WFXW is the FOX-affiliated television station for the Wabash Valley area of west central Indiana that is licensed to Terre Haute. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 39 from a transmitter at their studios on U.S. 41 and U.S. 150 south of Farmersburg. Owned by Mission Broadcasting, the station is
|Terre Haute, Indiana|
WAWV News (5 p.m. newscast and 10 p.m. online newscast)
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 38 (PSIP)
|First air date||April 3, 1973|
|Call letters' meaning||'ABC Wabash Valley'|
|Affiliations||ABC (1973-1995 and 2011-present)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
38 (UHF, 1973-2009)
|Former affiliations||Fox (1995-2011|
|Transmitter power||850 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||39°14′36″N 87°23′7″W / 39.24333°N 87.38528°W / 39.24333; -87.38528|
operated through a joint sales agreement (a.k.a. JSA) by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group. This makes WFXW a sister station to NBC affiliate WTWO. Syndicated programming on this station includes: Two and a Half Men, Family Guy, and Judge Judy.
The station began on April 3, 1973 as WIIL-TV, a full-time affiliate of ABC. Prior to 1973, the network had been relegated to partial clearances on WTHI-TV and WTWO. Originally assigned to broadcast on UHF channel 66, the station eventually gained permission to broadcast on UHF channel 38. The original owner, Alpha Broadcasting, poured money into the new operation. However, the local market situation led the station immediately into the red.
Viewers had strongly entrenched viewing habits with the longer-established VHF stations WTWO and WTHI, although WTWO was less than a decade old, and were not as familiar with the then-weaker ABC network lineup. At one point in 1974, the station nearly went off the air, but managed to survive. In 1978, North Carolina broadcaster Cy Bahakel purchased the station renaming it WBAK-TV (after his last name). Faith to Live By, a short daily devotional program that previously aired on WTWO, was seen weekday mornings immediately after WBAK's sign-on. Despite stronger ownership, WBAK barely registered as a blip in the Wabash Valley ratings.
In 1995, the station changed affiliation to FOX citing low ratings from the then-overabundance of (stronger-rated) outlying ABC affiliates. Originally, most cable companies in the market carried either WRTV from Indianapolis, WTVW from Evansville, or Decatur, Illinois' WAND-TV in addition to WBAK. In addition to cable, the eastern half of the market (including most of Terre Haute itself) was covered fairly well by WRTV. The flat terrain of much of the market enabled those competing stations a stronger-than-normal signal reach than would have occurred had the landscape been hilly or mountainous. While leaving the Terre Haute area without an over-the-air ABC affiliate, the network switch gave the market its first-ever FOX network affiliate. That network had previously only been available through cable via either the now-defunct FOXNET or Indianapolis' WXIN. Ironically, the network switch actually helped WBAK, which had languished for years as an ABC affiliate.
The outlying ABC affiliates also went through changes. In 1995, WTVW switched to FOX leaving many viewers in the southern half of the DMA without ABC programming. While WTVW's signal decently covered the southern half of the market, new Evansville ABC affiliate WEHT suffered from a weaker UHF signal. In 2005, WAND switched to NBC. ABC was then picked up in that market by WICD in Champaign which replaced WAND on cable systems in the Illinois part of the Terre Haute market. Over-the-air viewers actually benefited from this switch as WICD's transmitter is located near the Illinois/Indiana border and provides a stronger signal.
This station's analog signal was off-the-air between April 16, 2008 and May 9. Their transmitter failed and was dark approximately ten minutes into the American Idol results show. Many viewers were upset over missing the rest of the show. However, its digital signal was used to restore service to local cable systems as well as the signal seen on Dish Network. The American Idol broadcasts during the week of April 21 aired on sister station WTWO. On May 9, the analog signal was restored to service. WFXW's low-power digital signal went off-the-air December 3, 2008 at 9 in the morning to finish work on the digital transmitter. The station came back on-the-air later that same evening in full power digital with a much stronger signal. The analog signal was shut-off permanently at 6:01 P.M. on June 12, 2009.
