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For the related radio station with the same call letters, see WTMJ
WTMJ-TV is a television station located in Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker, and the flagship station of the Journal Broadcast Group. When WTMJ-TV began broadcasting on December 3, 1947, it was the first television station in Wisconsin, and the fifteenth commercial station to go on the air in the United States. Its signal now covers most of southeastern Wisconsinmarker and parts of northeastern Illinoismarker, including Racinemarker, Kenoshamarker, Sheboyganmarker and Waukeshamarker. Its transmitter is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin approximately 8 miles (13 km) north of downtown Milwaukee. WTMJ-TV transmits its signal from an antenna in height.

The station's current slogan is "Today's TMJ4". The station also provides engineering assistance for ION Network affiliate WPXE-TVmarker (Channel 55); previously WPXE aired WTMJ newscasts on a half-hour delay in the evening and shared some programming with Channel 4, however this deal was ended in July 2005. It is the only station in the Milwaukee market to have never switched affiliations in its history.


The Journal Company's first television license was granted in September 1931 for experimental station W9XD, using a low-definition electromechanical system. The station conducted field tests from 1931 to 1933, before converting its facilities to experimental high-fidelity apex radio unit W9XAZ in 1934. Its license was withdrawn by the FCC in 1938 as part of an effort to limit licenses to stations actively engaging in the development of television. No publicly announced television programming was broadcast by W9XD during this experimental period.

The Journal Company obtained in September 1941 one of the first commercial television construction permits issued by the FCC, under the call letters WMJT (Milwaukee Journal Television), and built a new broadcast facility by August 1942. But the U.S. War Production Board halted the manufacture of television and radio broadcasting equipment for civilian use from April 1942 to August 1945, suspending the company's television plans.

On December 3, 1947 WTMJ-TV (WTMJ standing for We're The Milwaukee Journal) went on the air, becoming the first commercial television station in Wisconsin, and the fourth commercial station in the Midwest. When the station began broadcasting in 1947, there were only 500 television sets in Milwaukee, jumping to 2,050 by the following April. WTMJ had affiliated with the NBC television network since sign on, although it also carried programming from CBS, ABC, and Du Mont before those networks had their own affiliated stations in Milwaukee. WTMJ is the only station in Milwaukee to be affiliated with the same network since it signed on. It is currently NBC's second-longest tenured affiliate, behind only KSD-TV marker in St. Louismarker (which had signed on in January of that year).

WTMJ originally transmitted on channel 3 and shifted to Channel 4 on July 11, 1953 to avoid interference with Kalamazoo, Michiganmarker's WKZO-TV (now WWMTmarker), which is nearly directly across Lake Michiganmarker. This was a part of the FCC's complete revision of the Table of Channel Assignments as issued in its Sixth Report and General Order issued on April 14, 1952. This move forced the CBS affiliate on channel 4 in Chicagomarker(now WBBM-TVmarker), the first commercially-licensed TV station outside the Eastern Time Zone to move to channel 2. It had done so on July 5.

WTMJ was one of the first stations in the country to purchase color equipment, and in December 1953, they broadcast the color television program Amahl and the Night Visitors from NBC, when only two prototype color sets existed in Milwaukee. The city's first color TV sets were sold in March 1954, and by July 1954 WTMJ broadcast their first local color program originating from their studios, The Grenadiers, becoming the third local station in the U.S. with live color capability. By November 1, 1956, all locally produced WTMJ-TV programs were in color. About 3000 color sets existed in Milwaukee in February 1957.

On April 7, 2009, the station became the first in Milwaukee to convert their local programming operations to full high definition with a soft launch starting with that day's Live at Daybreak .

The ownership remains under Journal Broadcast Group. As such, WTMJ is one of the few non-O&O television stations in the country that has had the same callsign, owner and primary network affiliation throughout its history. In August 2004 Green Bay's NBC affiliate, WGBA-TVmarker (Channel 26), was bought by Journal and became a sister station to WTMJ, along with LMA partner WACY-TVmarker.

