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WDIO-DT (digital 10) and WIRT-DT (digital 13) are the ABC and RTV affiliated television stations for North Central and Northeastern Minnesota, and Northwestern Wisconsin. WDIO-TV first went on the air on January 24, 1966. WDIO's transmitter is located in Duluth. WDIO/WIRT have broadcast in color since they first went on the air - however, due to the unavailability of color studio cameras, they used B&W cameras for over 9 months.

WIRT in Hibbing is a full time satellite station of WDIO. WIRT went on the air in late summer 1967 and serves the Iron Range including Grand Rapids, Virginia, and Chisholm.

WDIO-DT / WIRT-DT
200px-WDIO-WIRT Logo
WDIO: Duluth, MinnesotaWIRT: Hibbing, Minnesota
Branding WDIO/WIRT

Channels 10 and 13(general)
Eyewitness News(newscasts)

Slogan The Northland's News Leader
Channels Digital:WDIO: 10 (VHF)Virtual: 10 (PSIP)

WIRT: 13 (VHF) Virtual: 13 (PSIP)

Subchannels 10.1/13.1 ABC (HDTV)10.2/13.2 RTV
Affiliations ABC

RTV

Owner Hubbard Broadcasting

(WDIO-TV, LLC)

First air date WDIO: January 24, 1966WIRT: August 31, 1967[1]
Call letters' meaning

WDIO: Duluth Channel IO (10)

WIRT: [http://web.archive.org/20030505111958/home.earthlink.net/~nelsonbe/origins.call-list.html Iron Range Television]

Former channel number(s) Analog:

WDIO: 10 (1966-2009) WIRT: 13 (1967-2009) Digital: WDIO: 43 (2002-2009) WIRT: 36 (2002-2009)

Transmitter power

WDIO: 45 kW

WIRT: 13 kW

Height

WDIO: 297 m

WIRT: 204 m

Facility ID WDIO: 71338WIRT: 71336
Transmitter coordinates WDIO:46°47′15″N92°7′21″WWIRT:

47°22′53″N92°57′15″W

Website www.wdio.com

WDIO and WIRT, along with KBJR, terminated analog broadcasts on February 17, 2009, the date originally mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to switch to digital. KQDS-TV discontinued its analog broadcasts at an earlier date.

HistoryEdit

WDIO 1973

WDIO color logo 1970s

WDIO's original owner was Frank Befera, a trained engineer who owned a chain of radio stations across northeastern Minnesota. He sold channels 10 and 13 to publishers Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1977[2], who would later sell the station to Hubbard Broadcasting.

The red 10/13 disk logo is the oldest TV logo in Duluth, having been in use since the 1980s. The lettering used in the logo dates back to as late as the early 1970s. Since the 1980s, changes to the 10/13 logo has only been minor and cosmetic -- the most recent change was in fall 2007, when to go with ABC's redesigning of its logo from one resembling a flat disc to one with a clear glass ball effect, the station also added the ball effect flair to the 10/13 disc.

The blizzard of April, 2008Edit

On April 11, 2008, a blizzard swept through the Northland. This caused power outages in Duluth causing WDIO, KDLH, and KBJR all to lose their signal at times. WDIO supposedly went the longest before they started losing signal.[citation needed]

Eyewitness NewsEdit

WDIO 1992 ID

WDIO Ident from 1992

WDIO/WIRT's newscasts were branded throughout the 1970s and 1980s as "Action News." The station changed its branding to "Eyewitness News" in the early 1990s. It shares this branding with sister station KSTP in Minneapolis/St. Paul. However, the Eyewitness News branding is the station's only resemblance to KSTP. WDIO uses its own graphics and music packages; and as a result, WDIO usually does better than its sister station in the ratings.[citation needed]

WDIO-WIRT 1990s

1990s

WDIO and KSTP team up when breaking news happens (example: the I-35W Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis) when WDIO ties its feed into KSTP's or when a major election debate takes place, WDIO, KSTP and KAAL all join together.[citation needed]

WDIO news anchor Dennis Anderson has been with the station since 1970 and was the first local TV anchor to announce the sinking of the ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald which sank in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.

In October 2009, 20 year veteran Deborah Anderson stepped down from being the lead anchor of weekend newscasts. The station management is filling the vacancy with reporters already employed with the station rather than searching for a replacement.

At some point in late 2010 or early 2011, WDIO became the third station in the Duluth area to broadcast its local newscasts in 16:9 enhanced-definition widescreen.

RatingsEdit

WDIO91

WDIO-TV logo of ABC's "America's Watching" campaign from 1991-92

Soon after sign-on, WDIO shot to the top of the local news ratings and has remained there more or less ever since. During the 1970s and 1980s, WDIO dominated competitors KDLH (2nd) and KBJR-TV (3rd).

In the May 2007 ratings race, WDIO took first place in all timeslots except 5:00 where they fell to NBC affiliate KBJR.

In February 2008, WDIO won with number of viewers at 5–7 am, and 6 and 10 pm. KBJR once again came out slightly ahead at 5:00.

In July 2009, WDIO topped the ratings again. The 10:00 show had about 7,000 more viewers than second place KBJR. WDIO also won in the weekend ratings.[1]

In November 2009, WDIO doubled the ratings of KBJR at the 10:00 newscast with a 12 share compared to KBJR's 6 rating and KDLH's 3. The station also swept the 5:00 and 6:00 time-slots and with a 14 and an 11 rating respectively. KBJR rated a 10 at the same time-slots according to the Duluth News Tribune. Take note that this ratings period marks 1 full year anniversary of WDIO's market dominance.

