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WFFF-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the state of Vermont, except Bennington and Windham Counties, as well as the North Country of New York State that is licensed to Burlington. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 43 from a transmitter on Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest elevation. Owned by Smith Media, WFFF operates ABC affiliate WVNY (owned by Lambert Broadcasting of Burlington, LLC) through a local marketing agreement. The two share studios on Mountain View Drive in Colchester. Syndicated programming on WFFF includes: Two and a Half Men, Friends, That '70s Show, and Roseanne.


Contents

[hide]*1 Overview

[edit] Overview

The station can be seen on Comcast (in Vermont) and Charter (in New York) channel 9. On Vidéotron systems in Montreal, the station can be seen on channel 46 in West Montreal and channel 36 in Central/East Montreal. It can also be seen on channel 54 via Illico digital.

It operates the area's CW affiliate on a second digital subchannel. Known on-air as The CW Burlington, this can also be found Comcast channel 20 in Vermont and Charter channel 11 in New York. In the Upper Valley region of Central Vermont and Western New Hampshire, it is offered on Comcast digital channel 167. Syndicated programming on the station includes: Friends, Seinfeld, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and COPS. Although most CW Plus affiliates are located on digital subchannels of another station, WFFF-DT2 is not part of the national service. There is currently no website for this channel. It is currently not available on cable in Canada or on some systems within its home market such as Saranac Lake, New York where Time Warner Cable offers WPIX from New York City instead.

[edit] Digital programming

Its signal is multiplexed.


Channel Programming
43.1 main WFFF programming / Fox HD
43.2 WFFF-DT2 "The CW Burlington"

[edit] History

[1][2]Original WFFF-TV logo at its launch in 1997.WFFF began broadcasting on August 31, 1997 immediately taking the Fox affiliation. It aired an analog signal on UHF channel 44 from a transmitter on Terry Mountain in Peru, New York. Prior to WFFF's sign-on, the Burlington/Plattsburgh market was the last top-100 television market without a primary Fox affiliate. For a year prior to 1997, CBS affiliate WCAX-TV cleared some shows from the network while the full schedule was available on most Vermont cable systems via Foxnet. In New York State, the network was offered on cable via WNYW from New York City. In Canada, the Fox network was offered on cable via either WUTV from Buffalo or WUHF from Rochester.

Originally, WFFF was owned by Smith Broadcasting but was operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (then owner of NBC affiliate WPTZ) under a LMA). In 1998, Sinclair sold WPTZ and its LMA with WFFF to Sunrise Television who in turn swapped both stations and the LMA to Hearst-Argyle Television in July of that year. WFFF began operating as an independently-controlled station in 2000 when the LMA with WPTZ was terminated.

In 1998, the station gained secondary WB affiliation after WBVT dropped The WB to become a UPN affiliate. For a time, the two hours of prime time programming from The WB aired in separate two hour long blocks on weeknights at 5 and 10 o'clock. WFFF then switched the entire two hours of programming to a continuous block on a delayed basis at 10 p.m. after FOX prime time named "The WB Time". That network was also offered on cable via WPIX from New York City. In February 1999, WFFF began broadcasting thirty second daily vignettes called Vermont's Most Wanted along with sister program Citizen's Patrol. This effort was in cooperation with local law enforcement and the Champlain Valley branch of the national Crimestoppers non-profit organization.

In 2005, the death of Bob Smith (the head of family-owned Smith Broadcasting) led to the family's decision to sell its group of stations to an investment group called Smith Media, LLC. After researching the markets it which Smith Media now had ownership in, it was discovered that WVNY was up for sale. Finding a way to satisfy the Federal Communications Commission's ownership rules, Smith Media partnering with Lambert Broadcasting, LLC and became the senior partner in a local marketing agreement with WVNY. Smith Media shut down WVNY's studios on Shelburne Road (U.S. 7) in South Burlington, reduced redundant staff, and relocated the operations into WFFF's Colchester facilities.

