|Buffalo, New York|
Channel 2 News on Fox 29
|Slogan||On Your Side (newscasts)|
|Channels||Digital: 14 (UHF)
Virtual: 29 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||Fox (1986-1989, 1990-present)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
(WUTV Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||December 21, 1970|
|Call letters' meaning||UlTraVision (former owner)
UHF TeleVision (reference to its broadcast frequency)
|Former channel number(s)||29 (UHF analog, 1970-2009)|
|Former affiliations||independent (1970-1986, 1989-1990)
UPN (secondary 1995-1997)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
WUTV, virtual channel 29, is the Fox-affiliated television station in Buffalo, New York. It broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 14. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, in a duopoly with the area's MyNetworkTV affiliate WNYO-TV. Its transmitter is located on Grand Island, New York at 951 Whitehaven Road.
As of February 2008, WUTV is the Fox network feed received on the Cayman Islands. It joined the Primetime 24 lineup in 2009, serving most of the Caribbean islands, thanks in large part to its international focus.
|29.1||720p||16:9||Main WUTV programming / Fox|
|29.2||480i||4:3||The Country Network|
WUTV completed its digital transition on February 17, 2009 at 11:59:59, making WUTV the first digital only television station in Buffalo. The station maintained a "nightlight" service through March 3 before shutting off the analog service entirely. WUTV, along with PBS station WNED-TV were the only stations in Buffalo not terminating on the new June 12 date.
WUTV began operation on December 21, 1970 as a general entertainment independent station, airing cartoons like Astro Boy and Yogi Bear, sitcoms such as Ozzie and Harriet and The Munsters, Sci-Fi shows such as Lost in Space, Ultraman, The Invaders and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, along with old movies and drama shows. The station was owned by Ultravision Broadcasting Company, from which the "UTV" in the WUTV callsign originates. Ultravision was a company owned by Stan Jasinski, who also owned Buffalo's WMMJ (AM 1300) at the time; shortly thereafter, Jasinski spun off WMMJ to country musician Ramblin' Lou Schriver, who turned it into present-day WXRL. (The WUTV call sign was originally to be used for a station in Youngstown, Ohio with a construction permit on channel 21 that never aired; NBC affiliate WFMJ-TV purchased the permit and moved their station from channel 73 to their present-day channel 21 that the Youngstown WUTV permit originally was for).
Ultravision head and WUTV founder Stan Jasinski had first filed an application for the station's license in 1963. WUTV was the only independent station in Buffalo for many years and was the first commercially successful UHF station in Western New York; previous efforts on the UHF dial, including WBES-TV (channel 59), WBUF-TV (channel 17) and WNYP (channel 26) all had failed within a few years of sign-on. The station was acquired by Citadel Communications, a Bronxville-based company not related to the larger radio station owner Citadel Broadcasting, in 1984. In 1986, WUTV became a charter affiliate of Fox. However, in 1989, Fox moved its affiliation to WNYB (now WNYO) due to concerns about its ratings in Buffalo. Later that year, WNYB's owner, Act III Broadcasting, offered to buy WUTV, and Citadel accepted. The sale was finalized in June 1990, and Act III moved the Fox affiliation and WNYB's stronger programming to WUTV. It then sold WNYB to Tri-State Christian Television (Act III was known for such acquisition practices).
Abry became the owner of WUTV in 1994 following its purchase of the Act III group, and WUTV began to carry a secondary UPN affiliation in 1995 (the UPN affiliation subsequently moved to WNGS and WONS in 1997, then WNLO in 2003). Sinclair became the owner of WUTV in 1997 following its purchase of Abry, and bought WNYO in 2001, making WUTV and WNYO sister stations under more relaxed station ownership rules.
After Sinclair came to a retransmission consent agreement in February 2007 nationally with Time Warner Cable, WUTV and WNYO's HDTV signals are now carried by that cable provider locally. WUTV's high-definition signal was not available on the other cable provider in the region, Atlantic Broadband, until 2012. The Time Warner agreement was to expire at the end of 2010, and the two companies were late in reaching agreement. In the event Sinclair had pulled WUTV from the air, a separate agreement allows Fox programming to be piped in from out of market (likely involving Nexstar Broadcasting Group, whose stations have been used as out-of-market superstations in the past). This made WUTV particularly vulnerable to a prolonged blackout. It does not produce any local content, serving mostly as a "pass-through" for automated programming. Much of its syndicated programming can be seen on other cable channels (such as TBS, WGN and TV Guide Network), and much of its daytime programming consists of infomercials. The dispute was resolved without a blackout.
