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WPGH-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 43 from a transmitter at its studios on Ivory Avenue in the city's Summer Hill section. The station can also be seen on Verizon FiOS and Comcast channel 7. There is a high definition feed offered on Verizon FiOS digital channel 507 and Comcast digital channel 803. Owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, WPGH is sister to MyNetworkTV affiliate WPMY and the two share studios. Syndicated programming on this station includes: Seinfeld, My Name is Earl, Two and a Half Men, and Swift Justice with Nancy Grace.

WPGH-TV
200px-WPGHFOX53
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Branding Fox 53 (general)

Channel 11 News

Slogan Everyone's a Winner &

Live. Local. Late-Breaking.

Channels Digital: 43 (UHF)

Virtual: 53 (PSIP)

Subchannels 53.1 Fox

53.2 The Country Network

Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group

(WPGH Licensee, LLC)

First air date July 14, 1953
Call letters' meaning PittsburGH
Sister station(s) WPMY
Former callsigns WKJF-TV (1953-1954)
Former channel number(s) 53 (UHF analog, 1953-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1953-1954, 1969-1971, 1974-1986)

silent (1954-1969, 1971-1974) CBS/ABC/NBC (all secondary, 1974-1986)

Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 302.8 m
Facility ID 73875
Transmitter coordinates 40°29′42.5″N80°0′16.2″W
Website wpgh53.com

Digital programmingEdit

On WPGH-DT2 and Comcast digital channel 208 is The Country Network.

Channels (physical/virtual) Video Aspect Programming
43.1/53.1 720p 16:9 main WPGH-TV programming/Fox (HD)
43.2/53.2 480i 4:3 WPGH-DT2 The Country Network (SD)

HistoryEdit

1950s-1960sEdit

The station originally signed-on July 14, 1953 as WKJF-TV. However, financial woes and the fact that it was a UHF station competing against the more established VHF station WDTV (now KDKA-TV) forced the channel to sign-off in August 1954. It returned to air under new owners U.S. Communications in February 1969 as WPGH-TV. However, despite a well-programmed lineup, financial problems continued to plague the station again forcing it off-the-air on August 16, 1971.

1970s-1980sEdit

Under technical leadership of Chief Engineer Robert Boyd, broadcast engineer James G. Miller, and others, the station was repaired and updated in 1973. WPGH was finally back on-air for good on January 14, 1974 after being sold again in 1973. The deep bass and melodious voice of William C. Trushel II was often heard during station identification and other audio spots. Like most Independents, it offered cartoons, some off-network dramas such as The Untouchables, old movies, religious programming like The 700 Club, and low-budget off-network sitcoms. It filmed a locally-produced Polka dance show at its studios. The station also served as a secondary affiliate for CBS, ABC, and NBC when it came to picking up shows that KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV, and WIIC-TV (now WPXI) passed on.

The Meredith Corporation purchased WPGH in 1978 and added some first-run syndicated talk shows to the station. It also gradually added more recent off-network sitcoms. With WPTT (now WPMY) now in the competition, WPGH put in very high bids for programming and even overpaid for some in order to prevent shows from ending up on WPTT. That practice, however, caused the station to become unprofitable despite its high ratings. As a result, Meredith put WPGH up for sale in 1985. Sinclair (owner of WPTT) put in a bid so it could combine assets and sell WPTT to the Home Shopping Network (HSN). However, it was outbid by Lorimar-Telepictures which took over the station in 1986. WPGH became Pittsburgh's charter Fox affiliate on October 6, 1986 and was sold to Renaissance Broadcasting in 1987 after Lorimar-Telepictures reduced the purchase price from $35 to $21.5 million. [1]

1990s-2000sEdit

As a Fox affiliate, WPGH continued to receive very high ratings but its practice of overpaying for programming also continued to keep the station unprofitable. It was put up for sale again in 1990, and this time, Sinclair successfully acquired the channel. However, the group struggled to obtain financing so it worked out a deal to sell WPTT to its General Manager and longtime employee Eddie Edwards. Sinclair took over operations of WPGH through a local marketing agreement (LMA) in Fall 1991 and moved the best programming on WPTT's schedule to WPGH. The former then became a full-time Home Shopping Network affiliate at midnight on August 30, 1991 with plans of gradually adding entertainment programming.

WPGH had a huge inventory of programming and not enough time to run a large amount of it. So beginning January 6, 1992, WPGH began running shows on WPTT that it lacked the time to run itself. This channel bought the 3 p.m. to midnight time slot on WPTT. That station continued running HSN for fifteen hours a day. In 1993, WPGH programmed WPTT daily from noon to midnight. Beginning in 1995, it controlled the entire day's programming on WPTT except for a few hours overnight. WPGH then added more first-run syndicated talk and reality shows along with recent cartoons and sitcoms while WPTT ran older classic sitcoms, cartoons, movies, drama shows, and some recent sitcoms. WPGH and WPTT (the latter having changed its call letters to WCWB after gaining WB affiliation from WNPA) moved into the same building in 1997 and eventually became officially co-owned by Sinclair in 2000 after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) relaxed its rule allowing one company to own two television stations in the same market.