During the 2004/2005 television season, the broadcast time of Kids' WB on WFFF was moved from the weekday morning 6 to 8 o'clock time slot to 2 to 4 in the afternoon. It also continued to air during the 5 to 8 a.m. time slot on Saturdays. The WB discontinued the weekday airing of Kids' WB in January 2006 and replaced it with reruns of ER, 8 Simple Rules, and Reba. In Fall 2006, WFFF began broadcasting the Saturday Kids' WB schedule in hour-long blocks on weekday mornings. WFFF became digital-only effective February 17, 2009. Some parts of the viewing area were left without a full-power FOX affiliate. This includes Enosburg in Franklin County, Vermont as well as parts of Franklin and Essex Counties in New York.

[edit] The CW

On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initials of its corporate parents, CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. Up until The CW's launch on September 18, it was unknown if there would be an affiliate in Burlington and Plattsburgh. Just before that date, it was announced that The CW would air on WFFF in a delayed basis at 10 p.m. (as did programming from The WB). As was the case with The WB, The CW would also be available on cable in the area via WPIX from New York City. It was unlikely that UPN affiliate WGMU-CA would have been the CW affiliate for Burlington. CW officials were on record as preferring the "stronger" WB and UPN affiliates and, despite secondary status, WFFF was by far the stronger station.

Before it was confirmed that WFFF would be a secondary CW affiliate, there was a possibility that a new television station WCWF (now WNMN) was to become affiliated with the network. On September 27, 2007, WFFF moved The CW to a new second digital subchannel. For Comcast viewers in Vermont, WFFF-DT2 immediately replaced WPIX. The subchannel was to be known on-air as "The CW 20" after its channel location on Comcast. It was not until December 31, 2008 that Charter in New York State did the same thing. The station then became known on-air as "The CW Burlington".

[edit] Programming

[edit] Simultaneous substitution problems

Like the other Vermont television stations, WFFF has significant viewership in Montreal, which is some ten times larger than the station's entire American viewing area. As the youngest full-power station covering the entire market, it still relies heavily on the Montreal television market for advertising revenue while the area's other stations have somewhat lessened their dependence on advertising. In 2003 and 2004, WFFF was involved in a "commercial war" with CJNT-TV in Montreal. For some time its commercials on non-network programs, such as That '70s Show, had been blocked by simultaneous substitution (simsub) on Montreal cable systems by CJNT. Simultaneous substitution demanded that the cable companies in Canada replace WFFF's signal with CJNT's signal when the same program and episode was running at the same time. In response, WFFF frequently shifted its schedule to keep its commercials from being blocked in Montreal.

In response to WFFF's schedule shuffling, CJNT moved its schedule accordingly to retain simsub rights. This resulted in a cat-and-mouse game of changing programming schedules every few weeks which left viewers confused. These changes usually occurred with little to no advance warning sometimes making the local schedules in TV Guide outdated by the time they were published. [1] WFFF eventually solved the problem by adding a second daily airing of That 70's Show giving it access to a second strip of programs from the distributor which was available only to stations carrying a full hour of the program. It would then flip the two airings so that the exclusive strip was airing in the shared time slot, meaning that CJNT could no longer simsub the program since WFFF was not airing the same episode.[1]

On August 31, 2009, CJNT went under control of new owners, Channel Zero. Under this new ownership, its multicultural programming increased and all American programming was canceled. [2] With this development it leaves CFCF-TV and CKMI-TV as the only stations in the Montreal area to simsub over American channels including WFFF, though this situation may change as CJNT has picked up some American programming as part of its rebranding to Metro 14 in September 2010.[3]

[edit] Sports

Vermont is part of New England and, as a result, is associated with sports teams from Boston. Two-thirds of the station's American audience is from Vermont counties and another one-sixth is from New Hampshire. However, the final one-sixth is from Upstate New York. That region is associated with teams from New York City. Thus, WFFF tends to air Boston Red Sox games when they appear on FOX Saturday Baseball followed by the New York Yankees or Mets if the Red Sox are not chosen for national coverage. NFL coverage typically features the New York Giants unless the New England Patriots play a home game against an NFC opponent, in which case WFFF may air either the Patriots or Giants game depending on the circumstances and network choice.

