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WKEF is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Miami Valley area of Ohio that is licensed to Dayton. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 51 from a transmitter at their Broadcast Plaza studios near the New Chicago section of the city. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WKEF operates Fox affiliate WRGT-TV and its MyNetworkTV/This TV second digital subchannel (owned by Cunningham Broadcasting) though a local marketing agreement (LMA). However, Sinclair effectively owns the station due to Cunningham's ownership structure. Syndicated programming on this station includes: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Judge Judy, Oprah, and The Dr. Oz Show.
|Branding||ABC 22 (general)
Dayton's News Source
|Slogan||It's Where You Live!|
|Channels||Digital: 51 (UHF)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WKEF Licensee L.P.)
|First air date||September 27, 1964|
|Call letters' meaning||Kathrine Elizabeth Flynn|
|Sister station(s)||WRGT-TV, WSYX, WTTE, WSTR-TV|
|Former callsigns||WONE-TV (1964-1965)|
|Former channel number(s)||22 (UHF analog, 1964-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1964-1965)|
|Transmitter power||515 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||39°43′28″N 84°15′18″W / 39.72444°N 84.255°W / 39.72444; -84.255|
It signed-on August 22, 1964 as WONE-TV owned by Brush-Moore Newspapers along with WONE-AM. Conventional wisdom suggested that it would take the ABC affiliation since it was Dayton's third commercial station. Before 1964, ABC programming came to Dayton by way of selected carriage / secondary affiliation on NBC affiliate WLWD (now WDTN). In addition, viewers could watch the full ABC schedules on WKRC-TV in Cincinnati and WTVN-TV (now WSYX) in Columbus both of which decently covered Dayton. Under these circumstances, ABC initially balked at giving an even a secondary affiliation to WONE forcing the station to make a go of it as an independent until late-1965. Another consideration may have been that many Dayton viewers didn't have UHF-capable sets at the time. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had just required television set manufacturers to include all-channel tuning months earlier.
In 1965 however, under new owner Group One Broadcasting, WONE began running ABC prime time shows and sports plus any daytime network shows that WKRC or WTVN pre-empted or WLWD (until 1971) did not carry. Soon after the station joined ABC, it was sold to Springfield Television Corporation (owner of WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts) and renamed WKEF. By 1978, ABC had become the nation's most-watched network (with shows such as Happy Days) and was unhappy with the Cincinnati/Dayton arrangement. WKRC and WTVN were both preempting decent amounts of daytime programming, late night shows, and some of the Saturday morning cartoons. ABC wanted a station in Dayton that could run its whole schedule and be able to reach Cincinnati and Columbus. It also wanted a station that had local news. Although the station did eventually launch a news department, it was not enough to save its affiliation with ABC.
For many years, WKEF produced the daily children's program Clubhouse 22 hosted by Malcolm MacLeod in the early-1970s with Joe Smith taking over in the mid-1970s. Their cohorts included Duffy the Dog, Stan The Man, and later Dr. Creep (Barry Hobart). The theme song of the program was to the tune of "High Hopes" and included the lyrics "Joe and Duff on Clubhouse 22!"
Dr. Creep was also the host of WKEF's weekly horror movie show, Shock Theater. Nationally syndicated conservative talk-show host Mike Gallagher began his broadcasting career at WKEF as a weatherman, sportscaster, and special events host.
In late-1979, ABC began talks with WDTN and agreed to move its Dayton affiliation there when WKEF's contract ran out at the end of the year. The change took affect on New Year's Day 1980. Almost by default, WKEF was then left to take the NBC affiliation. Unlike its ABC deal, WKEF now ran NBC's entire schedule. Even with the affiliation swap, it remained in the ratings basement. NBC also lost market share in the Dayton/Springfield area to stronger affiliates in Cincinnati (WLWT, who has a city-grade signal in Dayton and a Grade B signal as far north as Piqua) and Columbus (WCMH-TV, who has a Grade B signal in Springfield and as far north as Bellefontaine). In 1984, the Springfield Television group (WKEF, WWLP, and KSTU in Salt Lake City, Utah) was sold to Adams Communications. That company broke up the group in the late-1980s selling WKEF to KT Communications in 1989. Neither owner was able to get WKEF out of last place. Even with NBC's powerhouse primetime lineup in the 1980s and early-1990s, it was the third station in what was basically a two-station market.
Part of the problem was a primitive on-air look. KT sold WKEF to Max Television (later Max Media Properties) in 1995. KT invested millions in new equipment, updated the on-air look, and hired almost a completely new staff. Ratings improved but WKEF remained a distant third in the ratings behind WHIO-TV and WDTN. In 1998, WKEF was sold to Sinclair in a group deal. Sinclair was already managing WRGT, owned by Sullivan, and Sinclair moved WRGT's operations into WKEF's studios. In 2001, Sinclair bought most of Sullivan's stations but could not buy WRGT because the FCC does not allow common ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in a market. Also, the Dayton market has only six full-power commercial stations which is too few to permit duopolies. Accordingly, WRGT was sold to Glencairn, Ltd. However, this was a sale in name only as Glencairn's stock was almost entirely owned by the Smith family founders of Sinclair. This effectively gave Sinclair a duopoly in Dayton. Glencairn, now known as Cunningham Broadcasting, still owns WRGT today as one of several arrangements that has led to allegations of Cunningham being merely a shell corporation for Sinclair. This is exactly the same arrangement and same affiilation pair that Sinclar has in Columbus: ABC affiliate WSYX and Fox affiliate WTTE.
