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WISE-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for Northern Indiana that is licensed to Fort Waynemarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 18 from a transmitter on West State Boulevard. Owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation, the station operates ABC affiliate WPTAmarker (owned by the Malara Broadcast Group) through a local marketing agreement (a.k.a LMA). The two share studios on Butler Road. Syndicated programming on WISE-TV includes: Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, Ellen DeGeneres, and The Doctors. They operate the area's MyNetworkTV affiliate on a secondmarker digital subchannel. Known on-air as My TV Fort Wayne, it can also be seen on Verizon FiOS channel 9, Mediacom channel 62, and Comcast digital channel 252. Syndicated programming on WISE-DT2 includes: Frasier, Access Hollywood, George Lopez, and Oprah.

Digital programming

The station's signal is multiplexed. Until December 1, 2008, WISE-TV carried NBC Weather Plus on their third digital subchannel known as "Indiana's NewsCenter Weather Plus" (it was originally on their second digital subchannel). It was possible after the national service folded that the channel's function would be assumed by the preexisting "Pinpoint VIPIR HD Channel" on WPTA-DT3. This features rotating weather maps with audio from the National Weather Service. However, a 24-hour local news and weather channel was launched on December 1 in its place. Carrying local and state news, weather radar, and sports headlines, the channel allows Indiana’s NewsCenter to air breaking news without disrupting regular network programming. On digital cable, WISE-DT3 can be seen on Comcast channel 249 and Verizon FiOS channel 460.

Channel Programming
18.1 main WISE-TV programming / NBC HD
18.2 WISE-DT2 "My TV Fort Wayne"
18.3 WISE-DT3 "Indiana's NewsCenter Now"


History

The station was founded on November 21, 1953 with the call letters WKJG-TV. It was the first television station in Fort Wayne and affiliated with NBC. They were owned by William Kunkle who operated The Journal Gazette (with both entities forming the call letters), WKJG radio, and other television stations. On September 30, 1971, the radio stations were sold. Their call letters became WMEE-AM and WMEF-FM respectively. Today, the FM station has the calls WMEE. The AM station went through a variety of call signs including WQHK, WHWD, and WONO. It went back to the original WKJG on November 3, 2003 and to this day is Fort Wayne's ESPN Radio affiliate. However, both radio stations are owned by a different company and have no connection with the television station.

For a time, WKJG-TV was owned by Thirty Three Inc, a Tony Hulmanmarker company. That broadcaster also owned two other television stations in Indianamarker: WTHI-TVmarker in Terre Hautemarker and WNDY-TVmarker in Indianapolismarker. When Hulman died in 1977, WKJG became owned by Joseph R. Cloutier who had been a Terre Haute-based long time employee of Hulman's company. After Cloutier's death, a trust fund (called the Corporation for General Trade) was formed that made his son (Joseph A. Cloutier) the majority share holder with 51%. That company continued to own WKJG until it was sold in 2003. The daily management of WKJG was performed by Hilliard Gates, who doubled as a sportscaster for the station, until his retirement in 1993. John Siemer, a newscaster and announcer at the station, was known at that time as "Engineer John" who introduced cartoons.

On January 13, 2003, the Corporation for General Trade was sold for $20 million dollars to New Vision Television. The station changed its call letters to the current WISE-TV on May 26 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. WISE-DT went on-the-air in 2003 becoming the first commercial digital channel in Fort Wayne. A new transmitter with a stronger signal and new high definition options was installed on the tower. The station was sold again in March 2005 to the Granite Broadcasting Corporation for $44.2 million dollars. Granite sold ABC station WPTA to the Malara Broadcasting Group for $45.3 million. A local marketing agreement was established that called for Granite to provide operation services to WPTA as well as for Malara's other new station, KDLHmarker in Duluth, Minnesotamarker.

Malara files its SEC reports jointly with Granite which lead to allegations that Granite uses Malara as a shell corporation to evade the FCC's rules on duopolies. The FCC does not allow common ownership of two of the four largest stations in a single market. Fort Wayne has only six full-power stations which is too few to allow duopolies in any case. After emerging from bankruptcy in Summer 2007, Granite stock was taken over by Silver Point Capital of Greenwich, Connecticutmarker which is a privately owned hedge fund. Silver Point Capital now controls Granite broadcasting according to a Buffalo, New Yorkmarker news article printed on September 16, 2007. According to the same article, Granite will be sold to other parties and many of its stations have been laying off employees or cutting salaries up to 20%.

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 they 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. CBS affiliate WANE-TV aired UPN on a second digital subchannel. The Fort Wayne affiliate of The WB was cable-only "WBFWmarker" which was part of The WB 100+ and co-owned with WPTA by the Malara Broadcast Group.

