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WWMT is the CBS-affiliated television station for West Michigan that is licensed to Kalamazoo. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 (Ex-Analog Channel 3) from a transmitter at Gun Lake southeast of Wayland along the Barry and Allegan County line. Owned by Freedom Communications, the station has studios on West Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Syndicated programming on WWMT includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Oprah, and Dr. Phil. It is sister to ABC affiliate WLAJ in Lansing. Although that station has its own studios on South Pennsylvania Avenue in that city, master control and some internal operations of itself and a CW subchannel are located at WWMT's studios.

WWMT
[1]

[2]

Kalamazoo / Grand Rapids /

Battle Creek, Michigan

City of license Kalamazoo
Branding CBS 3 (general)

NewsChannel 3 CW 7 (on DT2)

Slogan Live, Local,

Breaking News

Channels Digital: 8 (VHF)
Subchannels 3.1 CBS

3.2 The CW

Owner Freedom Communications

(Freedom Broadcasting of Michigan Licensee, LLC)

First air date June 1, 1950
Call letters' meaning We're West

Michigan Television

Sister station(s) WLAJ
Former callsigns WKZO-TV (1950-1985)
Former channel number(s) 3 (VHF analog, 1950-2009)
Former affiliations DuMont (1950-1955)

NBC (1950-1960) ABC (1950-1962) all secondary

Transmitter power 25 kW (digital)
Height 257 m (digital)
Facility ID 74195
Transmitter coordinates 42°37′56″N 85°32′16″W / 42.63222°N 85.53778°W / 42.63222; -85.53778
Website wwmt.com

Digital programmingEdit

It operates the area's CW affiliate on a second digital subchannel. This can also be seen on Charter channel 7 (hence the CW 7 branding) and Comcast channel 17. Syndicated programming on WWMT-DT2 includes: The New Adventures of Old Christine, Roseanne, Judge Hatchett, and Judge Jeanine Pirro. Although most CW Plus affiliates are located on digital subchannels of another station, that station is not part of the national service.

Virtual Channel Digital Channel Video Aspect Programming
3.1 8.1 1080i 16:9 main WWMT programming / CBS HD
3.2 8.2 480i 4:3 WWMT-DT2 "CW 7"

HistoryEdit

WWMT debuted on June 1, 1950 as WKZO-TV (Kalamazoo). It was West Michigan's second oldest television station and owned by broadcasting pioneer John Fetzer along with WKZO-AM 590 which was launched in 1931. It was a primary CBS station from the very beginning but initially had secondary affiliations with NBC and ABC. At the start, WKZO-TV had reception problems due to the presence of WTMJ-TV across Lake Michigan in Milwaukee that was also on analog channel 3. In 1953, WTMJ moved to channel 4. This, in turn, forced WBBM-TV in Chicago to move from channel 4 to channel 2 as a condition of its purchase by CBS. In 1956, WKZO-AM-FM-TV moved to an old car dealership on West Maple Avenue in Kalamazoo that has been the television station's home ever since.

It was the primary CBS affiliate by default in the South Bend/Elkhart area in Northern Indiana. This served as a significant part of its advertising area before that area got UHF channels that dominate the market and WKZO's signal was moved to a more northerly location. However in 1960, Fetzer built a new 1,100 foot (335 m) transmitter near Gun Lake. The new tower added Grand Rapids to its city-grade coverage and turned West Michigan into a single television market. WKZO then shared ABC with WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids until WZZM signed-on in 1962.

When John Fetzer owned the Detroit Tigers baseball team, WKZO frequently pre-empted prime time CBS broadcasting for Tigers baseball games including preseason exhibition. In 1985, Fetzer retired and sold off his vast broadcasting empire. The Fetzer television stations were initially sold to Gillett Holdings. However, due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership limits in effect at the time, WKZO was spun-off to Busse Broadcasting who changed the call letters to the current WWMT (We're West Michigan Television). In 1995, Granite Broadcasting acquired the station. Freedom Communications purchased WWMT in 1998 from Granite along with sister station WLAJ. WWMT and WLNS in Lansing are the longest-serving CBS affiliates in the state of Michigan (primarily due to WJBK in Detroit joining Fox).

Although not owned by the CBS Corporation, WWMT has used elements of the CBS Mandate since the mid-1990s. For example, the station's logos have used the CBS logo and blue and gold as its colors since the mid-1990s, and since 2006, WWMT has branded itself as "CBS 3". In 2005, a company-wide consolidation of operations at Freedom's stations resulted in the move of WLAJ's master control and most other internal operations to the facilities of WWMT. Left behind was a skeleton crew of six people out of what began with eighty staffers in Lansing.

On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would end broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of its corporate parents: CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming independent. It was also created to compete against The CW.