Digital television

Channel Programming
4.2 Storm Team 4 TV
4.3 TheCoolTV, powered by 94-5 Lake FM

On March 1, 2006, WTMJ launched its local version of the NBC Weather Plus service called TMJ4 Weather Plus, a 24-hour weather channel which features a mix of local/national forecasts and weather, and features WTMJ's meteorologists. The station airs over DTV Channel 4-2, and previously on Time Warner Digital Cable over Channel 104 throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Charter Communications, the other main local cable provider, never carried TMJ4 Weather Plus. In June 2006, the station changed their weather branding on the main newscasts from "Storm Team 4" to "TMJ4 Weather Plus", as had most stations airing the service. With the November 2008 end of the Weather Plus service, the weather branding has returned to using the former "Storm Team 4" name; the subchannel also took on the same branding as the Storm Team 4 Channel on January 1, later to be renamed "Storm Team 4 TV".

Analog to Digital Conversion

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion took place for the station on June 12, 2009 at 12 noon (with a short two-hour nightlighting period after), WTMJ-TV continued digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number, 28. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers currently display WTMJ-TV's virtual channel as 4.


WTMJ broadcasts all of NBC's schedule, with the exception of some older made-for-TV movies bought by Channel 4 which are used to pre-empt NBC movies or Saturday night programming for additional local advertising revenue several times a year. However, this practice is nothing new, for they also had a reputation of pre-empting or delaying a handful of NBC shows in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s (NBC's Daytime gameshow and soap opera lineup, moving Sanford and Son to Saturday nights in the 1970s and airing the syndicated Fame in place of Gimme a Break! and Mama's Family on Thursday nights during the 1983-1984 TV season were examples of this). But its most controversial move would come in 1979 when it asked NBC permission to delay The Tonight Show to 11pm so it could carry reruns of Maude. They would try again in 1984, attempting to ask for a Tonight Show move to 11:30pm so it could air reruns of Trapper John, M.D. after the late news starting in September of that year. NBC refused again, and the program was moved to then-independent WVTVmarker (Channel 18), where it aired at 10:30pm from September 1984-September 1988, when WTMJ decided to cede to NBC and air the program at its regular time. The station also delayed Late Night with Conan O'Brien to 12:05am from the program's beginning in 1993 until 2001.

WTMJ decided to pre-empt the entire run of the primetime poker game show Face the Ace in August 2009, replacing the series with station-slotted paid programming, the first time any Milwaukee station has pre-empted a significant portion or all of an entire primetime network series since the early 1990's. It is unknown if moral objections by WTMJ management (as sister station WGBA carried the series) or ratings concerns played into the pre-emption.

The station's sole syndicated programs are Cold Case Files on weekdays and late weekend evenings and weekend runs of Stargate Atlantis repeats and The Outdoorsman, by far being the station with the lowest amount of syndicated shows in the market. WTMJ had been the long-time Milwaukee home for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! from their premieres in the early 80s until fall 2005, when both shows moved to WDJT-TVmarker, and was the first station to air Oprah until an en-masse deal with Hearst's television stations in 1994 moved the show to WISN. WTMJ (and WPXE during the LMA years) had aired Martha Stewart's Martha Stewart Living and then Martha until September 2007, when Martha moved to WISN.

Currently WTMJ airs Today in two segments; the original 7 am–9 am block, followed by The Morning Blend, then the final two hours of Today from 10 am–noon, leading into the relocated hour-long Live at Noon newscast and Days of Our Lives, which moved to 1 pm on September 10, 2007.

The station is also the 'official station' of the Green Bay Packers for the Milwaukee market, giving it rights to air the team's non-nationally televised preseason games. WFRVmarker (Channel 5) in Green Bay is the overall 'official station' for the Packers. WTMJ airs shows involving the team, including the head coach's weekly show, which airs on Tuesday nights at 6:30. Because of the Summer Olympic Games occurring in 2004 and 2008, which are not allowed any pre-emptions by the network, WTMJ has sub-licenced some preseason games to other stations; in 2004 to then-LMA partner WPXE, and in 2008 to CW affiliate WVTVmarker (Channel 18).