It was announced in March 2006 that "WBFW" would affiliate with The CW via The CW Plus (a similar operation to The WB 100+). WPTA decided to create a new second digital subchannel to simulcast "WBFW" and offer access to CW programming for over-the-air viewers. On September 18, The CW debuted on "WBFW" which then began to use the WPTA-DT2 calls in an official and became known on-air as "Fort Wayne CW". On September 5, WISE-TV moved NBC Weather Plus from its second digital subchannel to a new third one in order for it to become the area's affiliate of MyNetworkTV.

On December 3, 2008, it was announced that viewers in Grant County, Indianamarker would no longer be able to view WISE-TV on Bright House Networks in Marionmarker, Gas Citymarker, and Jonesboromarker after December 31, 2008. Its analog signal left the air on February 17, 2009. The station broadcasted a digital signal on UHF channel 19 until October 15, 2009 when the station moved to their current post-transition digital channel number, 18. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WISE-TV's virtual channels as 33.

News operation

Indiana's NewsCenter logo.


After becoming owned by Granite, WISE-TV's news department was promptly folded and combined with WPTA even though this station is the senior partner in the agreement. The company fired 57 employees including on-air personalities and production staff. The exception was lead anchor Linda Jackson who was integrated into the WPTA operation. Viewers did not react favorably and much of the negative feedback was given in "The Rant" section of The News-Sentinel where readers voiced their opinions. Many people were upset about the breakup of the news team especially the firing of meteorologist Greg Shoup. He was quickly hired by the market's current news leader WANE-TV where he is now the weekday morning and Noon meteorologist. After the merge, WISE-TV began airing a weeknight newscast at 7 which was the first and only one in the state of Indianamarker. On September 11, 2006, it was replaced with an extra episode of Dr. Phil due to low ratings.

In November 2005, after several months of using the "Alive" news brand on both stations, WPTA debuted a new news set in the basement of its studios formerly used to tape public-affairs programs such as Impact. With it came a new branding for the newscasts, Indiana's NewsCenter. When WPTA took over production of WISE-TV newscasts, they initially saw a significant decrease in ratings. CBS affiliate WANE-TV was the market's news leader for several years after that according to Nielsen Media Research. This was most easily attributed to continued viewer resentment towards WPTA and Granite for their elimination of WISE-TV's news department and arguably its identity and history. However, WPTA management said the changes were part of a long-term plan that they said may need to take up to five years to take hold with viewers. Part of the plan to win back viewers included new technology such as text messaging, an improved website with more online video, and upgrading its weather equipment to a VIPIR system. The changes started to take hold and ratings began to drastically improve. In the November 2007 sweeps period, WPTA and WANE were nearly neck-and-neck in the Fort Wayne television news ratings race with WANE continuing to show a slight lead.

In 2006, WOWOmarker-AM 1190 became a news partner and has since been joined by WDFM-FM 98.1 and WFGA-FM 106.7. Starting on July 24, 2006, WISE-TV began airing a weeknight 10 o'clock newscast on its second digital subchannel that was an affiliate of NBC Weather Plus. With the change to "My TV Fort Wayne" on that digital subchannel (on September 5) and the addition of "Fort Wayne CW" on WPTA's second digital subchannel (on September 18), the newscast became part of their schedules. On May 18, 2009, WPTA and WISE-TV showed the first local newscast produced in 16:9 widescreen.

Currently, WPTA co-produces local broadcasts with WISE-TV and are essentially the same newscasts with different anchors. Simulcasted shows include weekday mornings (except the first half hour on WPTA), weeknights at 6, and weekends. This station airs separate weeknight 5:30 and 11 o'clock shows. Originally, the 5:30 edition aired on WISE-TV but this has since moved to WISE-DT2 in favor of The Dr. Oz Show. WISE-DT2 rebroadcasts the entire weekday morning (at 7), Noon (at 1), and weeknight 6 o'clock (at 6:30) shows. There is also a weekday web-cast entitled "Indiana's NewsCenter exPRESS" that is shown online every weekday afternoon at 1 as well as on WISE-DT3 "Indiana's NewsCenter Now". The program is five minutes long and includes news updates from Corinne Rose and weather from meteorologist Chris Daniels. WPTA and WISE-TV operate and share their own weather radar known as "Pinpoint VIPIR HD" at their studios.

Newscast titles

  • NewsCenter 33 (1970s-late 1980s)
  • NBC33 News (1997-2004)
  • WISE33 News (2004-2005)
  • 21Alive News on WISE33 (2005)
  • Indiana's NewsCenter (2005-present)


Station slogans

  • Come Home to 33 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • WKJG, The Place To Be! (1990-1991; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Where News Comes First (2003-2005)
  • A Network of Indiana's NewsCenter (2005-present)


News team

Anchors
  • Ryan Elijah - weekday mornings and host of Impact
    • "In Your Corner" segment producer
  • Mary Collins - weekday mornings
  • Linda Jackson - weeknights at 5:30, 10, and 11
  • Melissa Long - weeknights at 6
  • Eric Olson - weekends and "Your Country" segment producer


