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Another precedent....

When Allbritton started ABC 33/40 with WCFT 33 in Tuscaloosa and WJSU 40 in Anniston, both were former CBS affiliates in their respective markets.  They provided each city with their own reliable CBS affiliate since the one in Birmingham at the time (WBMG) was weak and grossly inferior.

 

When ABC went to 33/40, it played a major role in collapsing both Anniston and Tuscaloosa into the Birmingham market.  Media General was basically forced to make something out of WBMG, so they maximized the signal and basically blew up the station to start over again as WIAT.

 

During this transition, another Anniston station filled in the gap with CBS (WNAL) but once the market collapsed, they went PAX.

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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14 minutes ago, Big Rollo Smokes said:

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.

Also in the analog era, WLWC/WCMH was the centrally located station on channel 4 causing both WTAE and WTTV to be located further away because of short-spacing, and WTTV, licensed to Bloomington was only able to move to Trafalgar, requiring the need for WTTK to fill out the northern part of the Indianapolis viewing area.

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Straight from WHIZ themeslves:

https://whiznews.com/2022/04/20/littick-discusses-sale-of-whiz-media-group/

 

Henry Littick basically saw the writing on the wall with all of the consolidation.  Selling to a micro-owner like Marquee actually gives them a little more leverage while being able to keep their local flair to the Zanesville area.  

Given the spectacular decline of 10TV under Tegna, it may not cause a major stir if Marquee decides to add a CBS feed to WHIZ.  Sinclair is likely more invested since possibly losing Muskingum County could affect their current dominance.  And Nexstar isn't showing any signs of trying to invade their territory with WCMH.

 

Another takeaway is that the family is keeping 102.5...the original home of WHIZ-FM that's currently being leased to Urban One as "La Grande 102.5" serving the Columbus area.

 

I am trying to find the FCC filing they reference on their website as an "involuntary" transfer of control last September.  It makes it sound like they lost the station to the bank or another party.  In FCC-speak, could that translate to Marquee driving a Brinks truck to Zanesville to "make them an offer they couldn't refuse?"

 

Before that, the last "voluntary" transfer of control was from Norma J. Littick and her trust to her son and current owner Henry Littick.

 

 

And an interesting sidenote.....

 

Eric Land, who serves as the GM for 33/40 and the stations Sinclair owns in Birmingham,  actually started working at a young age for his father who was the general manager of .....WHIZ.

https://woub.org/2022/04/12/woub-experience-helped-prepare-eric-land-for-career-in-television-management/

 

He was also the general manager of CBS 42 under Media General who led the charge of remaking it from WBMG into WIAT.

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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1 hour ago, tyrannical bastard said:

I am trying to find the FCC filing they reference on their website as an "involuntary" transfer of control last September.  It makes it sound like they lost the station to the bank or another party.  In FCC-speak, could that translate to Marquee driving a Brinks truck to Zanesville to "make them an offer they couldn't refuse?"

 

Before that, the last "voluntary" transfer of control was from Norma J. Littick and her trust to her son and current owner Henry Littick.

Here's that paperwork from last fall.

 

It was "involuntary" because Norma passed away. And she held 51% interest in the company (NJL Company, Inc.) And the probate court in Muskingum County appointed her son Henry as fiduciary of her estate.

 

Edited by CircleSeven
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48 minutes ago, CubsFan79 said:

With WHIZ TV being in a small market. You would think they would have more than one network affiliation. Outside CW .

 

It all depends on whether they are long-term players and what they're willing to put into it. The Wolfes had several opportunities to buy some additional radio and TV stations. They didn't want to expand, but they weren't ready to sell either.

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8 hours ago, tyrannical bastard said:

Straight from WHIZ themeslves:

https://whiznews.com/2022/04/20/littick-discusses-sale-of-whiz-media-group/

 

Henry Littick basically saw the writing on the wall with all of the consolidation.  Selling to a micro-owner like Marquee actually gives them a little more leverage while being able to keep their local flair to the Zanesville area.  