In 1973, the station carried a weeknight newscast known as the WIIL-TV Evening News, but this only lasted until 1974. In 1978, local news returned in the form of News 38 which was largely composed of former WTHI employees. This incarnation of local news, which ran as a single daily broadcast, folded in 1981. For the rest of its run as an ABC affiliate, practically the only newscast on the station was Good Morning Terre Haute, a morning show which consisted of taped interviews and a weather forecast.
At the same time that the station switched to FOX, an agreement was reached with WTHI to provide a 10 o'clock prime time news for the newly christened "FOX 38". The station's morning interview program, Good Morning Terre Haute, continued for a short period as Valley Focus on FOX 38. This ended in 1996 as did the devotional program Faith To Live By. Valley Point of View, a weekly public affairs program produced by the Leadership Terre Haute organization, continued on this station until 2004. The WTHI-produced newscast lasted until December 31, 2003 some time after WTWO had taken control of WBAK under a joint sales agreement (JSA). In mid-2004, that station premiered its own 10 P.M. newscast on WBAK entitled NewsChannel 2 Prime Edition. This broadcast utilized the same talent and resources as WTWO's weeknight 6 and 11 newscasts.
After the call letter switch, the 10 o'clock news was re-branded to FOX 38 News at 10 for a brief period then later to WFXW Prime Edition. Originally, the broadcast featured its own news anchor, set, graphics, and music package. On June 7, 2007, the branding was amended to WTWO Prime Edition on WFXW. The format of the newscast was essentially the same as WTWO by this point and featured the main WTWO talent and no longer utilized a separate news set.
On June 8, 2009, the news was revamped and re-branded to FOX 38 News: First at 10. Though still produced by WTWO, the revamped broadcast once again featured a separate news set, graphics package (the same used by many FOX owned-and-operated stations and affiliates), and news music. It is solo anchored by Leanne Tokars who returned to the station in 2009. She originally anchored the first WTWO-produced FOX 38 News at 10 incarnation in 2005. Weather and sports still originate from WTWO's staff. Aside from the stand-alone live weeknight 10 o'clock news, WFXW also rebroadcasts the 6 A.M. hour of WTWO's weekday morning news at 7 (known on this station as NBC 2 News Today on WFXW).
NBC 2 News Today (Weekday Mornings 7 to 8, repeated from WTWO)
- Dana Winklepleck
- Janet Van De Winkle
FOX 38 News: First at 10 (Weeknights 10 to 10:30)
- Leanne Tokars
- Jesse Walker
- Jason Pensky
Additional personnel from WTWO are seen on this station. See the WTWO article for a compete listing.
- WIIL-TV Evening News (1973–1974)
- News 38 (1977–1981)
- Action 10 News Nightwatch on Fox 38 (1995–1999)
- Fox 38 News at Ten (1999–2004 and June-August 2005)
- NewsChannel 2 Prime Edition (10 p.m. newscast; 2004–2005)
- WFXW Prime Edition (10 p.m. newscast; 2005–2007)
- WTWO Prime Edition on WFXW (10 p.m. newscast; 2007–2009)
- FOX 38 News: First at 10 (10 p.m. newscast; 2009–present)
^ "Nexstar's WFXW Switching From Fox To ABC," from Broadcasting & Cable, 6/28/2011 ^ Jessell, Harry A. (June 28, 2011). "Nexstar Drops Fox For ABC In Terre Haute". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved June 28, 2011. ^ Newkirk, Jacob (Aug. 25, 2011). "WTHI-TV picks up Fox affiliation in Terre Haute: "MyFox10" to debut Sept. 1". Jake's DTV Blog. Retrieved Aug. 25, 2011. ^ a b Newkirk, Jacob (July 29, 2011). "Terre Haute's soon-to-be ABC affiliate shows off new logo, announces news changes". Jake's DTV Blog. Retrieved July 30, 2011. ^ WAWV-ABC Frequently Asked Questions ^ Foulkes, Arthur (June 30, 2011). "Channel 38 switching from Fox to ABC". Tribune-Star. Retrieved July 6, 2011.