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WICU-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Northwest Region of Pennsylvania that is licensed to Erie. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter east of Langdon in Greene Township. Owned by SJL Broadcast Management Corporation, the station operates CBS affiliate WSEE-TV and a CW subchannel (owned by Lilly Broadcasting, LLC) through a local marketing agreement (LMA) and all share studios on State Street in Downtown Erie. Syndicated programming on WICU includes: Inside Edition, Two and a Half Men, Oprah, and The Dr. Oz Show. This station can also be seen on WSEE's third digital subchannel which airs on UHF channel 16.3 from the same tower. [1] [2]

WICU-TV
[1]

[2]

[3]

Erie, Pennsylvania
Branding WICU 12 (general)

WICU 12 News The CW Erie (on DT2) WSEE (on DT3)

Slogan Coverage You

Can Count On

Channels Digital: 12 (VHF) &

WSEE-DT 16.3 (UHF)

Subchannels 12.1 NBC

12.2 The CW 12.3 CBS

Owner [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montecito_Broadcast_Group SJL Broadcast Management

Corporation] (SJL of Pennsylvania License Subsidiary, LLC)

First air date March 15, 1949
Call letters' meaning ICU (sounds like

"I see you")

Sister station(s) WSEE-TV

WENY-TV

Former channel number(s) Analog:

12 (VHF, 1949-2009) Digital: 52 (UHF, 1995-2009)

Former affiliations CBS (1949-1954)

ABC (1949-1966) DuMont (1949-1955) all secondary

Transmitter power 5.4 kW
Height 306.7 m
Facility ID 24970
Transmitter coordinates 42°3′50″N 80°0′21″W / 42.06389°N 80.00583°W / 42.06389; -80.00583

42°3′52″N 80°0′19″W / 42.06444°N 80.00528°W / 42.06444; -80.00528

Website wicu12.com


[edit] Digital programming

On WICU-DT2 is the area's CW affiliate. Known on-air as The CW Erie, this can also be seen on Time Warner channel 3 and WSEE's second digital subchannel. It gets all of its programming from The CW Plus.


Channel Video Aspect Programming
12.1 1080i 16:9 main WICU programming/NBC HD
12.2 480i 4:3 WSEE-DT2 "The CW Erie"
12.3 480i 4:3 WSEE CBS

[edit] History

WICU began broadcasting in Erie on March 15, 1949 [3] as an affiliate of all four networks of the time (NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont). It was one of the last stations to be granted a construction permit before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) froze new applications. The station was a major beneficiary of a quirk in the FCC's plan for allocating stations. WICU-TV was founded by Edward Lamb an attorney from Toledo, Ohio who also owned WICU radio (1330 AM, now WFNN) and the now-defunct Erie Dispatch Herald along with several other broadcasting properties including WTVN radio and television in Columbus, Ohio.

In the early days of broadcast television, there were twelve VHF channels available and 69 UHF channels (later reduced to 55 in 1983). The VHF bands were more desirable because they carried longer distances. Since there were only twelve VHF channels available, there were limitations as to how closely the stations could be spaced. After the FCC opened the UHF band in 1952, it devised a plan for allocating VHF licenses. Under this plan, almost all of the country would be able to receive two commercial VHF channels plus one noncommercial channel. Most of the rest of the country ("1/2") would be able to receive a third VHF channel. Other areas would be designated as "UHF islands" since they were too close to larger cities for VHF service.

The "2" networks became CBS and NBC, "+1" became PBS, and "1/2" became ABC (which was the weakest network usually winding up with the UHF allocation where no VHF was available). However, Erie and Youngstown, Ohio were both sandwiched between Pittsburgh and Wheeling/Steubenville to the south, Cleveland to the west, Buffalo to the east, and London, Ontario to the north. This created a large "doughnut" in Northwestern Pennsylvania and Northeastern Ohio where there could only be one VHF license. WICU was fortunate to gain that license and has been the market leader in Erie for most of its history.

It was the only station in town until WSEE-TV signed-on in 1954 as a CBS affiliate. The two shared ABC until WJET-TV signed-on in 1966. Lamb nearly lost WICU-AM-TV in 1954 due to allegations that he associated with Communists but was exonerated in 1957. He kept control of the channel until his death in 1957 and his family continued to hold the station until 1996 when they sold it to SJL Communications, a subsidiary of SJL Broadcast Management and Alta Management. SJL purchased Alta's interest in 2005. [4] [5] [6] [7] A Consummation Notice was filed with the FCC in February 2007 to voluntarily transfer control of the station from SJL Communications to SJL Broadcast Management Corporation. [8] [9] This transaction was then authorized by the FCC. [10]

In 2002, the station became the senior partner in a local marketing agreement with WSEE. [11] [12] From that point until June 1, 2009, WSEE continued to operate from its own studios on Peach Street (U.S. 19) in Downtown Erie. On that date, that station along with its CW subchannel merged into WICU's facilities. On June 12, WICU returned to channel 12 when the analog to digital conversion was completed. It turned off its analog signal at noon on June 8 to prepare for the change. It was the last analog station serving the Erie region to make the switch. [13]