Given the spectacular decline of 10TV under Tegna, it may not cause a major stir if Marquee decides to add a CBS feed to WHIZ.  Sinclair is likely more invested since possibly losing Muskingum County could affect their current dominance.  And Nexstar isn't showing any signs of trying to invade their territory with WCMH.

 

Another takeaway is that the family is keeping 102.5...the original home of WHIZ-FM that's currently being leased to Urban One as "La Grande 102.5" serving the Columbus area.

 

I am trying to find the FCC filing they reference on their website as an "involuntary" transfer of control last September.  It makes it sound like they lost the station to the bank or another party.  In FCC-speak, could that translate to Marquee driving a Brinks truck to Zanesville to "make them an offer they couldn't refuse?"

 

Before that, the last "voluntary" transfer of control was from Norma J. Littick and her trust to her son and current owner Henry Littick.

 

 

And an interesting sidenote.....

 

Eric Land, who serves as the GM for 33/40 and the stations Sinclair owns in Birmingham,  actually started working at a young age for his father who was the general manager of .....WHIZ.

https://woub.org/2022/04/12/woub-experience-helped-prepare-eric-land-for-career-in-television-management/

 

He was also the general manager of CBS 42 under Media General who led the charge of remaking it from WBMG into WIAT.

 

It sounds like they got other offers, including from big groups like Gray and possibly Nexstar as well as smaller entities like Byron Allen, but went for the smallest to maintain leverage. I do agree that placing additional network affiliations on its subchannels is a reasonable possibility with CBS and Fox being the most likely (the latter gives them other news opportunities, the former would likely be the one of least resistance given the collapse of WBNS). 

Edited by GoldenShine9
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This is at a 41 mile radius, going to about Summit Station. It's hilly terrain so who knows if this is an accurately reflects their signal and how far it gets out. Seems like a lot of opportunities to be hyperlocal within this area, something WBNS and WCMH can't do. I'd give all of these little city governments 5 -15 minutes a day on a "Local 18" subchannel for their daily announcements or whatever and loop it all day. Like the morning announcements in school.

 

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Edited by DirtyHarry
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22 hours ago, Big Rollo Smokes said:

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.

WHIZ’s relationship with NBC dates back to 1939, when the AM station—then owned by a Storer/Fort Industry affiliate—signed up with the network as its 180th station on the same day the WHIZ calls were adopted. So it goes back much, much further than the TV channel.

 

This is not apropos of anything but to more accurately explain the length of WHIZ’s tenure with the peacock. WHIZ radio has never changed since the 1940s and may have been the last full affiliate of the original NBC Radio Network when Westwood One finally shut that down in 2004.

 

And again… if there was financial incentive for NBC to force the collapse of Zanesville into the Columbus DMA, it would have happened at the same time as WHAG, WMGM and KENV getting disaffiliated. Heck, WLIO is safe because—along with getting all the other networks as subchannels—there’s no incentive for NBC to help a crummy Toledo affiliate that no one watches.

Edited by Myron Falwell
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Going back further into history, the Littick family was also the publisher of the Zanesville Times-Recorder, the daily newspaper for Zanesville. 

For a time, they had all 4 media outlets in Zanesville, TV, AM/FM and the newspaper.  They sold the T-R in 1970 to Thomson, who sold them and their Central Ohio newspapers to Gannett.

By this time, they had amassed virtually all of the smaller daily papers in the county seats and larger cites surrounding Columbus.  And WCMH actually partnered with them for news coverage, forming the Newspaper Network of Central Ohio.  This included Zanesville, so in a way, it was a backdoor way for WCMH to cover Zanesville at the time, along with the other cities.

 

Eventually, Gannett swallowed up virtually every other newspaper in Ohio, including the Columbus Dispatch, which came to them by way of the Gatehouse merger, who bough the Dispatch from the Wolfe family.