On May 15, 2012, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Fox agreed to a five-year extension to the network's affiliation agreement with Sinclair's 19 Fox stations, including WUTV, allowing them to continue carrying the network's programming until 2017.
Up until 2003, Rogers Cable carried WUTV in the Ottawa and London regions; after this date, Rogers switched to WJBK Detroit as the Fox affiliate available in these markets. The reason for the switch in Ottawa was twofold. The main reason was that MCI, the company which microwaved U.S. network television signals to Ottawa from Rochester, New York, had decided to discontinue this service (until 2003, the ABC, NBC, and CBS stations available in Ottawa had originated from Rochester). Secondly, Rogers chose Detroit as the new source for U.S. television network signals because Canadian broadcasters were concerned about the increased Canadian advertising revenues Buffalo stations would attract were they to receive an expanded viewing audience across Ontario. Since Detroit is a much larger market than either Buffalo or Rochester, advertising prices would be much higher and thus it would not be economical for Canadian advertisers to purchase advertising time on such stations.
Although WUTV was the Fox affiliate available in Ottawa, Rogers decided to switch to WJBK in order to ensure uniformity in the source cities for all U.S. network television signals. Rogers switched to WJBK in the London market because the signal for the CBS affiliate available in London, WSEE (Erie, Pennsylvania) was of lower quality than that of the Detroit CBS affiliate, WWJ. Hence, Rogers London switched from WSEE to WWJ and, as in Ottawa, decided to switch its Fox affiliate from WUTV to WJBK to ensure uniformity of the source city for all the U.S. network television signals. Rogers continues to carry WUTV in both Standard and High Definition for customers in the Golden Horseshoe, including Toronto.
Cogeco Cable carries WUTV in Standard Definition for its customers in the Golden Horseshoe, but instead carries Detroit's WJBK in High Definition. For many years, WUTV was carried on cable in Quebec as far east as Gaspe. WUTV was once carried on Montreal cable up until 1997, when Vidéotron replaced WUTV with WFFF-TV in Burlington, Vermont (the Fox station that signed on the air at the time). Originally, its WUHF sister in Rochester was carried on cable in the Western Montreal suburbs for 1995 only. Those stations were the first Fox stations to be carried on Montreal cable. It also returned temporarily when WFFF-TV was off the air for a brief time in the mid-2000s.
Because of their Canadian coverage the station does play O Canada along with The Star Spangled Banner and a display of both the American and Canadian national flags during their early Monday morning sign-off for maintenance between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
WUTV relies heavily on syndicated programming to fill its schedule, with a heavy emphasis on court shows (The People's Court, Judge Alex, Judge Mathis, Judge Judy) and tabloid talk shows (Maury, The Jerry Springer Show, The Steve Wilkos Show) in the daytime hours and sitcom reruns in the late afternoon and late night hours (Seinfeld, in particular, has been a fixture of the network's late-night programming since the show entered syndication, although it will move out to make way for the WGRZ newscast). The station has not historically carried syndicated game shows; two, Family Feud and Baggage, were added in 2012.
Until 2013, WUTV did not air news programming, making Buffalo the largest television market in the United States whose Fox affiliate did not offer any newscasts at all (Sinclair is believed to have paid a large fee to Fox to avoid the network's mandate that its affiliates carry local news). The station has long opted to air syndicated programming instead of carrying news programming, as it is within range of the Toronto market and features advertising targeted at Southern Ontario viewers, along with the large number of stations within the Buffalo market and those receivable in the market from Hamilton and Toronto that already produce local newscasts. However, the station will pre-empt programs for breaking news coverage from Fox News when necessary.
This lack of local news programming ended on April 8, 2013, as the WGRZ-produced 10 p.m. newscast moved from WNYO to WUTV. The newscast was also expanded from a weeknight-only newscast to seven-night-a-week broadcasts with the program's switch to the station. Eventually, WUTV will also re-air the final hour of WGRZ's morning program, Daybreak, on a one-hour delay. Both moves are an effort to eat into the audiences of WNLO's newscasts in those time frames, both of which have been historically more successful even though WGRZ has surpassed WNLO's parent, WIVB-TV, in most of its main newscasts. As was the case on WNYO, the newscast on WUTV is likely aired in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition for the time being.
Effective April 8, 2013
WUTV features additional personnel from WGRZ. See that article for a complete listing.
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