The Morning Blend

The station produces a locally-produced program called The Morning Blend, which premiered on September 12, 2006 at 10 am, and now airs at 9am after Today's expansion to four hours. The show is hosted by former local reporters Allison de Castro and Molly Fay. This was WTMJ's first attempt at a local show besides news or public affairs since 1979, when the short-lived A New Day aired, co-hosted by 1973 Miss Wisconsin/Miss America winner (and current The 700 Club co-host) Terry Meeuwsen and KGO-TVmarker & AMmarker/San Francisco newsman/radio host (and former WTMJ TV reporter) Pete Wilson (now deceased).

Morning Blend's format is based on Daytime, a show from Tampamarker's NBC affiliate WFLA-TVmarker (Channel 8) which was controversial when launched, because some segments of the program (such as how-to or cooking blocks) were paid for by local businesses, which paid for mentions of their products on air; however WFLA failed to make this clear (they have since changed it so that paid segments are disclaimed). WTMJ's version features a mix of paid and unpaid segments. All segments which promote a certain product or company are clearly disclaimed on air, and the show's talent has no connection to WTMJ's newsroom. Also, the sales and advertising departments produce the show, while the news department has no interest in the program. The hosts of The Morning Blend do not report any news, ceding any breaking events to the Daybreak staff in the news studio, and the show is pre-empted in such cases the news takes up the full hour (such as a weather emergency).

In June 2008, the program also began to air on sister station WGBA in Green Bay due to that station cutting some morning news programming, also at 9 am. The show competes with WLUK-TVmarker (Channel 11)'s Living with Amy in that market.

News Operation

Since the launch of the extended Today Show in September 2007, the station's programming focus has shifted very heavily towards local news, as replacement syndicated programming for Martha, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! after their moves to other stations in the market, and the August 2008 ending of Montel have failed to spark viewer interest outside of local/network hours. As of September 8, 2008, the station launched a 3PM news hour, and before then on August 25, extended the 6PM newscast to a full hour (except Tuesday nights for Mike McCarthy's coach's show during the NFL season) before NBC primetime with the move of Extra to WITI's late night schedule, giving the station eight hours of local news every weekday tying WITImarker's daily news output.

Daybreak, Live at 6:00 and Live at 10:00 are available on Time Warner Cable's VOD service, "Wisconsin on Demand 411" throughout southeastern Wisconsin, two hours after each program's original airing and for three days after. Also available through this service are specific WTMJ reports, I-Team investigations and consumer stories, along with Sunday public affairs program Sunday Insight with Charlie Sykes.

Some of WTMJ's morning and noon newscasts aired on Green Bay sister station WGBA-TVmarker (Channel 26) since July 14, 2008, after that station ended their own newscasts at 5 am, 9 am, and the first half-hour of the noon newscast. Since January 2009, the morning simulcast has been cancelled and turned into a WGBA-produced rolling weather block called Non Stop Weather due to a lack of interest by northeastern Wisconsin residents in Milwaukee area news. Live at Noon has moved to WGBA's LMA partner WACY-TVmarker (Channel 32) in order to allow Channel 26 to carry more paid programming due to financial struggles.

All sportscasts are provided by WTMJ; station staff continues to film video and freelance announcers (some formerly with WGBA) provide commentary for Green Bay sporting events on WGBA.

On April 7, 2009, WTMJ became the first station in Milwaukee to broadcast local news in high definition. With the change to HD came new music, High Velocity from 615 Music and new graphics from Renderon Broadcast Design, the main graphics company for all Journal Broadcast Group stations.

