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WCAU, channel 10, is an owned-and-operated television station of the NBC Television Network, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. WCAU has its studios on the border between Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, and transmitter in the Roxborough neighborhood. Its signal covers the Delaware Valley area including Philadelphia, parts of central and southern New Jersey, and Delaware.


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[edit] History

[edit] As a CBS station

In 1945, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin secured a construction permit for channel 10, naming its proposed station WPEN-TV after the newspaper's radio stations, WPEN (950 AM) and WPEN-FM (98.1 FM, later WCAU-FM and now WOGL).

However, the picture changed dramatically in 1946, when The Philadelphia Record folded. The Bulletin inherited the Record's "goodwill," along with the rights to buy WCAU radio (1210 AM, now WPHT) and the original WCAU-FM (102.9 FM) from their longtime owners, brothers Ike and Leon Levy. The Bulletin sold off the less-powerful WPEN and WCAU-FM, with the latter being renamed WPEN-FM (it is now WMGK). The Bulletin kept its FM station, renaming it WCAU-FM to match its new AM sister. The newspaper also kept its construction permit for channel 10, renaming it WCAU-TV.

WCAU-TV went on the air on May 23, 1948 as Philadelphia's third television station.[1] It was able to secure an affiliation with CBS through the influence of the Levy brothers, who continued to work for the newspaper as consultants. WCAU radio had been one of CBS's original 16 affiliates when the network premiered in 1927. A year later, the Levy brothers persuaded their brother-in-law, William Paley, to buy the struggling network. The Levy brothers had been shareholders and directors at CBS for many years. Due to this long relationship, channel 10 signed on as CBS's third television affiliate.


[1][2]Original studio at 1622 Chestnut StreetChannel 10 was originally located at 1622 Chestnut Street in Center City along with its radio sisters. (The building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, now houses The Art Institute.) In 1952, the WCAU stations moved to a new facility in the Main Line suburb of Bala Cynwyd. The studio, located on Monument Road at City Line Avenue, was a state-of-the-art television center, and the first building in America constructed specifically for broadcasting. Channel 10 is still headquartered there today.

In the late 1950s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley into the Philadelphia market. The Bulletin realized that channel 10's original tower, atop the PSFS Building in Center City, was inadequate for this larger viewing area. Accordingly, in 1957, WCAU-TV moved to a new 1,200-foot tower in Roxborough, which added most of Delaware, the Jersey Shore and the Lehigh Valley to its city-grade coverage.

Also in 1957, the Bulletin bought CBS affiliate WGBI-TV (channel 22) in Scranton, changing its call letters to WDAU-TV (it is now WYOU). Soon after, the FCC told the Bulletin that it couldn't keep both stations due to a large signal overlap in the Lehigh Valley. The Bulletin could not afford to get a waiver to keep both stations, so it opted to keep the smaller WDAU-TV and sell the WCAU stations to CBS. CBS had to seek a waiver to buy the WCAU stations, as the signals of the WCAU stations overlapped with those of WCBS-AM and TV in New York City. (In the case of the radio outlets, both were clear-channel stations; the FCC at the time usually did not allow common ownership of clear-channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage areas.) The FCC readily granted the waiver, and CBS took control in 1958.


[3][4]WCAU-TV ident from the early 1970s. The "10" survived with only minor changes until 1995.From 1965 to 1986, WCAU-TV was the only network-owned station in Philadelphia. As such, it was the only station in the city that did not heavily preempt network programming. It did run an hour of Saturday morning cartoons during the 7 a.m. hour and a week behind to run the hour-long locally produced children's program, The Gene London Show, which ended in 1977. The preempted hour of Saturday cartoons was aired on Sunday mornings instead.

[edit] Switch from CBS to NBC

In 1994, CBS entered into a long-term affiliation agreement with Westinghouse (Group W) Broadcasting, the owners of Philadelphia's longtime NBC affiliate, KYW-TV (channel 3). Westinghouse converted three of its stations, KYW-TV among them, into CBS affiliates. KYW-TV had been a very distant third in the Philadelphia ratings for more than a decade, while WCAU was a solid runner-up to rival ABC-owned station WPVI-TV (channel 6). Nonetheless, CBS decided to affiliate with channel 3 and sell channel 10, ending a 47-year relationship (including 37 years of ownership) with the station.