Its broadcast signal reaches the city of Erie, surrounding communities, and across Lake Erie in parts of Ontario, Canada. It is available on all cable systems in Erie, Warren and Crawford counties in Pennsylvania and in selected cable networks in Venango County, Pennsylvania, Southwestern New York State, and Northeastern Ohio which are part of the Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Youngstown markets respectively. [14] As recently as the 1990s, it was available on cable as far east as Olean, New York well out of WICU's broadcast range and in competition with Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ-TV. The station was the subject of a television special entitled WICU: The First 40 Years that was aired on March 15, 1989. [15]

[edit] News operation

On May 28, 2009, WSEE aired its final newscast from its Peach Street studios. After moving into WICU's facilities and going without local broadcasts for nearly four days, news returned to the air. WSEE's weeknight 11 o'clock broadcast moved to 10 on WSEE-DT2 so it would no longer compete with this channel. It is then re-aired on WSEE at 11. WSEE-DT2 simulcasts the first hour of WICU's weekday morning show, airs the nationally syndicated morning broadcast The Daily Buzz from 6 to 9, simulcasts WICU's 12:30 newscast, and re-airs for a third time the 10 p.m. broadcast early the next morning.

The WICU and WSEE facilities are currently unable to air two live broadcasts at the same time because there is only one news set. However, it is unknown how WSEE is able to air an hour-long weekday morning show at 6 while WICU produces a separate broadcast. This channel's weeknight 5:30 newscast is in fact a relabeled rerun of its 5 o'clock show which allows WSEE to use the facilities to tape its weeknight 6 o'clock broadcast. Similarly, WICU's midday newscast airs at 12:30 p.m. as opposed to the traditional noon to accommodate WSEE's live noon newscast.

The two stations share weekend broadcasts which can be delayed on one station due to network programming. Despite earlier indications that WICU and WSEE would begin consolidating their news operations, as of April 2010, only the reporting staff is shared between the two. New personnel continues to be hired to replace those who leave contrary to early indications that once a personality left a position he or she would not be replaced and the newscasts would instead be merged.

[edit] Newscast titles

  • The World Tonight (1949-1953)
  • WICU Television News (1953-1970)
  • Channel 12 News (1970-1979)
  • ICU News (1980-1986)
  • NewsCenter 12 (1987-1997)
  • 12 News (1997-present)

[edit] Station slogans

  • "TV-12, Proud as a Peacock!" (1979-1981, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "TV-12, Our Pride is Showing" (1981-1982, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Come Home to TV-12" (1986-1987, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Come on Home to TV-12" (1987-1988, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Come Home to the Best, Only on TV-12" (1988-1990, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Coverage You Can Count On" (1999-present)

[edit] News team

Anchors

  • Kara Coleman - weekday mornings
  • Mark Soliday - weekday mornings
    • "Does It Work?" and "Behind the Kitchen Door" segments producer
  • Emily Matson - weekdays at 12:30
  • Kevin MacDowell - weeknights
  • Amanda Post - weeknights and education reporter
  • Lisa Adams - weekends and weekend producer

12 News FutureTrack Meteorologists

  • Rob Wilson (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Liz Crawford - weekday mornings and 12:30
  • Julie Coates - weekends

Sports

  • Mike Ruzzi - weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Jay Puskar - weekends

Reporters

  • Kara Coleman - weekday mornings
  • Paul Wagner - weeknights
  • John Rupolo - nightly
  • Vanessa Herring
  • John Last
  • Lisa Weismann
  • Scott Bremner
  • Scott McDonnell
  • Jamison Hixenbaugh
  • Liz Crawford

Former on-air staff

  • Jill McCormick - weekday morning anchor
  • Shannon Solo - meteorologist (2006-2009, left to pursue a country music career)
  • Kelsie Smith - reporter (2007-2009, now at WENY-TV)
  • Kristin Kane - reporter (2008-2010, now at WSFL-TV)
  • Frank Rizzone - anchor (now at Mercyhurst College)
  • Mark Parker - weather
  • Vance McBryde - weather (deceased)
  • Don Seastead - weather
  • Hyle Richmond - anchor (retired)
  • Lissa Guyton - anchor
  • Mark Spain - anchor
  • Chris Knowles - anchor (now at WPIX)
  • Ron Winders - anchor
  • Catherine Bossley - reporter
  • Dave Sess - sports (now in Youngstown, Ohio)
  • Bill Cardille - left in 1957 to sign-on WPXI (now a radio DJ at WJAS)
  • Cheryl Scott - weather
  • Tony Victor - weather and features reporter (now at Gannon University)
  • Pat Fagan - news director, 1952 to 1954, left to sign on WGRZ-TV, died 2010

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