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WWCP-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Allegheny area of Pennsylvaniamarker that is licensed to Johnstownmarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter northwest of Laurel Mountain Villagemarker along the Westmorelandmarker and Somersetmarker County line. This is short-spaced to fellow Fox affiliate WJWmarker in Cleveland, Ohiomarker and NBC affiliate WGALmarker in Harrisburgmarker. Owned by Peak Media, the station operates ABC affiliate WATM-TVmarker (that is owned by Palm Television) through a local marketing agreement a.k.a. LMA. The two share studios on Scalp Avenue (a.k.a. PA 56) in Johnstown. Syndicated programming on WWCP includes: Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, Judge Joe Brown, and The People's Court. The station can also be seen on a third digital subchannel of WATM. This airs from a transmitter north of Altoonamarker in Blair Countymarker.

Digital programming

The station's signal is multiplexed.

Digital Channel Programming
8.1 main WWCP programming / Fox HD
8.2 WATM-TV "ABC 23" SD


History

Former WWCP logo still seen on their website.


Initially, WWCP was to be licensed to Pittsburghmarker but its owners petitioned the FCC to move the license to Johnstown. Programming prices are lower in Johnstown and more shows would be available to the station there as opposed to Pittsburgh. Another likely consideration was the need to protect WJW in Cleveland. The FCC approved the move under the condition that Pittsburgh would need to receive a Grade B signal. This posed a problem for the new channel 8 as this stipulation meant that its signal would be all but un-viewable in the eastern portion of the market (including Altoona and State Collegemarker) although this was also done to protect WGAL in Harrisburg. WWCP's owners solved this problem by buying the dormant license of Altoona's former ABC affiliate, WOPC-TV. It moved the WOPC license from channel 38 to 23 and changed the calls to WWPC-TV.

As a result, the station signed-on October 13, 1986 with WWPC as a full-time satellite. Originally, both stations broadcasted a general entertainment format running cartoons, classic sitcoms, old movies, recent sitcoms, and drama shows. Finding itself in the unique position of being an independent station on the VHF band, the station immediately took most of the stronger shows from the only other independent in the market, WFAT channel 19, a coup which effectively spelled the end for that station (it went dark in 1991, returned in 1996, and is now Pittsburgh's CW affiliate WPCWmarker). Within ten months of going on-the-air, WWCP and WWPC obtained a Fox affiliation. Since WOPC had gone dark in the early-1980s, the eastern portion of the market had received ABC programming from WHTM-TVmarker in Harrisburgmarker while the western portion was served by WTAE-TVmarker in Pittsburgh. At the time, both stations preempted a moderate amount of network shows. It soon became obvious that Johnstown needed its own ABC affiliate. In 1988, channel 8 converted WWPC to a separate station, WATM-TV, which then took the ABC affiliation. That station was soon sold off in order to comply with FCC regulations on station ownership but the FCC allowed WWCP to continue to control channel 23 under a local marketing agreement.

WWCP successfully contended that if operated separately, both stations may have been in danger of going dark. For a time, a repeater was set up that allowed WWCP to be received on UHF channel 57 in the Altoona area. This was not effective, however, because the transmitter was located 20 miles away near Martinsburgmarker. Altoona viewers who did not possess a high-powered antenna could not receive this signal. Throughout most of the city viewers only saw a picture, no sound, vice versa, or neither. Also, the station was widely available on cable which is all but essential for acceptable television in much of the market. WWCP was the first Fox affiliate in the nation to refuse to air O.J. Simpson's two-night interview special with Judith Regan on November 27 and 29, 2006 called If I Did It, Here's How It Happened with the station owner saying it was inappropriate for Simpson to profit on his infamy. A special on St. Jude's Hospitalmarker in Memphis, Tennesseemarker would have aired on the 27th with a locally produced program about domestic abuse, When Violence Hits Home, produced by Josh Bandish and anchored by Jim Penna airing on the 29th had Fox not pulled the special from air on November 21. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion that took place on June 12, 2009 , WWCP moved its digital broadcasts back to its former analog channel number 8. The tation also airs the locally produced catholic news show Proclaim! on Sundays.

News operation

On November 28, 2007, The Tribune Democrat reported that the shared news department of WWCP and WATM-TV was going to shut down. Under that operation, WWCP had produced an hour-long 10 P.M. news starting in 1992. However according to a written statement, the two stations had been operating at a loss for years and the move was needed. The closure resulted in all reporters being released from their contracts. NBC affiliate WJAC-TVmarker had on-air positions open but no personalities from those two stations were hired.

Effective January 14, 2008, WJAC assumed production responsibility of the 10 o'clock broadcast (still known as FOX 8 News at 10) which was reduced to 35 minutes on weeknights and 30 minutes on weekends. The WJAC-produced news uses the same music package and some voice-overs seen during segment opens as the former operation did. A new graphics package slightly different from WJAC and new logos similar to the WWCP promo logo introduced in 2007 were created specifically for the prime time broadcast.

Because WJAC has prior commitments with news and weather cut-ins during Today, WATM still produces its own Good Morning America news and weather cut-ins that are seen Tuesday through Saturday mornings. Former WWCP co-anchor Sherry Stalley, who was still under contract when the news department shut down, hosts the updates. The cut-ins use news video from the previous day's WJAC-produced WWCP broadcast and the same graphics package. On Mondays, the cut-ins are filled by WATM promos. WJAC's nightly 11 o'clock newscast is simulcasted on that station. In addition to their main studios, WWCP and WATM operate sales offices in State College (on West Beaver Avenue) and Altoona (on East Walton Avenue).

News team

FOX 8 News at 10
(Weeknights 10 to 10:35)
  • Anchor:
    • Katie Sabatino
  • Weather:
    • Tony Martin
  • Sports:
    • Tim Rigby


(Weekends 10 to 10:30 P.M.)

  • Anchors:
  • Weather:
    • Tim Tender
  • Sports:
    • Matt Maisel


Additional personnel from WJAC are seen on WWCP. See that article for a complete listing.

Former personalities

These people were seen on-air when the WWCP and WATM news department closed.

  • Jim Penna - News Director and weeknight anchor
  • Sherry Stalley - weeknight anchor (retained)
  • Kate O'Donovan - weekend anchor and reporter
  • Travis Koshko - Chief Meteorologist seen weeknights (now at WCAVmarker as Chief Meteorologist)
  • Will Driscoll - weekend meteorologist and reporter
  • Greg Whitmer - Sports Director seen weeknights
  • Matt Parsons - weekend sports (now at WCAV as weekend sports anchor)
  • Angie Boddorf - reporter (now at WPMTmarker as reporter, now at WTAJmarker as reporter)
  • Jennifer Black - reporter (went to WCAV as reporter)
  • Amy Cutler - reporter
  • Sean Dreher - reporter (now at WTAJmarker as reporter)
  • Ian Holtzman - executive producer


These personnel were also seen on the two stations at one point in time.

  • Donya Archer - anchor (now at WTXFmarker)
  • Paige Hopkins - anchor (now anchor at Fox News)
  • Rich (Knight) Apuzzo - meteorologist (formerly at WXIX-TVmarker)
  • David Pingalore - Sports Director (now Sports Director at WKMG-TVmarker)
  • Ryan Brant - sports anchor and reporter (now Sports Director at WKEFmarker and WRGT-TVmarker)
  • Melissa White - Blair County reporter
  • Josh Bandish - State College Bureau reporter and Executive Producer
  • Mindy Basara - reporter (now at WBAL-TVmarker)
  • Scott Brooks - reporter and producer
  • Bob McCall - Senior Producer (now at WTTGmarker)


References

External links




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