Pinpoint VIPIR HD Meteorologists
  • Curtis Smith (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Chris Daniels - weekday mornings
  • Jason Meyers (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekends
    • special weather assignments


Sports (all seen on The Score)
  • Dean Pantazi - Director seen weeknights at 10 and 11
  • Tommy Schoegler - weekends and reporter
  • Kent Hormann - reporter


Reporters
  • Jeff Bowman - weekday morning multimedia video journalist
  • Dave Leval - automotive industry
  • Eric Clabaugh - multimedia video journalist
  • Jeff Neumeyer - government
  • Corinne Rose - crime
  • Jennifer Blomquist
  • Brien McElhatten
  • Laura Donaldson


Notable alumni

Most were part of WISE-TV's news team (highlighted in bold) before the station merged with WPTA in March 2005.

  • Susan Alderman - anchor (now Media Director at IPFWmarker)
  • Rich Apuzzo - Meteorologist in 1986-87 (now owner/operator/meteorologist at http://www.skyeyeweather.com in Cincinnatimarker, OH)
  • Jim Bailey - anchor from 1995 until the late-1990's (now main anchor at WJHL-TVmarker in Johnson City, Tennesseemarker)
  • Amy Bradley - former morning co-anchor (now at WBREmarker in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvaniamarker)
  • Jeff Burden - anchor/reporter/producer May 1982 - August 1985 (now attorney (http://www.virginiafiduciary.com) and writer (http://22iowa.com) in Richmond, Virginiamarker)
  • Dalia Dangerfield - reporter in the early 2000s (now Bay News 9 in Tampamarker)
  • Dick DeFay - sports anchor (died on February 21, 2007)
  • Jim Flink - anchor in the early 1990s (now at KMBC-TVmarker in Kansas City)
  • Dick Florea - news director and anchor in the 1970s and 1980's and Editor's Desk host (retired in 2001 after 35 years)
  • Eric Franke - former producer/sports anchor (now main news anchor at WISC-TVmarker in Madison, WImarker)
  • Angela Holdsworth - weekend anchor (-2001??), went to KPSP-TV in Palm Springs, CA
  • Heather Herron - weekend anchor/producer (??-1995) (now main anchor at competitor WANEmarker)
  • Marni Hughes - former weekend anchor (now at KMSPmarker in Minneapolis)
  • Betsy Kling - weekend meteorologist (now at WKYCmarker in Clevelandmarker; married to former reporter Paul Thomas)
  • Kelly Koh - reporter (Briefly worked at WANEmarker - currently freelancing via Koh Reports)
  • Dan Krauth - former anchor, until 2005 (now at WXMImarker in Grand Rapids, Michiganmarker)
  • Alexis Means - reporter in the late 1990s (now at WTVGmarker in Toledo, Ohiomarker)
  • Zach Myers - morning anchor, from 1998 to 2005 (now reporter at WXINmarker in Indianapolismarker)
  • Jake Miller - former main anchor, until 2005 (now at WGEMmarker in Quincy, Illinoismarker)
  • Tonya Mosley - reporter and anchor, until 2004 (now at KINGmarker in Seattlemarker)
  • Jim O'Brien - weekend meteorologist (now morning meteorologist at WXINmarker in Indianapolismarker)
  • Kristen Pflum - former reporter (now at WLEX-TVmarker in Lexington, Kentuckymarker)
  • Audrey Port - left for WFLDmarker in Chicagomarker and WBBMmarker also in Chicagomarker
  • Steve Rappaport - former sports director in 2000 (now at WVIRmarker in Charlottesville, Virginia)
  • Susan Samples - reporter (??-1995) (now at WOOD-TVmarker in Grand Rapids, Michiganmarker)
  • Sarah Simmons - reporter/fill-in anchor
  • Greg Shoup - chief meteorologist, until 2005 (now meteorologist at competitor WANEmarker)
  • Roxanna Smith - reporter (now at Carter Communications in San Rafael, CA)
  • Robert Tabern - morning news producer (2001-2003) (worked at WDJT-TVmarker in Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker 2003-2009, now working in communications for the city of Oak Creek, Wisconsinmarker)
  • Paul Thomas - reporter in mid-1990s (now reporter and anchor at WKYCmarker in Clevelandmarker; married to former WISE meteorologist Betsy Kling)
  • John Thornert - weekend meteorologist in early 2000s (now at Fort Wayne International Airportmarker)
  • Susan Ware - weekend meteorologist in the mid/late 1990s (now meteorologist at WTVGmarker in Toledo, Ohiomarker)
  • Jesse Wells - investigative reporter from 2002-2005 (now at KFOR-TVmarker in Oklahoma City, Oklahomamarker)


These people were part of the combined news operation.

References

  1. Granite plans local 24-hour news channel, Journal-Gazette briefs, November 11, 2008
  2. CDBS Print


External links




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