On-air staffEdit

Current on-air staffEdit

Anchors

  • Dennis Anderson - weeknights at 6 and 10PM
  • Samantha Mehrotra - Good Morning Northland
  • Renee Passal - Eyewitness News at 5PM


Reporters

  • Renee Passal - general assignment reporter (also host of This Week in Mining)
  • Alan Hoglund - newsroom/field reporter
  • Paige Calhoun - newsroom reporter
  • Katey Rusch - reporter/weekend anchor


StormTeam

  • Justin Liles - Chief Meteorologist (AMS Certified); weeknights at 5, 6 and 10PM
  • Phil Johnson (Member; AMS) - Meteorologist; weekends at 10PM
  • Ben Dary - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Good Morning Northland"


Sports team

  • Josh Zenner - Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and 10PM
  • Laura Kennedy - Sports Anchor; weekends at 10PM (also sports reporter)

Former on-air staffEdit

  • Sandy Drag - Eyewitness News at Five (Now at Cliffs Natural Resources)
  • Charlene Malin - Good Morning Northland Weather Anchor 2008-2010 (now meteorologist at KCRG in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Deborah Anderson - weekends at 10PM, 1989-2009
  • Kyle Underwood - Reporter 2002-2005, Chief Meteorologist 2005-2008. Now at WOOD-TV
  • Tyler Jacobson - Sports Director 2007-June 2008
  • Dick Wallack - WDIO's 1st anchor
  • Jack Mckenna - WDIO's 1st weather forecaster- would eventually leave for KBJR
  • Louren Sandquist - 1st sports presenter
  • Collin Ventrella - Weather
  • Steve LePage - Sports
  • Ray Higgins - Sports
  • Randy Howe - Sports (Now at KVBC Las Vegas)
  • Erik Osberg - Sports
  • Dan Schutte - 5:00 News Anchor/Producer
  • Steve Long - Good Morning Northland Anchor (now Anchor at KPTH)
  • Lisa Neitzel - Good Morning Northland Weather
  • Chris Nettleton - Sports (Now at KQDS)
  • Gavin Moberg - Weekend Sports
  • Julie Hill - Reporter
  • Dana Larson - Reporter
  • Nick Blair - Reporter
  • Ken Chapin - Weather
  • Cassie Limpert - Good Morning Northland Anchor
  • Kim Johnson - Reporter/Anchor fill-in
  • Katie Lange - Reporter
  • Julie Moravchik - Reporter (Now News Director at KQDS)
  • Deb Shold - Good Morning Northland Weather
  • Margaret Clevenstine - Reporter (Now anchor/reporter at WSET)
  • Colleen Mahoney - Iron Range Reporter (Now reporter at KSTP- Still appears on-air to report events in the Twin-Cities and southern Minnesota)
  • Julia Bobodillia - Reporter
  • Michael Kulstad - Reporter
  • Bill Sherck - Reporter
  • Mary Tan - Reporter
  • Eric Svoboda - Weekend Weather (Now at KDNW)- Still fills in when weather department is off.)
  • Emily Oz - Reporter
  • Dawn Mikkelson - Reporter
  • Adam Young - Weekend Weather (Now at KAMC)
  • Jeff Beamish - Weekend Weather (Now at KVOA)
  • Ryan Carmel - Good Morning Northland (Now news anchor & weather anchor at KEYT-TV)
  • Lance Parthe - Weather
  • Amy Cook - Reporter
  • Katie Nordeen-Reporter
  • Sarah Frakes-Sports
  • Sandy Drag-5pm Anchor

News/station presentationEdit

Newscast titlesEdit

Station slogansEdit

  • The Northland's News Leader (2006-present)

Outlying translatorsEdit

Besides WIRT, WDIO is seen on several outlying digital translator stations in northeastern and north central Minnesota. Via PSIP virtual channel numbering, each translator station is displayed as channels 13.1 and 13.2 since each translator rebroadcasts WIRT.

Digital translators

Call sign Community
W64AM Big Falls
W58AI Birchdale
K49BU International Falls
K65EA Kabetogama
K60BL Max
K55BY Northome

Additionally, there are two northern Minnesota translators rebroadcasting WIRT via analog.

Analog translators

Call sign Community Channel Programming
K65BN Red Lake 65 Main WDIO/WIRT programming / ABC
K69BT Red Lake 69 Retro Television Network

New Year's EveEdit

Every New Year's Eve, WDIO often cut in to Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve to broadcast the SMDC New Year's Eve Ball; which was a fundraiser for the hospital. In 2008, after 17 years of televising the event, WDIO announced that it would stop its annual broadcast. This decision, along with declining attendance, led to the decision to cancel the event. The Ball itself ran for 23 years and at its peak hosted 4,000 guests.[3]

Syndicated programmingEdit

In addition to ABC network feed, WDIO/WIRT offer the following syndicated shows.

Digital televisionEdit

WDIO/WIRT ended analog broadcasts and relocated their digital signals to their original VHF channels on February 17, 2009.[4]

Digital channels

Channel Programming
x.1 Main WDIO/WIRT programming / ABC HD
x.2 Retro Television Network

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says September 1, while the Television and Cable Factbook says August 31.
  2. ^ "Television and Cable Factbook", 1988 edition
  3. ^ "SMDC says the New Year's Eve Ball is over". 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-06-19.[dead link]
  4. ^ Tuesday Night at Midnight WDIO and WIRT-TV Analog Signals End, WDIO-TV, February 16, 2009

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