NBC and New World Communications then emerged as the leading bidders for WCAU. NBC's motivation was obvious—though it was losing KYW-TV, the network also saw a chance to get an owned-and-operated station in Philadelphia, the largest market where it didn't own a television station. Meanwhile, New World had recently partnered with Fox in most markets and NBC in two others. It leaned toward turning WCAU into a Fox affiliate, as it did with most of its other stations. Had New World opted to affiliate WCAU with Fox, channel 10 would have retained its status as the "home" station of the Philadelphia Eagles. The station had carried Eagles games since 1950, and continued to air most Eagles games after CBS gained broadcast rights to National Football League games in 1956. CBS had recently lost the rights to the National Football Conference (where the Eagles played) to Fox.

Even before CBS put WCAU on the market, rumors abounded that Fox was about to lose its original Philadelphia affiliate, Viacom/Paramount-owned WTXF-TV (channel 29), to the new United Paramount Network. Fox announced plans to buy WGBS-TV (channel 57, now WPSG), but later canceled them and entered the WCAU bidding in case New World's bid either fell through or New World opted to affiliate WCAU with NBC. In the end, Viacom/Paramount opted to sell WTXF to Fox and buy WGBS, effectively giving channel 10 to NBC.

[edit] As an NBC-owned station

On September 10, 1995, KYW-TV and WCAU-TV swapped network affiliations, part of a more complex affiliation/ownership deal involving NBC, CBS and Group W. While all of Group W's other stations had switched to CBS in January, the swap was delayed in Philadelphia after NBC discovered it could not buy channel 10 outright without going over the FCC's ownership limit of the time. To solve this problem, NBC swapped KCNC-TV in Denver and KUTV in Salt Lake City to CBS in return for WCAU. CBS then traded controlling interest in KCNC and KUTV to Group W for a minority stake in KYW-TV. As part of this deal, NBC and Group W/CBS also traded broadcasting facilities in Miami. Group W's parent, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, purchased CBS in 1996, making CBS's Philadelphia radio stations sisters to WCAU-AM/WPHT's longtime rival, KYW radio.

NBC had wanted to own a station in Philadelphia for many years. It briefly succeeded in 1956, when it extorted Westinghouse into exchanging channel 3 (then called WPTZ-TV) and KYW radio for NBC's Cleveland stations, WTAM-AM-FM and WNBK television. However, the FCC and the U.S. Justice Department nullified the swap in June 1965. In purchasing channel 10 in 1958, CBS cited NBC's then-ownership of WRCV-TV (as KYW was called) and WRCA-TV in New York City in its successful effort to obtain an FCC waiver. Further information: KYW (AM) and KYW-TVAlthough the radio stations had dropped the WCAU calls some years before, NBC dropped the -TV suffix from channel 10's callsign soon after it assumed control.

[edit] Digital television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:


Channel Name Programming
10.1 WCAU-DT main WCAU-TV/NBC programming/HDTV
10.2 NBC Plus 24/7 Weather Channel
10.3 Universal Sports Universal Sports

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion was completed on June 12, 2009, WCAU digital broadcasts remained on channel 34, because ABC affiliate WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania continued broadcasting on channel 10 after ceasing channel 27 analog transmission that day.[2] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will continue to display WCAU's virtual channel as 10.1

[edit] News operation

WCAU Studios
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
[5]
Location: 1618-22 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 39°57′19″N 75°10′27″W / 39.95528°N 75.17417°W / 39.95528; -75.17417Coordinates: 39°57′19″N 75°10′27″W / 39.95528°N 75.17417°W / 39.95528; -75.17417
Built/Founded: 1931
Architect: Harry Sternfeld; Multiple
Architectural style(s): Modern Movement, Art Deco
Governing body: Private
Added to NRHP: January 27, 1983
NRHP Reference#: 83002281[3]

News has been produced at WCAU from when it went on the air on in 1948. Charles Shaw, who had worked with Edward R. Murrow as a CBS correspondent in London during World War II, was the station's news director from 1948 until he left the station in the early 1960s. John Facenda, who later gained fame as the voice of NFL Films, was the station's main anchorman from shortly after it signed on until 1973. At the time he retired, he had been a main anchor longer than anyone in Philadelphia. He has since been passed by WPVI's Jim Gardner.

