WWCP-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Allegheny area of Pennsylvania that is licensed to Johnstown. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter on Laurel Mountain along U.S. 30. Owned by Peak Media, the station operates ABC affiliate WATM-TV (owned by Palm Television, L.P.) through a local marketing agreement (LMA) and the two share studios on Scalp Avenue (PA 56) in Johnstown along U.S. 219. In addition to the main studios, the station operates sales offices in State College (on West Beaver Avenue) and Altoona (on East Walton Avenue). Syndicated programming on this channel includes: How I Met Your Mother, My Name Is Earl, Family Guy, and The Simpsons.
|Johnstown/Altoona/State College, Pennsylvania|
|City of license||Johnstown|
|Branding||Fox 8 (general)
Fox 8 News ABC 23 (on DT2)
|Slogan||The Place to Be!|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF) &WATM-DT 24.2 (UHF)|
|Translators||59/17 W59AI State College|
|Affiliations||8.1 Fox8.2 ABC|
|Owner||Peak Media, LLC
(Peak Media of Pennsylvania Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||October 13, 1986|
|Call letters' meaning||Wonderful Central Pennsylvania|
|Former channel number(s)||8 (VHF analog, 1986-2009)
29 (UHF digital, 2006-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1986-1987)|
|Transmitter power||9.3 kW1,000 kW (WATM-DT2)|
|Height||368 m311 (WATM-DT2)|
|Transmitter coordinates||40°10′53″N 79°9′5″W / 40.18139°N 79.15139°W / 40.18139; -79.15139|
|8.1||main WWCP-TV programming / Fox HD|
|8.2||main WATM-TV programming / ABC 23 SD|
WWCP can also be seen on translator W59AI (analog channel 59/digital channel 17) in State College from a transmitter southeast of Unionville and WATM's second digital subchannel (UHF channel 24.2) in HD from a transmitter on Wopsy Mountain east of Dysart.
Former WWCP logo.Initially, the analog VHF channel 8 facility was to be licensed to Pittsburgh but the owners petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move the license to Johnstown. Programming prices were lower in this area and more shows would be available to the station here as opposed to Pittsburgh. Another likely consideration was the need to protect WJW-TV in Cleveland. The FCC approved the move under the condition that Pittsburgh would need to receive a Grade B signal.
This posed a problem for the new channel as this stipulation meant that its signal would be all but un-viewable in the eastern portion of the market (including Altoona and State College) although this was also done to protect WGAL-TV in Lancaster. WWCP's owners solved this problem by buying the dormant license of Altoona's former ABC affiliate, WOPC-TV. It moved the WOPC license from UHF channel 38 to 23 and changed the calls to WWPC-TV. As a result, WWCP signed-on October 13, 1986 as an Independent with WWPC as a full-time satellite.
Originally, both stations aired a general entertainment format running cartoons, classic sitcoms, old movies, recent sitcoms, and drama shows. Finding itself in the unusual position of being an Independent on the VHF band, the station immediately took most of the stronger shows from the only other independent in the market, WFAT, in a coup which effectively spelled the end for that channel (it went dark in 1991, returned in 1996, and is now Pittsburgh's CW affiliate WPCW). Within ten months of going on-the-air, WWCP and WWPC obtained a Fox affiliation. Since WOPC had gone dark in the early-1980s, the eastern portion of the market had received ABC programming from WHTM-TV in Harrisburg while the western portion was served by WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. At the time, both stations preempted a moderate amount of network shows. It soon became obvious that Johnstown needed its own ABC affiliate.
In 1988, WWCP converted WWPC to a separate station (with new calls WATM-TV) which then took the ABC affiliation. That station was soon sold-off to a separate licensee in order to comply with FCC regulations on station ownership but the commission allowed WWCP to continue to control that channel under a local marketing agreement. WWCP successfully contended that if operated separately, both stations may have been in danger of going dark. For a time, a repeater was set up that allowed WWCP to be received on UHF channel 57 in the Altoona area. This was not effective, however, because the transmitter was twenty miles away near Martinsburg. Altoona viewers who did not possess a high-powered antenna could not receive this signal. Throughout most of the city, viewers only saw a picture with no sound.
WWCP was the first Fox affiliate in the nation to refuse to air O.J. Simpson's two-night interview special with Judith Regan on November 27 and 29, 2006. The controversial program, called If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, resulted in the station owner saying it was inappropriate for Simpson to profit from his infamy.  A special on St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee would have aired on the 27th with a locally produced program about domestic abuse, When Violence Hits Home, produced by WWCP/WATM Executive Producer, Josh Bandish, and anchored by Jim Penna, airing on the 29th had Fox not pulled the special from air on November 21. WWCP-TV shut down analog transmissions on June 12, 2009 , and moved its digital broadcasts back to its previous analog channel number, 8.  WWCP also airs the locally produced Catholic news show Proclaim! on Sundays.
 On November 17,2010, A trio of partners in the firm of Media Venture Partners formed a license company to acquire WWCP-TV, and a satellite in State College and an LMA with WATM-TV, which is an Altoona PA-based ABC affiliate. The license company formed by MVP is Horseshoe Curve Communications LLC, and the three MVP execs who comprise Horseshoe are Elliot B. Evers, Brian Pryor and Gregory D. Widroe. On January 4, 2011 the FCC granted transfer of control from Peak Media Holdings LLC to Horseshoe Curve Communications LLC.
