WRBU, virtual channel 46 (UHF digital channel 47), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station serving St. Louis, Missouri, United States that is licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois. It is the flagship station of owner Roberts Broadcasting. WRBU maintains studio facilities located on North Kingshighway Boulevard on the northwest side of St. Louis, and its transmitter is located near House Springs. It is the only major network affiliate in the St. Louis area that is licensed to a city on the Illinois side of the market.
The station first signed on the air on September 11, 1989 as WHSL, serving as a full-time affiliate of the Home Shopping Network, it carried the network's programming for its entire broadcast day. It later became a commercial network affiliate when it added primetime programming from UPN in September 2002. In January 2003, the station changed its call sign to the present-day WRBU. Three months later on April 1, 2003, the station dropped HSN and adopted a general entertainment format alongside its UPN affiliation, adding sitcoms, syndicated talk shows and reality shows to fill out the schedule. Until this switch, St. Louis had been the largest city in the United States by market size that did not have a full-time UPN affiliate. Prior to channel 46 aligning with the network, its programming had been seen through secondary affiliations with KPLR-TV (channel 11) from 1999 to 2002 and even earlier on ABC affiliate KDNL-TV (channel 30) from 1995 to 1999, with both stations carrying UPN programs after primetime hours. KPLR previously shared the UPN affiliation with religious independent station KNLC (channel 24), though KNLC turned down most UPN programs whose content was deemed inappropriate to air on the station.
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom in December 2005) announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. The network signed a ten-year affiliation agreement with Tribune Broadcasting for 13 of the 16 WB affiliates that the company owned at the time, with KPLR-TV named as the St. Louis affiliate of the new network. Nearly one month later on February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of MyNetworkTV, a competing network which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. In March 2006, Channel 46 announced that it would affiliate with MyNetworkTV; the network launched on September 5 of that year. The station serves as a backup NBC affiliate in the event that KSDK (channel 5) preempts the network's programming due to special programming, breaking news or severe weather coverage.
From February 2003 until March 2010, WRBU, through the joint venture St. Louis/Denver LLC, was half-owned by Roberts, with the other half held by the TeleFutura subsidiary of Univision Communications; Roberts continued to operate the station through a time brokerage agreement during this time, and appointed the directors of WRBU's licensee. Roberts also transferred its station in Denver, KTVJ (the operations of which were taken over by Univision, becoming TeleFutura affiliate KTFD-TV), to St. Louis/Denver LLC. In March 2010, St. Louis/Denver LLC was dissolved; Roberts then retook full ownership of WRBU, and Univision took full ownership of KTFD.
On December 4, 2013, Roberts filed to sell WRBU to Tri-State Christian Television; however, on December 11, the United States bankruptcy court gave initial approval for a plan by Roberts' creditors to instead transfer WRBU and its sister stations, WZRB in Columbia, South Carolina and WAZE-LP in Evansville, Indiana, to a trust with Ion Media Networks (a creditor in Roberts' Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code|chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings) as its beneficiary, with Roberts' attorney subsequently stating that Ion would purchase the three stations. The deal will likely mark a return to an over-the-air presence for Ion Television in the St. Louis market, the network had been available through KUMO-LP (channel 51), a low-power repeater of Mount Vernon, Illinois-based WPXS from 1998 to 2008; Ion has only been available in the market since then through the network's national feed on cable and satellite providers.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|46.1||480i||4:3||WRBU-DT||Main WRBU programming / MyNetworkTV|
WRBU currently does not broadcast its primary digital channel in high definition, making it one of the few network-affiliated stations in the United States not to operate an HD feed on its digital signal, although promos for WRBU programs seen on the station's Facebook page are presented in HD. It is currently unknown when WRBU will begin broadcasting in high definition, although this could occur once its purchase by Ion Media Networks is finalized (Ion began upgrading its stations' digital signals to HD in 2009).
WRBU shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 46, on January 21, 2009 (just over five months before the federally-mandated June 12 transition to digital broadcasts for U.S. full-power television stations; the official date was pushed back to June 12). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 47. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 46.
- ↑ 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- ↑ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- ↑ Tribune TV Stations to Lead Affiliate Group of New Network, Tribune Company corporate website, January 24, 2006.
- ↑ "News Corp. to launch new mini-network for UPN stations". USA Today. February 22, 2006. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2006-02-22-fox-my-network_x.htm. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
- ↑ News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- ↑ Romano, Allison (March 9, 2006). "My Network TV Signs Six Affils". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/news-articles/my-network-tv-signs-six-affils/79175. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO TRANSFER CONTROL OF ENTITY HOLDING BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. November 12, 2002. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=623629&Service=TV&Form_id=315&Facility_id=57221. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO TRANSFER CONTROL OF ENTITY HOLDING BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. March 18, 2010. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1360520&Service=DT&Form_id=316&Facility_id=57221. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- ↑ "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. December 4, 2013. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1605318&Service=DT&Form_id=314&Facility_id=57221. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- ↑ Mueller, Angela (December 11, 2013). "Judge approves creditors’ proposal the network's in Roberts Broadcasting bankruptcy". St. Louis Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/blog/2013/12/judge-approves-creditors-proposal-in.html?page=all. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- ↑ Brown, Lisa (December 11, 2013). "Roberts' TV stations to be sold". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/roberts-tv-stations-to-be-sold/article_6dbc41fa-08af-5618-97d4-33b7acf750d0.html. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- ↑ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- ↑ List of Broadcast Stations (A-I) Going Digital On February 17, 2009, About.com