Today's TMJ4 Personalities

Current On-Air Talent

Current Anchors
  • Charles Benson - Sundays at 5 and 10PM (also weekday reporter)
  • Courtny Gerrish - weekdays at 3, 3:30, 4 and 4:30PM
  • Mike Jacobs - weeknights at 5, 6, 6:30 and 10PM
  • Susan Kim - weekday mornings "Live at Daybreak"
  • George Mallet - weekdays at 3, 3:30, 4, and 4:30PM (also 10PM reporter)
  • Melissa McCrady - weekend mornings "Live at Daybreak" (also weekday reporter)
  • Carole Meekins - weeknights at 5, 6, 6:30 and 10PM
  • Diane Pathieu - weekdays at noon (also morning reporter)
  • Vince Vitrano - weekday mornings "Live at Daybreak" and noon
  • Shelley Walcott - Saturdays at 5, 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10PM (also weekday reporter)

  • Aaron Diamant - investigative reporter
  • Michael George - general assignment reporter
  • Lauren Leamanczyk - general assignment reporter
  • Tom Murray - general assignment reporter
  • Jay Olstad - general assignment reporter
  • Heather Shannon - general assignment reporter
  • Melanie Stout - general assignment reporter
  • Mick Trevey - general assignment reporter

Storm Team 4
  • John Malan (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 6:30 and 10PM
  • Michael Fish - Meteorologist; weekend mornings "Live at Daybreak"
  • Brian Gotter (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekdays at noon, 3, 3:30, 4 and 4:30PM
  • Craig Koplien (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Live at Daybreak"
  • Scott Steele - Meteorologist; Saturdays at 5, 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10PM

Sports Team
  • Lance Allan - Sports Director; weeknights at 5, 6, 6:30 and 10PM
  • Rod Burks - Sports Anchor; Saturdays at 5, 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10PM
  • Jessie Garcia - sports reporter (also from The Mike McCarthy Show)

Former On-Air Talent

  • Silvia Acevedo - reporter (now a commentator at WTMJ-TVmarker)
Anne Ballentine - weekend anchor/reporter (1994-1999)
  • Contessa Brewer - (1999-2003?) reporter (now midday anchor at MSNBC)
  • Lisa Cabrera - reporter (1996-1998) went to WNYWmarker in New York, New Yorkmarker left TV in 2007
  • Bill Carlsen - meteorologist (1951-1972) (deceased)
  • Nancy Chandler - anchor/reporter (1992-1998; retired to become a full time Mom)
  • Claudia Coffey - anchor (2003-2005; now at WTTGmarker in Washington, D.C.marker)
  • John Drury - 10PM anchor (1955–1962; deceased)
  • Mike Gousha - anchor (1981–August 25, 2006; retired from anchoring in late 2006; currently political coverage director for WISN-TVmarker and host of statewide public affairs program UpFront with Mike Gousha)
  • Catherine Heenan - anchor/reporter (1978-1989; now at KRON-TVmarker in San Francisco, Californiamarker)
  • Kevin Hunt - sportscaster (currently at KPNXmarker in Phoenixmarker)
  • Paul Joseph - chief meteorologist (1970–2006; retired on August 18, 2006; currently doing local advertising for a window company)
  • Vivian King - (1994-2006) reporter (currently director of public affairs for Roundy's)
  • Russ Kirkpatrick - reporter (2000-?)
  • Tami Kou - anchor (1999-2005; now an account manager, crisis consultant and lead media trainer at LaBreche in Minneapolis, Minnesotamarker)

  • Dennis Krause - sports director (1987–2005; now at Time Warner Cable Sports 32 and Milwaukee Bucks radio color commentator)
  • Mike LaPoint - weather forecaster (2004–2006; currently meteorologist of WPXI-TVmarker in Pittsburgh, PAmarker)
  • Erik Loney - reporter; (currently reporter/fill in anchor at KXLY-TVmarker in Spokane, WA)
  • Judy Marks - weather forecaster/movie presenter
  • John McCullough - anchor reporter (1967-1988; left to form his own production firm)
  • Terry Meeuwsen - anchor and former Miss America (1978-1986; left to be a full time Mom and is with "The 700 Club")
  • John Mercure - general assignment/investigative reporter (1999-2009; now a corporate communications manager at Assurant Health)
"Juliette Peters" - Morning news anchor (1989-1992)
  • Ty Milburn - field reporter (now at NY1)
  • Mike Miller - (1989-2003) anchor/reporter (now at WISN-TVmarker)
  • Jim Ott - morning/weekend meteorologist (1976–2006; retired on April 30, 2006 to pursue political office; won election to the Wisconsin State Assembly in November 2006 as a Republican representing the 23rd District, consisting of Mequonmarker, Thiensvillemarker, and portions of extreme northern Milwaukee Countymarker)