Soon after joining the station, Facenda sold the Bulletin on the idea of a local 11 pm newscast—the first in the country. It aired for the first time on September 8. In 1950, WCAU became the first station with a four-man news team. The 6 pm newscast was anchored by Facenda, with Philadelphia radio legend Phil Sheridan handling weather, Jack Whitaker on sports and Ed McMahon as announcer. In 1965, channel 10 introduced the "Big News" format from sister station KNXT (now KCBS-TV) in Los Angeles.

The station's news operation was the ratings leader in Philadelphia for most of the time from the late 1940s through the 1960s. In the 1960s KYW-TV's Eyewitness News passed it in the rating. The station then remained a strong second until the 1970s, when WPVI-TV's Action News bumped channel 10 down to third place. WCAU struggled through the late 1970s while most of its CBS sisters dominated the ratings, but has since recovered and has been a solid runner-up to longtime leader WPVI for over a quarter century. WCAU did manage to pass WPVI in the 5 pm time slot for a time in the early 1980s with its original "Live at 5," anchored by Larry Kane & Deborah Knapp (now at KENS-TV in San Antonio). In 2001, WCAU made national news when its 11 pm news (anchored by Larry Mendte and Renee Chenault-Fattah) knocked WPVI from the top slot for the first time in decades. Since 2003, WCAU has had to fend off a spirited challenge from a resurgent KYW-TV for second place in the Philadelphia ratings. Channel 3's resurgence was fueled in part by luring Mendte away from channel 10.

Shortly after CBS agreed to sell the station to NBC, WCAU dropped its longtime moniker of Channel 10 News in favor of NewsCenter 10. After the sale closed, NBC changed the newscast name to News 10. It became NBC 10 News in 2000.

WCAU used music based on "Channel 2 News", written for WBBM-TV in Chicago (the de facto official music for CBS' O&O stations) & variations on it from 1982 until the 11 PM newscast on September 9, 1995 hours before the flip to NBC. It used the original 1975 version from 1982–1987, a synthesized version written by a local composer during the 1987-88 season and the Palmer News Package from 1988 to 1995. KYW-TV has used variants on this theme in recent years.

On December 10, 2005 WCAU took over production of WPHL-TV (channel 17)'s half-hour 10 pm nightly newscast after that station canceled in-house primetime newscast and laid off its entire news and production staff. This new newscast was called WB 17 News at 10 Powered by NBC 10. On July 25, 2006, the program was re-named My PHL 17 News Powered by NBC 10 to correspond with WPHL's upcoming switch to MyNetworkTV. This newscast competes with the 10PM newscasts on WTXF (channel 29, which is produced in-house) and WPSG (channel 57, which is produced by KYW-TV).

The station debuted an all-new website, NBCPhiladelphia.com, on October 23, 2008. NBC Local Media took the operation of its news sites back in-house, ending its contract with IBS] (Internet Broadcasting Systems). The original NBC10.com was removed and the URL now redirects to the new site.

WCAU upgraded its studios for high-definition television newscasts and began transmitting high definition newscasts on December 10, 2008 starting with its 4 pm newscast.[4] WCAU advertised its switch to high definition newscasts with the slogan "We've saved the best for last." WCAU is the last station in the Philadelphia designated market area to do so.[5]

On November 13, 2008, Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media reached a deal to test a system that will allow Fox-owned stations and NBC-owned stations to pool their news resources ranging from shared video to any aerial video from a helicopter. WCAU and Fox owned-and-operated station WTXF were the first stations to undertake the plan as an effective way to deal with the difficulties in costs in news operations.[6]

[edit] Cable and satellite carriage

Outside of the Philadelphia market in central and southern New Jersey, WCAU is carried in southern Middlesex County on Comcast Digital Cable in the municipalities of Plainsboro, South Brunswick, Monroe, Cranbury, Jamesburg, Helmetta, Spotswood and East Brunswick. Up until November 2006, WCAU was carried on cable channel 10 until Comcast moved WCAU over to digital cable channel 253 to preserve bandwidth.