By 2002, WPGH was no longer running cartoons after Fox Kids was removed from the weekday lineup around the country. It focused now on court shows, talk shows, reality shows, and off-network sitcoms along with Fox programming. Sinclair and the network cut a six-year affiliation contract extension for Sinclair's nineteen Fox affiliates. As a result, the affiliation will remain on WPGH through at least March 2012. Until 2007, the channel served as the de-facto affiliate for the Wheeling, West Virginia/Steubenville, Ohio market. Although it is still on area cable systems, CBS affiliate WTRF-TV added a primary Fox and secondary MyNetworkTV affiliate on a new second digital subchannel. It can also be seen in some parts of the Clarksburg/Weston/Morgantown, West Virginia market even though that area is served by WVFX.

Along with all Sinclair-owned stations, it signed-off its analog signal as part of the original analog television shutdown and digital conversion on February 17, 2009 [2] even though the deadline had been extended to June 12. [3] It was one of three stations in Pittsburgh to still use the original sign-off date alongside sister station WPMY and WQED-owned WQEX. Both WPGH and WPMY kept the analog signals up for some time airing a looping program from the National Association of Broadcasters about the DTV transition as part of the SAFER Act before signing-off completely on March 19. Due to the early sign-off, this made WPGH one of the only stations in the channel 52-69 spectrum participating in the SAFER Act because the spectrum would need to be cleared up immediately after June 12 for other uses.

News operationEdit

Wpgh news 2009

News open.

WPGH established a news department on January 28, 1997 and aired a nightly prime time newscast called Fox 53 Ten O'Clock News. This was launched to compete with WPXI's Pittsburgh Cable News Channel (PCNC) that also offered a broadcast in the time slot. In August 2001, UPN affiliate WNPA added Pittsburgh's third 10 o'clock news produced by CBS affiliate KDKA-TV.

Sinclair converted WPGH's news operation into its controversial, centralized News Central production on August 16, 2004. As a result, this channel's weather department was shut down. National news headlines, weather forecasts, and some sports originated from company headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland. However, local news and sports remained based at WPGH's studios. The station also aired "The Point", a one-minute conservative political commentary, that was also controversial and a requirement of all Sinclair-owned stations with newscasts until the series was discontinued.

On January 12, 2006, WPGH entered into a news share agreement with NBC affiliate WPXI (owned by Cox Enterprises). All of its locally-based news staff, except for sportscaster Alby Oxenreiter, were laid-off as a result. The arrangement called for WPXI to produce a nightly prime time show on WPGH. Essentially, PCNC's 10 p.m. show moved over to this station. Channel 11 News on Fox 53 debuted January 30 and originates from WPXI's studios on Evergreen Road in Pittsburgh's Summer Hill neighborhood next to the US 19 Truck/I-279 interchange. It airs Sunday through Friday nights for 45 minutes followed by a fifteen minute sports highlight show known as Ox on Fox Sports Extra (hosted by Alby Oxenreiter). On Saturdays, the newscast is thirty minutes long. On October 6, 2007, WPXI upgraded its newscasts to high definition level and the WPGH shows were included.

News teamEdit

Anchors

  • David Johnson - weeknight news
  • Gordon Loesch - weekend news and reporter
  • Julie Bologna (NWA and CBM Seals of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist seen weeknights
  • Kevin Benson (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekend meteorologist
  • Scott Harbaugh - fill-in meteorologist
  • Alby Oxenreiter - Sunday through Friday sports and sports reporter
  • Bill Phillips - Saturday sports and sports reporter

Reporters

  • Amy Marcinkiewicz - Beaver and Butler Counties Bureau Chief
  • Courtney Brennan - Westmoreland County Bureau Chief
  • Dave Bondy - Washington County
  • Vince Sims - fill-in news anchor
  • Rick Earle - investigative
  • Robin Taylor - consumer
  • Rich Walsh - sports
  • Danielle Nottingham
  • Jodine Costanzo
  • Renee Kaminski
  • Alan Jennings
  • Timyka Artist
  • Julie Fine
  • Lori Houy

Past on-air staffEdit

Anchors

  • Sheila Hyland - Managing Editor seen weeknights
  • Katie Sesny - weekends
  • Jennifer Gladstone - national news
  • Morris Jones - national news
  • Jay Harris

Meteorologists

  • Vytas Reid - Chief seen weeknights
  • Megan Glaros - now at WCBS-TV
  • Chuck Bell
  • Elizabeth Hart
  • Matt Morano
  • Scott Padgett

Sports

  • Jonas Schwartz - Director seen weeknights
  • Kurt Angle - weeknights
  • Mark Armstrong - weekends

Reporters

  • Mark E. Hyman - "The Point" segment producer
  • Cyndy McGrath
  • Kerry McQuone
  • Andy Briggs
  • Kym Gable

Photographers

  • Dale Eaton - Chief
  • Kirk Manson
  • Dennis Burke
  • Christina Dunmyer
  • Steve Banfield
  • Ron Skaggs
  • Dan Vojtko
  • Tom Gamber

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "OWNERSHIP REPORT FOR COMMERCIAL BROADCAST STATIONS". fcc.gov. http://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=100594277&formid=323&fac_num=73875. Retrieved 2007-02-18.
  2. ^ "The New York Times - COMPANY NEWS; Lorimar Cuts TV Deal Price". nytimes.com. January 9, 1987. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0DE173DF93AA35752C0A961948260. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  3. ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-138A2.pdf
  4. ^ http://pbrtv.com/blog/entry_902.php

External linksEdit

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