns to the radio side. Will 102.5FM end up with Radio One outright? Will any other Station move into Columbus? That is where I see the move in possibilities happening at. It is easier to move a radio stick then a full power TV station stick.

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There isn’t a darn thing to suggest anything changes at WHIZ. Hell, Marquee isn’t into radio and they bought the companion three radio stations because the radio industry is no longer a buyer’s market and never will be again. I’d expect all three to remain “as-is”.

 

Furthermore, there’s no real incentive to move the station or have NBC disaffiliate it. If there was it’d have been done long ago.

 

I do see Marquee affiliating with CBS and/or ABC on subchannels. Definitely with ION. It’ll help shore up exclusivity in the market.

 

(I don’t care for Nielsen being the one to define DMAs, and the system is far too political BUT it’s still the rules to be played by… and there’s not much to be gained by absorbing a tiny DMA 50 miles away from a larger market. Then again, that’s pretty much what NBC did in Elko NV…)

Edited by Myron Falwell
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30 minutes ago, Myron Falwell said:

There isn’t a darn thing to suggest anything changes at WHIZ. Hell, Marquee isn’t into radio and they bought the companion three radio stations because the radio industry is no longer a buyer’s market and never will be again. I’d expect all three to remain “as-is”.

 

Furthermore, there’s no real incentive to move the station or have NBC disaffiliate it. If there was it’d have been done long ago.

 

I do see Marquee affiliating with CBS and/or ABC on subchannels. Definitely with ION. It’ll help shore up exclusivity in the market.

 

(I don’t care for Nielsen being the one to define DMAs, and the system is far too political BUT it’s still the rules to be played by… and there’s not much to be gained by absorbing a tiny DMA 50 miles away from a larger market. Then again, that’s pretty much what NBC did in Elko NV…)

 

WBNS and WSYX will still probably get more viewers because of sports coverage.

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Since Zanesville is a one-horse market (only Muskingum County) that is completely surrounded by the Columbus DMA, it does fuel the speculation that this station is numbered as an NBC affiliate in the shadow of WCMH.

Adding fuel to that fire is the fact that prior ownership leased their own FM frequency and moved it closer to Columbus to capture listeners there.

 

On the flip side, Marquee could fill out the rest of the market much like has been done in Victoria, TX with Morgan Murphy and Block in Lima with "Your Hometown Local Stations" and "Your News Now".   It all depends on how entrenched Sinclair and Tegna are with carriage deals with providers there piping in WSYX and WBNS.  YouTube TV already pipes in WBNS and WSYX 6.3 (Fox) but provides an ABC feed like they do in the other markets without an affiliate.

I'm sure the locals would want to keep the Columbus locals they've enjoyed for years as well, and not be stuck with Zanesville news from a single source.

 

It just depends on who's going to make the next move.  Zanesville is it's own market so they have that protection for any network that wants an affiliate there.  And to keep things status quo, it wouldn't be out of the question for either Sinclair or Tegna to start a low powered repeater there to officially claim affiliations for Zanesville by just relaying their Columbus stations.

 

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Posted (edited)

For purposes of historical accuracy, I think it's important to state in this thread the reasons why WCMH-TV and WHIZ-TV co-exist as overlapping NBC affiliates, and why Zanesville maintains its own DMA.

 

WCMH went on the air in 1949 as WLWC, the second link in Crosley/Avco's regional network of stations. After the FCC reorganized the VHF allotments in 1952, WLWC was moved from channel 3 to 4. With the potential of huge overlap between WLWC, WLWT and WLWD (WDTN), the FCC told Crosley that the three stations had to transmit from short towers.

 

WHIZ-TV signed-on from Zanesville in 1953, and filled a gap in NBC coverage, partially due to WLWC's signal shortfalls on the eastern edge of the Columbus market.

 

Fast-forward to 1976, when Avco breaks up its tv holdings and sells WLWC to Outlet. No more grandfathered protection with Cincinnati and Dayton. Soon after Outlet took over, WCMH-TV more than doubled the height on its original tower, which was located at the studio building on Olentangy River Road. Then in the early 1980s, the station moves a few miles south to the taller candelabra tower built behind the WBNS-TV plant on Twin Rivers Drive. Channel 4 now covers the entire Columbus market and is viewable clearly in Zanesville.

 

WHIZ-TV, meanwhile, barely makes it to the border of Franklin and Licking counties -- which was probably intentional. If they went to the max with both ERP and tower height after their own move from channel 50 to channel 18 in 1955, WHIZ would have gotten into Columbus pretty easily. Instead, their smaller signal protected WLWC and kept their focus on Zanesville and Muskingum County.

 

So the way I see it, the primary purpose of WHIZ's continued relationship with NBC is now redundant. It would make logistical sense to fold Zanesville into the Columbus market at this point, but I can also understand the arguments against doing so.

Edited by Big Rollo Smokes
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