Out of Market CoverageEdit
FOX 8 News open.WWCP and WATM began airing local newscasts in 1992. This channel produced an hour-long broadcast every night at 10 from Johnstown while the latter aired a nightly program at 11 from State College. As a result, these newscasts focused on the respective areas and barely registered as a blip in the ratings against longer-established WJAC-TV and WTAJ-TV who had market-wide coverage. Due in part to continued ratings struggles, WATM's separate news department was shut down in December 2002 and merged with WWCP in Johnstown.
On November 28, 2007, The Tribune Democrat reported that the shared news department of WWCP and WATM was going to shut down.  According to a written statement, the two stations had been operating at a loss for years and the move was needed. The closure resulted in all reporters being released from their contracts. NBC affiliate WJAC had on-air positions open but no personalities from these two stations were hired. Effective January 14, 2008, WJAC assumed production responsibility of the prime time show (still known as Fox 8 News at 10) which was reduced to 35 minutes on weeknights and thirty minutes on weekends. The WJAC-produced news uses the same music package and some voice-overs seen during segment opens as the former operation did. A new graphics package slightly different from WJAC and new logos similar to the WWCP promo logo introduced in 2007 were created specifically for the 10 o'clock program.
Since WJAC has prior commitments with news and weather cut-ins during Today, WATM still produces its own Good Morning America news and weather cut-ins that are seen Tuesday through Saturday mornings. Former WWCP co-anchor Sherry Stalley, who was still under contract when the news department shut down, anchored the updates. The cut-ins use news video from the previous day's WJAC-produced WWCP broadcast and the same graphics package. On Sunday and Monday, the cut-ins are filled by WATM promos. In October 2010, Stalley was hired by WJAC to return as the anchor for Fox 8 News but on  Monday March 14, 2011, Stalley's picture was removed from the Fox 8 Website and is no longer with the station. While a replacement for Stalley was sought, WJAC anchor Marty Radovanic served as anchor for the station's 10:00p.m. newscast,  and the Good Morning America news and weather cut-ins still produced by WATM were filled by former WWCP/WATM Executive Producer, Josh Bandish. On March 22, 2011 former WWCP/WATM reporter Christine Strugala, returned to the station to take on anchoring duties for the Fox 8 News at 10 along with Good Morning America news and weather cut-ins on abc 23 .
Fox 8 News at 10 (weeknights 10 to 10:35)
- Christine Strugala
- Tony Martin
- Tim Rigby
(weekends 10 to 10:30 p.m.)
- Nick Ruffner(Saturday) Janel Knight(Sunday)
- Tim Tender
- Matt Maisel
Additional personnel from WJAC are seen on WWCP. See that article for a complete listing.
These people were seen on-air when the WWCP and WATM news department closed.
- Jim Penna - News Director and weeknight anchor (out of broadcasting)
- Sherry Stalley - weeknight anchor (retained by WWCP/WATM)
- Kate O'Donovan - weekend anchor and reporter (out of broadcasting)
- Travis Koshko - Chief Meteorologist seen weeknights (now at WCAV as Chief Meteorologist)
- Will Driscoll - weekend meteorologist and reporter (current job unknown)
- Greg Whitmer - Sports Director seen weeknights (current job unknown)
- Matt Parsons - weekend sports (now at WCAV as weekend sports anchor)
- Angie Boddorf - reporter (moved to WPMT as reporter, now reporter/anchor for WTAJ as Angie Koehle)
- Jennifer Black - reporter (went to WCAV/WVAW-LD as weeknight anchor)
- Amy Cutler - reporter (now freelance reporter for News 12 The Bronx)
- Sean Dreher - reporter (went to WTAJ as reporter/anchor, now at WBIR-TV)
- Ian Holtzman - executive producer
These personnel were also seen on the two stations at one point in time.
- Kim McCrea- anchor and reporter (current job unknown)
- Donya Archer - anchor (now at WTXF)
- Paige Hopkins - anchor (now anchor at Fox News)
- Rich (Knight) Apuzzo - meteorologist (formerly at WXIX-TV)
- David Pingalore - Sports Director (now Sports Director at WKMG-TV)
- Ryan Brant - sports anchor and reporter (now Sports Director at WKEF and WRGT-TV)
- Melissa White - Blair County reporter
- Josh Bandish - State College Bureau reporter and Executive Producer
- Mindy Basara - reporter (now at WBAL-TV)
- Scott Brooks - reporter and producer
- Bob McCall - Senior Producer (now at WTTG)
- ^ http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/16043573.htm
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ CDBS Print
- ^ http://www.mediaventurepartners.com/article/press-release-re-wwcp-tvwatm-tv-johnston-altoona-pa#
- ^ https://www.comcast.com/Customers/Clu/ChannelLineup.ashx?print=1&CGID=2232
- ^ https://www.comcast.com/Customers/Clu/ChannelLineup.ashx?print=1&CGID=2228
- ^ http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/local_story_332113055.html
- ^ http://www.fox8tv.com
- ^ http://www.abc23.com/News/NewsDetails.asp?NewsID=5503