"Scott Saville" - weekend sports anchor (1993-1996), currenty works at a TV station in Iowa

"Alan Sealls" - weather forecaster (Early 1990's) Chief Meteorologist at WKRG TV in Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL

"Terry Stanton" - weekend anchor/reporter (1993-1996), works for the Public Information Office in Lansing, Michigan

  • Hank Stoddard - sports director (1967–1994; retired)
  • Amy Taylor - anchor (1997-2003)
  • Bill Taylor - anchor (1972–2002; retired)
  • Andy Treinen - anchor (2003-2006) now at WHAS-TVmarker in Louisville, Kentuckymarker
  • Erick Weber - anchor (2005-2007; now at WKMGmarker in Orlando, Floridamarker)
  • Melodie Wilson anchor/reporter (1974-1991; deceased November 9, 2009)
  • Pete Wilson anchor Later anchor at KGO and KRON Deceased
  • Lynise Weeks - consumer reporter (1993–2005; deceased July 28, 2005)
  • Paul Zandt - chief/morning meteorologist (1994-2004)

News/Station Presentation

WTMJ was formerly known as "News 4 Milwaukee", and then shortened down to "News 4", with the late news known as "News 4 Tonight at 10". The newscast name was changed to "Newschannel 4" from 1990 until July 1992, when the "Today's TMJ4" imaging was inaugurated during coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics. The first generation of the branding lasted until July 2004 and the 2004 Summer Olympics, when a modern and glassy image campaign fit for HDTV was launched, which since has been established on the rest of Journal's stations, with some font and branding differences depending on market. The 'sailboat 4' logo was retired, and the music for the station became more elaborate and grand, though the former theme was retained. Currently, the station brands its news as Live at [Time of Day], with the morning newscast going by the title Live at Daybreak.


Newscast Titles

  • News 4 Milwaukee (1970-1986)
  • News 4 (general)/News 4 Tonight at 10 (10PM newscast; 1986-1990)
  • NewsChannel 4 (1990-1992)
  • Today's TMJ4 (1992-present; incorporated Live at xx:00 titling for all newscasts in 2004)
*Current Titles: Live at Daybreak, Live at 11:00, Live at 11:30, Live at 3:00, Live at 3:30, Live at 4:00, Live at 4:30, Live at 5:00, Live at 6:00, Live at 6:30, Live at 10:00, Live at 6:30 Saturday, Live at 6:00 Saturday, Live at 5:00 Saturday and Sunday, Live at 10:00 Saturday and Sunday
*Former Titles: Daybreak Early Edition, The Daybreak Report, The 11:30 Report, First 4 News (4PM newscast), TMJ4 News Now (4:30PM newscast), The 5:00 Report, The 6:00 Report, The 10:00 Report, The Weekend Report at 5, The Weekend Report at 6, The Weekend Report at 10 (all from 1992-2004), Live at 11 (11AM newscast; 2004-2007)

Station Slogans

  • TV-4, Proud as a Peacock! (1979-1981; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-4, Our Pride is Showing (1981-1982; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Your Number 1 News Station (late 1980s-1990)
  • Channel 4, Milwaukee's Team (late 1980s-1990; used with Frank Gari's "Pride Inside" image campaign)
  • Real Life. Real News. (1990-1995)
  • Touch Today's TMJ4 (1995-2004)
  • Breaking News, Accurate Weather (2004-present; primary slogan)
  • Trust Today's TMJ4 (2004-present; secondary slogan)

Station Cameo Appearances

  • WTMJ is also announced in the final scene of the final episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as Mike Nelson and the robots are sitting in a Milwaukee-area apartment on a Saturday afternoon, when The Crawling Eye comes on TV, the first movie seen on the nationally syndicated version of MST3K.

External links

Further reading

  • Dick Golembiewski, Milwaukee Television History: The Analog Years, Marquette University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0874620559.


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