Only South Brunswick township picks up KYW on VerizonFioS as the only Philadelphia station.

Monmouth County carries WCAU on Cablevision Monmouth and Monmouth/Wall outlets.

All of Ocean County carries WCAU on Comcast and Cablevision outlets. Like in Middlesex County, WCAU was also removed from Channel 10 and moved over to digital cable channel 253 to preserve bandwidth.

Comcast transmits WCAU to most of Sussex County in Delaware, except for Fenwick Island as the town uses former TCI (now Comcast) service, on Channel 10. It is the only Philadelphia local channel remaining on the Limited Analog Service. Mediacom and Verizon FiOs do not broadcast WCAU in Sussex County.

Also In November 2006, Comcast of Long Beach Island also moved WCAU from its basic analog lineup to its basic digital package (like in Middlesex County on digital channel 253) causing a massive public outcry from the Island's municipalities, including a resolution passed by the Boro of Harvey Cedars that the channel be re-instated to basic analog.[7]

Currently, DirecTV and DishNetwork does not carry any Philadelphia stations out of the Philadelphia market in New Jersey.

[edit] News/station presentation

[edit] Newscast titles

  • John Facenda News/The 11th Hour News (1950s)
  • Headline News (1950s-1965)
  • The Big News (1965-1970s)
  • TV-10 News (1970s-1982)
  • Channel 10 News (1982–1994)
  • NewsCenter 10 (1994–1995)
  • News 10 (1995–2000, used when the station switched to NBC)
  • NBC 10 News (2000–present)
  • WB 17 News at 10 Powered by NBC 10 (produced for WPHL-TV; December 2005-July 2006)
  • My PHL 17 News at 10 Powered by NBC 10 (produced for WPHL-TV; July 2006–present)

[edit] Station slogans

  • Reach For The Stars On Channel 10 (1981-1982; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • We've Got The Touch, You And Channel 10 (1983-1984; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • You And Channel 10, We've Got The Touch (1984-1985; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • We've Got The Touch On Channel 10 (1985-1986; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • The Spirit of Philadelphia (1985–1990)
  • Share The Spirit On Channel 10 (1986-1987; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • Get Ready for Channel 10 (1989–1991; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • Channel 10 Where You're Our Focus (1991/1992-1994)
  • Channel 10 is Now NBC 10...Pass it On (1995 promoted ownership/affiliation swap)
  • NBC 10...Whatever it Takes (1996–2000)
  • Turn to NBC 10 (2003–present)
  • Give the people what they want (Feb2010-present)

[edit] On-air staff

Anchors
  • Renee Chenault-Fattah - weeknights at 6 & 11 pm
  • Tim Lake - weeknights at 6 & 11 pm
  • Dawn Timmeney - weekdays at 4 pm
  • Tracy Davidson - weeknights at 5 pm; consumer reporter
  • Aditi Roy - weekday mornings
  • Terry Ruggles - weekday mornings
  • Stacey Stauffer - weekend mornings; also Lehigh Valley reporter
  • Kristen Welker - weekend evenings
  • Lori Wilson - weekday mornings; co-host 10! show, weekdays at 4 pm, weeknights at 10 pm (on MyPHL17)
NBC10 EarthWatch Team
  • Bill Henley - weekday mornings; co-host 10! show
  • Michelle Grossman - weekend mornings
  • Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz - chief meteorologist; weeknights
  • Dave Warren (AMS Certified) - weekend evenings
Sports
  • John Clark - weekends
  • Vai Sikahema - sports director; weeknights
Reporters
  • Monique Braxton
  • Lu Ann Cahn - investigative reporter
  • Deanna Durante
  • Tim Furlong
  • Ted Greenberg - Jersey shore reporter
  • Harry Hairston - investigative reporter
  • Steve Highsmith - Political Director
  • Dama Lewis - afternoon traffic reporter
  • Jillian Mele - morning traffic reporter
  • Denise Nakano
  • Justin Pizzi
  • Claudia Rivero
  • Doug Shimell

Notable former staff

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