On April 4, WWMT announced that it would launch a CW affiliate on a new second digital subchannel. It was reported that Class A UPN affiliate WXSP-CA was in talks to join The CW but due to the station's heavy reliance upon prime-time professional sports (this gets the highest ratings on the channel) and The CW's concerns over preemptive programming, the two sides could not come to an agreement. As a result, West Michigan is one of the largest television markets in which The CW was not available by over-the-air analog broadcasts and is one of the few to which the new network was awarded to a station not affiliated with either The WB or UPN. WXSP joined MyNetworkTV on September 5 when the network launched and WWMT did the same with The CW when it began on September 18. From that date through early-December, WWMT-DT2 was known as "West Michigan's CW". It has since been known as "CW 7". On June 12, 2009, WWMT moved its digital signal to channel 8. This had previously served as WOOD-TV's analog signal. [1]

News operationEdit

[3][4]Current news open.Until it was dethroned by WZZM in the late-1970s (which was itself outranked by WOOD-TV in the mid-1980s), WKZO was West Michigan's top television station. For a time in the mid-1990s, even though most of its fellow CBS affiliates were in third place or worse, WWMT was number one. Since its city of license is Kalamazoo, the station has traditionally had a focus in the southern areas of the market much like WOTV did while it operated a news department. In addition to its main studios, WWMT operates a bureau on Michigan Avenue West in Downtown Battle Creek.

After WLAJ's news operation was shut down on September 25, 2009, WWMT began to produce a taped five minute news and weather brief weeknights at 11 on that channel. Known as ABC 3 News Update, weeknight anchor Jeff Varner is featured in the news segment and Chief Meteorologist Keith Thompson provides the weather forecast. Regional and state coverage is presented in the broadcast. On weekday mornings, there are local weather cut-ins during Good Morning America on WLAJ featuring meteorologist Jeff Porter. These productions can also be seen on WLAJ's website.

Tom VanHowe filled in for Jeff McAtee beginning July 28, 2008. McAtee was on active duty as a commander with the United States Navy Reserve. Marketing Director Mark Bishop told the Grand Rapids Press that "McAtee will be active in the Navy Reserve for a year or two." [2][3] In November 2008, Tom VanHowe extended his contract to continue on WWMT until at least June 2009. He continued to co-anchor the weeknight 5, 5:30 and 6 o'clock newscasts. Weekday morning anchor Jeff Varner moved to the weeknight broadcasts alongside Judy Markee. [4] He also began to solo anchor the prime time broadcast on WWMT-DT2.

WWMT-DT2 airs the nationally syndicated show The Daily Buzz on weekday mornings from 6 to 9. There is also a nightly 10 o'clock newscast seen on that station known as NewsChannel 3 Live at 10 on CW 7. As of June 2010, WWMT is the only network-affiliated station in Western Michigan to present local newscasts entirely in pillar-boxed 4:3 standard definition.

Newscast titlesEdit

  • The Winston Newsreel (1950-1957)
  • WKZO-TV 3 News (1957-1962)
  • Channel 3 News (1962-1972)
  • Newswatch 3 (1972-1975)
  • NewsAcTiVe 3 (1975-1985)
  • News Source 3 (1985-1988)
  • News 3 (1988-2006)
  • NewsChannel 3 (2007-present)

Station slogansEdit

  • "Kalamazoo Direct to You" (1962-1970)
  • "We're the Ones to See" (1970-1975)
  • "TV Active 3" (1975-1985)
  • "We're West Michigan Television" (1985-1988)
  • "Hello West Michigan" (1985, used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • "The Talk of the Town" (1985-1987)
  • "Share the Spirit of Channel 3" (1986-1987, localized version of the CBS ad campaign)
  • "Channel 3 and You" (1987-1994)
  • "Where News Comes First" (1994-2006)
  • "Live Local Breaking News" (2007-present)

News teamEdit

+ denotes personnel seen on WLAJ

Anchors

  • Josh Roe - weekday mornings and noon
  • Marcie Kobriger - weekday mornings and noon
  • Kate Tillotson - weeknights
  • Andy Dominianni - weeknights
  • Aaron Baskerville - weekends

Severe Weather Center 3 Meteorologists

Sports

  • Ed Kengerski - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10 and 11
  • Andy Pepper - weekends and sports reporter

Reporters

  • Tom VanHowe - "Tom's Corner" segment producer
  • David Bailey - Grand Rapids/Lakeshore
  • Eric Gemmell
  • Ranji Sinha
  • Tim Ragones
  • Carolyn Wyllie
  • Jared Werksma
  • Jessica Wheeler
  • Jennifer Dowling
  • Michael Chesney

Former on-air staffEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.wwmt.com/articles/transition_1358902___article.html/newschannel_deadline.html
  2. ^ http://www.wwmt.com/news/newschannel_1351469___article.html/well_howe.html
  3. ^ http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2008/07/longtime_tv_anchor_coming_out.html
  4. ^ http://www.freedom.com/company/full_news2.asp?id=1357

External linksEdit

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