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WTHR channel 13 is a television station serving the Indianapolis, Indianamarker metropolitan area. Affiliated with NBC, the station broadcasts its digital signal on VHF channel 13 from its transmitter in Indianapolis. WTHR ended analogue broadcasts and move to digital channel 13 at 12:37 AM on June 12, 2009.

Since 1974, WTHR has been owned by the Dispatch Broadcast Group of Columbus, Ohiomarker.


The station signed on October 30, 1957 as ABC affiliate WLWI (often rendered in print as WLW-I), owned by Crosley Broadcasting Corporation. It was one of five stations which made up the Cincinnatimarker-based WLW television network. Other stations included in this network were WLWTmarker in Cincinnati, WLWC (now WCMH-TVmarker) in Columbusmarker, WLWA (now WXIA-TVmarker) in Atlantamarker and WLWD (now WDTNmarker) in Daytonmarker.

From 1957 to 1962, the station was tied up in one of the most heated licensing disputes in early television history. The FCC originally awarded the license to a group headed by Union Federal Savings and Loan president George Sadlier. However, after an appeal, the FCC reversed itself and awarded the license to Crosley. One of the other competitors, Richard Fairbanks, owner of WIBC-AM 1070 sued the FCC. Fairbanks claimed that the FCC had erred in awarding the last VHF license in Indianapolis to a company based in Cincinnati when there were viable potential licensees in Indianapolis. The suit, however, was filed too late to prevent WLWI from signing on.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals overturned the FCC's decision in 1958, but allowed Crosley to continue running the station pending further FCC action. In 1961, the FCC awarded Fairbanks the channel 13 license, but Crosley appealed. A year later, Crosley and Fairbanks reached a deal in which Fairbanks bought WLWA in return for allowing Crosley to keep WLWI.

Amid this instability in ownership, WLWI found the going rather difficult. It was also dogged by a weaker network affiliation; ABC would not be on an equal footing with CBS and NBC until the 1970s. WLWI spent most of its first 17 years as an also-ran behind WFBM-TV (now WRTVmarker) and WISH-TVmarker. In some cases, it even fell to fourth place behind WTTVmarker.

From Last Place To Ratings Leadership

Crosley/Avco poured a lot of money into WLWI, but eventually concluded that it was a third-rate operation and put it up for sale. The Wolfe family, owners of the Columbus Dispatch and WBNS-TVmarker in Columbus, bought the station from Avco in 1974 and changed the calls to WTHR two years later. With new ownership in place, on-air quality began to improve, but WTHR was still rating third behind WISH and WRTV. In the case of the ABC affiliation, the network rose to first place and was seeking out stronger local stations to affiliate with in many markets; NBC, meanwhile, was the lowest rated network. So in 1979, WTHR swapped affiliations with WRTV and became an NBC affiliate. Ratings were slow to improve until the mid-1990s, when WTHR hired former CBS News correspondent John Stehr to anchor its evening newscasts. WTHR quickly moved from third to second place after a botched relaunch at WRTV. Changes continued to be made, and in 1999, WTHR's Eyewitness News surged past then-dominant WISH in several key news timeslots, moving to first place for the first time in its history. By 2002, WTHR beat WISH in all news timeslots and changed its slogan to "Indiana's News Leader".

Eyewitness News On WNDY

WTHR used to have a partnership agreement with WNDY-TVmarker, the UPN affiliate for Indianapolis. Under the partnership, WTHR produced a 10 p.m. newscast for WNDY. However, the partnership ended when WNDY was purchased by LIN TV Corporation, which also owned WISH. WISH then assumed responsibility of the production of WNDY's 10 p.m. newscast. WTHR now airs a short 8 minute "First Forecast" on the company-owned SkyTrak Weather Network, channel 50, in lieu of a 10 p.m. newscast. SkyTrak Weather Network also airs constant weather forecasts for Central Indiana and replays of WTHR's midday, 6 p.m. newscasts, and short 5 minute news updates throughout the day.

WTHR Today

On September 2, 2007 WTHR celebrated its 50th anniversary like its sister station in Columbus, WTHR used the song "Carousels (Dreaming of Tomorrow)" by Columbus, Ohio rock band Alamoth Lane, which was also used on WBNS as a large marketing campaign to promote the launch of its newscasts in high definition.

WTHR also produces the Brain Game, a weekly televised quiz bowl competition for high school students. It has aired since 1972 and is curretly hosted by meteorologist Chris Wright.

Eyewitness News In HD

Beginning with Eyewitness News Nightbeat on Sunday November 12, 2006, WTHR became the first station in Indiana to broadcast local news in High Definition, making it one of only seven TV stations in the Midwest broadcasting news in HD (the others being fellow Indianapolis station WISH-TVmarker, WKYC-TVmarker in Cleveland, KSDKmarker in St. Louis, KARE-TVmarker in Minneapolis/St. Paul, WCPO-TVmarker in Cincinnati, and sister station WBNS-TVmarker in Columbus, Ohio). WTHR broadcasts Eyewitness News in 1080i HDTV, which is the same HD format as NBC programming.

Continuing to make history, at 12:00PM October 2, 2007 WTHR began shooting, editing and transmitting field live shots in widescreen. This change will eliminate the need for pillars on these elements. It is important to note the difference between widescreen and high definition, as these three elements are being shot in 1080i, but due to current editing, transmission and storage facilities they are converted to a lower resolution for broadcast.

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Eyewitness News (early 1970s-1976)
  • Eyewitness NewsCenter 13 (1976-1981)
  • NewsCenter 13 (1981-1994)
  • NewsChannel 13 (1994-1996)
  • Channel 13 Eyewitness News (1996-Present)

Station Slogans

  • You're On Top Of It All (1976–1979; image campaign composed by Al Ham)
  • Hello Indiana; Channel 13 Loves You! (1980-1987 and 1991; Image campaign composed by Frank Gari, vocals mainly by Florence Warner)
  • Channel 13, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; local version of NBC network slogan)
  • Channel 13, Be There (1983-1984; local version of NBC network slogan)
  • This Is Indiana, And Proud to Call It Home! (also "Proud To Call It Home!"; 1987-1994)
  • Indiana's NewsChannel (1994-1996)
  • Indiana, 13's On Your Side (1994–1997; image campaign composed by Frank Gari)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1994-2002; still appears on some WTHR-owned vehicles)
  • Indiana's News Leader (2002-present)
  • Learn Things (summers 2006 and 2007)
  • Learn More (fall 2007-summer 2008)


WTHR Anchors Anne Marie Tiernon and Jula Moffitt.
Tiernon was filling in for Scott Swan when this screenshot was taken on March 28, 2007.
Tiernon is currently the 5:30 and 6 PM anchor.





Notable WTHR Alumni

Digital television

Channel Programming
13.1 WTHR-DT
13.2 SkyTrak Weather Network
13.3 Universal Sports

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion was completed on June 12, 2009 at 12:37 AM , WTHR moved its digital broadcasts back to channel 13.

External links


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