 

 

Somehow, Zanesville has survived as a market of its own, and WHIZ has kept it this way for many years.  Had WAKR succeeded in creating an Akron (Canton) market, it would probably be a stand-alone network affiliate of its own to this day, with a full compliment of network affiliates.  Canton stumbled in getting a station on the air at the time (50s-60s), so this probably was the reason they were lumped into Cleveland.

 

Because Akron was lumped into Cleveland, they had to compete directly with the Cleveland stations, and was at the bottom of the pecking order of getting programming.   Zanesville being on it's own gives them the ability to purchase exclusive top-tier programming at a rate that corresponds with their market.  And since it's a 200-ish market, it's way cheaper than it would be if it was part of the Columbus DMA.

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8 hours ago, Myron Falwell said:

Heck, WLIO is safe because—along with getting all the other networks as subchannels—there’s no incentive for NBC to help a crummy Toledo affiliate that no one watches.

 WLIO is 70+ miles from where the TV towers are in all adjacent markets if I remember correctly. Perhaps Fort Wayne is a tad closer.

2 hours ago, TheSpeedKing said:

Looks like Henry Littick was desperate to sell. Wow that's cheap (for a few broadcast stations).

 

Muskingum County only has 32,000 TV homes I believe.

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On 4/22/2022 at 4:24 PM, TheSpeedKing said:

Looks like Henry Littick was desperate to sell. Wow that's cheap (for a few broadcast stations).

If WWLG was included I bet the whole kit-and-caboodle would have gone for $13M… $15M at the most. It’s being retained by the Litticks and I’d be surprised if Urban One doesn’t buy it outright very soon.

 

Marquee only got channel 18, a graveyard class C AM with a FM xltr, and two small-ish class A FMs, one of which was built to outright replace 102.5. I’d say this was a generous offer.

Edited by Myron Falwell
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2 hours ago, DirtyHarry said:

92.7 is Class B1, I believe. Just like WWLG.

Yeap, you’re right. They bought 92.7 from the Christian Voice of Central Ohio as a direct B1 replacement for 102.5.

 

It’s WZVL that’s the class A which was built from the ground up.

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102.5 was likely kept (for now) because of the existing Urban One deal.  Once that lapses, or Urban One makes them an offer, it's likely to remain with the Litticks for the time being.

Prior to that, 102.5 was the home of WWCD, displaced after Ohio State purchased their 101.1 frequency to start a classical music spinoff of WOSU.

 

Over the last 25 years, Columbus has had many "move-in" FM stations from the surrounding counties to supplement the ones based in and licensed to Columbus.  They would change their COL to something closer to Columbus, so they could move their signals closer.

 

TV-wise, Columbus survived having to shoehorn UPN & WB on WWHO, orginally having UPN secondary on WTTE and later the WB programs secondary on WWHO when Paramount bought WWHO,

This lasted until both networks merged into the CW, and WSYX added MyNetworkTV as a subchannel.

 

Years before, WCOM (now WMFD) tried and failed to reach Columbus with an alternative to WWAT (WWHO) and WTTE.  The station re-formed as WMFD and serves the Mansfield area to this day, being distant enough from Cleveland and Columbus to have it's own newscast and advertising base.

 

In the event that WHIZ ever loses it's NBC affiliation (which probably isn't too likely), it would likely be re-positioned towards Columbus much like WGTA out of Toccoa is.

I wonder if networks have "virtual" deals now that preclude any prospective stations from trying to start an affiliate there.  Sinclair and Tegna may be doing this to keep their presence in Zanesville.....or does being in a separate market give stations the right to start their own affiliations there?

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On 4/24/2022 at 3:18 PM, tyrannical bastard said:

102.5 was likely kept (for now) because of the existing Urban One deal.  Once that lapses, or Urban One makes them an offer, it's likely to remain with the Litticks for the time being.

Prior to that, 102.5 was the home of WWCD, displaced after Ohio State purchased their 101.1 frequency to start a classical music spinoff of WOSU.

