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WICU-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Northwest Region of Pennsylvaniamarker that is licensed to Eriemarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter east of Langdon in Greene Townshipmarker. Owned by SJL Broadcast Management Corporation, the station operates CBS affiliate WSEE-TVmarker and its CWmarker subchannel (owned by Lilly Broadcasting, LLC) through a local marketing agreement (LMA). The two share studios on State Street in downtown Erie. Syndicated programming on WICU includes: Two and a Half Men, Inside Edition, Jeopardy!, and Oprah.

History

WICU began broadcasting in Erie on March 15, 1949 as an affiliate of all four networks of the time: NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont. It was one of the last stations to be granted a construction permit before the FCC froze new applications. Channel 12 was a major beneficiary of a quirk in the FCC's plan for allocating stations. In the early days of broadcast television, there were 12 VHF channels available, and 69 UHF channels (later reduced to 57 in 1983). The VHF bands were more desirable because they carried longer distances. Since there were only 12 VHF channels available there were limitations as to how closely the stations could be spaced. After the FCC opened the UHF band in 1952, it devised a plan for allocating VHF licenses. Under this plan, almost all of the country would be able to receive two commercial VHF channels plus one noncommercial channel. Most of the rest of the country ("1/2") would be able to receive a third VHF channel. Other areas would be designated as "UHF islands" since they were too close to larger cities for VHF service.

The "2" networks became CBS and NBC, "+1" became PBS, and "1/2" became ABC (which was the weakest network usually winding up with the UHF allocation where no VHF was available). However, Erie and Youngstown, Ohiomarker were both sandwiched between Pittsburghmarker and Steubenvillemarker the south, Clevelandmarker to the west, Buffalomarker to the east, and London, Ontariomarker to the north. This created a large "doughnut" in northwestern Pennsylvaniamarker and northeastern Ohiomarker where there could only be one VHF license. WICU was fortunate to gain that license and has been the market leader in Erie for most of its history. It was the only station in town until WSEE-TV signed-on in 1954 as a CBS affiliate. The two shared ABC until WJET-TV signed-on in 1966. SJL Communications, a subsidiary of SJL Broadcast Management,and Alta Management, acquired WICU in 1996. SJL purchased Alta's interest in 2005. A Consummation Notice was filed with the FCC in February 2007 to voluntarily transfer control of the station from SJL Communications to SJL Broadcast Management Corporation. This transaction was then authorized by the FCC.

Channel 12's broadcast signal reaches the city of Erie and surrounding communities as well as across Lake Eriemarker in parts of Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. Channel 12 is available on all cable systems in Erie County, Pennsylvaniamarker as well as Warrenmarker and Crawfordmarker counties in Pennsylvania along with selected cable networks in Venango County, Pennsylvaniamarker, southwestern New York Statemarker, and northeastern Ohio. As recently as the 1990s, it was available on cable as far east as Olean, New Yorkmarker well out of WICU's broadcast range and in competition with Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ-TVmarker. Channel 12 was the subject of a television special entitled "WICU: The First 40 Years" that was broadcasted on March 15, 1989. In 2002, the station entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with WSEE. From that point until June 1, 2009, WSEE continued to operate from their own studios on Peach Streetmarker in downtown Erie. That station, along with its CW subchannel, merged into WICU's facilities on June 1. On June 12, 2009, WICU-TV returned to channel 12 when the analog to digital conversion completed. It turned off its analog signal at Noon on June 8 to prepare for the change. It was the last analog station serving the Erie region to make the switch. Until June 12, the signal was available on its own low power digital signal. Until cable outlets and Dish Network converted their receivers to WICU's new digital channel, it was also seen on WSEE's third digital subchannel.

Digital Programming

The station's signal is multiplexed

Channel Video Aspect Programming
12.1 1080i 16:9 main WICU programming / NBC-HD
12.2 480i 4:3 WSEE-DT2 programming / The CW-SD
12.3 480i 4:3 WSEE programming / CBS-SD


Newscasts

Unlike most NBC affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, WICU does not air local news weekdays at noon or 5:30. Eventually, as contracts expire, the news teams of WSEE and WICU will merge so that they produce newscasts for all three stations.

Current personalities

Anchors
  • Jill McCormick - weekday mornings
  • Mark Soliday - weekday mornings
  • Kevin MacDowell - weeknights
  • Amanda Post - weeknights
  • Lisa Adams - weekends and producer


12 News FutureTrack Meteorologists
  • Rob Wilson (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Julie Coates - weekday mornings
  • Cheryl Scott - weekends and reporter (shared with WSEE)


Sports
  • Mike Ruzzi - weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Jay Puskar - weekends


Reporters
  • John Rupolo - nights
  • Paul Wagner - weeknights
  • Kristin Kane - WSEE fill-in anchor
  • Emily Matson - weekdays
  • John Last
  • Lisa Weismann


Former personalities

  • Kelsie Smith - reporter (2007-2009, moved to sister station WENY-TVmarker)
  • Shannon Solo - meteorologist (2006-2009, left to pursue a country music career)


News/Station Presentation

Newscast titles

  • The World Tonight (1949-1953)
  • WICU Television News (1953-1970)
  • Channel 12 News (1970-1979)
  • ICU News (1980-1986)
  • NewsCenter 12 (1987-1997)
  • 12 News (1997-present)


Station Slogans

  • TV-12, Proud as a Peacock! (1979-1981, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to TV-12 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come on Home to TV-12 (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to the Best, Only on TV-12 (1988-1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1999-present)


References

External links




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