[edit] News operation

[3][4]WFFF's news open.In 2005 after WVNY moved into WFFF's studios Smith Media made an announcement that it was planning to start a news department for the two stations. After the creation of The CW and WFFF airing that network's programming at 10 p.m., there was some doubt as to the status of the news department launch. In mid-July 2007 however, planning for a nightly 10 o'clock newscast started with the posting of news department related jobs on WFFF's website. This development related to the fact that The CW moved to WFFF-DT2 instead of airing at 10 o'clock (in a delayed manner) on the main channel.

On November 26, advertisements started appearing on WFFF and WVNY for the launch of the 10 P.M. news which occurred on December 3. This newscast, known as Fox 44 Local News at 10, originally ran nightly for thirty minutes but has since been expanded to 60 minutes on Monday September 7, 2009 on weeknights. This is followed by a fifteen minute sports highlight show known as Sports Wrap, And ′′10 Minute Advantage′′ showing the first ten minutes of news and weather everyone needs to know. It was the first high definition broadcast in the market. WFFF's 10 o'clock production is not the first in the market because back on July 16, WCAX began producing a weeknight prime time show which can be seen on its digital 24-hour local weather channel.

On March 3, 2008, WFFF began to produce a weeknight and Saturday 7 o'clock newscast on WVNY known as Fox 44 Local News on ABC (the Saturday edition eventually moved to 6:30 and also airs on Sundays). It was the first station in the market to offer news at that time. The move to launch this production was due in part to the tough competition of news at 6 o'clock on WCAX and WPTZ. As is the case on WFFF, the WVNY news is aired in high definition. It airs on Sunday nights but at 6:30 to accommodate ABC programming. The WVNY broadcasts mark the return of local news on that station since it shut down its own news department back on September 12, 2003. The only "ABC 22" identification on the news is in the intro package and the "bug" in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

On August 18, 2008, WFFF began airing a two-hour long weekday morning newscast known as Fox 44 Local News This Morning. Included in the launch were cut-ins on WVNY during its airing of Good Morning America. This occurs at :25 and :55 past the hour and the two stations simulcast each other. Eventually an hour of local morning news starting at 6 was added to WVNY. During weather segments, WFFF uses live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from three regional sites. It is presented on-screen as "Sky Tracker HD Triple Doppler". WFFF-DT2 airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 6 to 9. Weather forecasts from this station can be heard on: WSNO-AM 1450, WMOO-FM 92.1 / W257AU-FM 99.3, WDOT-FM 95.7, WWFY-FM 100.9, WCPV-FM 101.3, WEXP-FM 101.5/WTHK-FM 100.7/W264AB-FM 104.7, and WORK-FM 107.1.

[edit] News team

Anchors

  • Julia Dunn - weekday mornings and reporter
  • Greg Navarro - weeknights and reporter
  • Lauren Maloney - weeknights and reporter
  • Nicole Estaphan - weekends and reporter

Fox 44 Sky Tracker meteorologists

  • Kerrin Jeromin - weekday mornings
  • Nick Johnston - weekday nights
  • Steven Glazier - weekend nights

Sports

  • Kristian Read - Director seen weeknights
  • Whitney Brown - weekends and sports reporter

Reporters

  • Rachael Kent
  • Matt Austin
  • Brandon Hudson
  • Mitch Pittman
  • Natalie Paterson

Photographers

  • Bob Conley
  • Tyson Foster
  • Steve Longchamp
  • Kyle DuBreuil

Past on-air staff

  • Kelly LaVoie - reporter (2007-2008)
  • Michael Henrich - reporter (2007-2009)
  • Elissa Burnell - weekend anchor and reporter (2007-2009)
  • Ben Kennedy - reporter (2007-2009)
  • Jaimarie Ely - reporter (2008-2009)

References

  1. ^ a b CJNT & WFFF, A War over Canadian commercials heats up. TVHat.
  2. ^ Channel Zero Inc. agrees to purchase CHCH Hamilton and CJNT Montreal from Canwest CNW Group (2009-06-30)

External links

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