 

Over the last 25 years, Columbus has had many "move-in" FM stations from the surrounding counties to supplement the ones based in and licensed to Columbus.  They would change their COL to something closer to Columbus, so they could move their signals closer.

 

TV-wise, Columbus survived having to shoehorn UPN & WB on WWHO, orginally having UPN secondary on WTTE and later the WB programs secondary on WWHO when Paramount bought WWHO,

This lasted until both networks merged into the CW, and WSYX added MyNetworkTV as a subchannel.

 

Years before, WCOM (now WMFD) tried and failed to reach Columbus with an alternative to WWAT (WWHO) and WTTE.  The station re-formed as WMFD and serves the Mansfield area to this day, being distant enough from Cleveland and Columbus to have it's own newscast and advertising base.

 

In the event that WHIZ ever loses it's NBC affiliation (which probably isn't too likely), it would likely be re-positioned towards Columbus much like WGTA out of Toccoa is.

I wonder if networks have "virtual" deals now that preclude any prospective stations from trying to start an affiliate there.  Sinclair and Tegna may be doing this to keep their presence in Zanesville.....or does being in a separate market give stations the right to start their own affiliations there?

Both WSYX and WBNS are considered "affiliates of record" for the Zanesville market, which implies that their affiliation agreements include Zanesville as part of their coverage area. Marquee may be able to add CBS once WBNS' current agreement expires, but likely won't be able to add Fox because of Sinclair's iron fist on the affiliate base.

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Looking at the pay-tv options, it's a hodgepodge of how networks are provided.

 

Spectrum has both WHIZ and WCMH in  SD & HD, with the other Columbus locals filling in the gaps.   They have "WBZL" in SD (cable-only) and WWHO in HD for CW.

 

Both Hulu and YouTube TV offer a generic ABC feed in lieu of WSYX.  Only YTTV has WBNS while both offer "Fox 28" (WSYX 6.3)

 

Fubo offers WHIZ, but no CBS, and "ABC" and "FOX" (likely network feeds)

 

Things get weirder with AT&T & Dish....

DirecTV does not offer Fox 28, but the TV listings claim that they offer WTTE (the old FOX28 that's now TBD), so that may be an oversight for the Zanesville market.  WHIZ is there with WBNS and WSYX 6.1.

 

On DirecTV stream, only WHIZ is offered, and the only Columbus station available is WOSU.

 

Dish claims to offer WEWS, WJW and WOIO on the channel numbers for Columbus (6, 28, 10) but NO WHIZ at all! (That has to be a glitch)

 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

And the deal is done. 

 

Even though the station announce the completion yesterday, the consummation paper states it was closed today (7/15).

 

Marquee COO Gene Steinburg will be the new GM of the station, replacing Henry Littick which he'll stay on as a "consultant" as the article states "to help ease the transition".

Edited by CircleSeven
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Somebody posted the very slick imaging WLIO and WOHL are using on Facebook. Makes me wonder why Block didn't buy them and use some of the economies of scale they have with WLIO.

 

What's really cool if you pay attention is that they have different tones for each of the stations right after the top of the hour ID. For WLIO it's the NBC chimes. For Fox Lima it's some kind of a bong. For ABC Lima it's the tone you used to hear on those educational film strips to advance to the next slide. For CBS Lima, it's the top of the hour network tone you used to hear back in the 1970s.

 

https://facebook.com/groups/tvidents/permalink/2190519181105688/?m_entstream_source=group

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Unless you count WCPO as Scripps' hometown station, this leaves WFMJ as the only major network affiliate in Ohio that is still locally owned and operated. 

And it's an even rarer breed of a station that is still owned by it's founding family and a one-off operation that has never bought any other stations in other places.

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39 minutes ago, tyrannical bastard said:

Unless you count WCPO as Scripps' hometown station, this leaves WFMJ as the only major network affiliate in Ohio that is still locally owned and operated. 

And it's an even rarer breed of a station that is still owned by it's founding family and a one-off operation that has never bought any other stations in other places.

 

WLIO is also close enough given that their owners are in Toledo.

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