On August 30, 2004, WDTN again took the opportunity to sign up with the more popular network dropping ABC to switch back to NBC. Thus as of August 2004, WKEF became an ABC affiliate again. WKEF now runs the entire ABC schedule. Only a few months after becoming an ABC affiliate again, the station and all other Sinclair-owned ABC affiliates including sister WSYX in Columbus as well as two other ABC affiliates in Ohio preempted the movie Saving Private Ryan. That decision was made due to the network's plan to air the R-rated film unedited potentially exposing its affiliated stations to FCC scrutiny if viewers complained about the film's graphic violence and coarse language even though some of Sinclair's stations had already shown the film unedited and uncensored a few months earlier. The incident landed Sinclair at the center of a mild controversy fueling the debate over whether the context of such material should be considered in determining broadcast indecency violations.
After the analog television shutdown on June 12, 2009 , WKEF remained on its current digital channel 51 and stopped transmitting on channel 22  using PSIP to display their virtual channel as 22. WKEF aired a nightlight message on its analog channel for two weeks following the DTV transition deadline. Since that time, the analog 22 transmitter has been used in a low-power mode to broadcast the MyNetworkTV & This TV programming which airs on WRGT-DT2. WKEF aired The Tube on DT2 and Time Warner Cable digital channel 723. WKEF and other Sinclair stations dropped The Tube on December 31, 2006.
 News operation
During the station's early years, channel 22 had no local newscasts. WKEF established a news department in mid-1972 in response to licensing requirements with two weeknight broadcasts in mid-1972. Mark Pierce was named News Director, with anchor John Getter, sports from Billy McCoolm, and meteorologist Virginia Bigler. She was granted the (American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval based on her weather segments becoming the second female meteorologist in the United States to received this. The news department was discontinued after the Xenia tornado in 1974. The final Eyewitness News at 11 was anchored by Paul Douglas (Wilson) who had joined the WKEF staff as an anchor, reporter, and producer in 1973.
Throughout most of the 1970s, WKEF decided against airing its own newscasts possibly owing to low ratings. It relied instead on brief audio-only news updates from newscasters at local radio station WING-AM. It ran these updates at selected times in the morning, afternoon, and evening using a still slide on-screen with a picture of the newscaster. WKEF brought back full news programs in 1979 under the moniker 22 Alive! News with anchors Tom Miller and Jack Marschall.
In 1998, WRGT started its nightly 10 o'clock newscast known as Fox 45 Dayton's News Source at 10 using WKEF's news team. Later that year, that station began airing a weekday morning program called Fox 45 in the Morning from 7 to 9. In the February 2006 sweeps period, the 10 p.m. show was the fastest growing local broadcast out of any in the Dayton market sometimes winning the time slot on certain nights. There was no competition to this until August 18, 2007 when WDTN began to produce a nightly 10 o'clock broadcast on CW affiliate WBDT. This beat WRGT's news in Dayton's metered market household ratings on the 26th day of its broadcast. In August 2008, Fox 45 Dayton's News Source at 6:30 was added to WRGT on weeknights that airs against the national broadcasts on the big three stations.
In terms of ratings, WKEF's newscasts have always been a distant third place behind WHIO and WDTN. On some nights (usually Sundays because of ABC programming) there are times that WKEF is runner-up to WHIO. WSYX and WTTE did not participate in the wider implementation of Sinclair's now-defunct, controversial News Central format for its newscasts but did air "The Point", a one-minute conservative political commentary, that was also controversial and a requirement of all Sinclair-owned stations with newscasts until the series was discontinued in December 2006.
 Newscast titles
- Eyewitness News (1972-1974)
- TV-22 News (1974-1978)
- 22 Alive! News (1979–1994)
- News 22 (1994–1999)
- NBC 22 News (1999–2004)
- ABC 22 News (2004–present)
 Station slogans
- "The Miami Valley's News Team"/"Working for You" (1994–1999)
- "Your Local News Source" (2000–2006)
- "Dayton's News Source" (2006–present)
 News team
- Kylie Conway - weekday mornings and reporter
- Pete Scalia - weekday mornings and reporter
- Don Hammond - weeknights and reporter
- Malcolm Maddox - weekends and weeknight reporter
- Cara Zinski - Saturdays and reporter
- Kathy Hart - Sundays and reporter
ABC 22 First Warning Meteorologists
- Jeffrey Booth (AMS and National Weather Association Seals of Approval) - weeknights - Chief Meteorologist
- Mike Terwilliger (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings
- Andrew Michael - weekends and weather reporter
- Luke Notestine - Monday through Tuesday nights and sports reporter
- Nathan Baker - Wednesday through Sunday nights
- Kristin Keogh - Sports Reporter
- Rhonda Moore - weekday mornings
- Carl Day - "A Better Day" segment producer
- Seth Bauguess
- Chris Cerenelli
- Jackie Couture
 Notable former staff
- Valerie Abati, Meteorologist (now at WLWT in Cincinnati)
- Morgan Adsit, sports (now at KLRT in Little Rock)
- Rich Apuzzo, Meteorologist, (now at Skyeye Weather LLC)
- Scott Arnold, reporter (went on to WDTN, now at WTVF )
- Marcus Bailey, Meteorologist (now at WMBD-TV in Peoria)
- Andy Banker, reporter/anchor (now at KTVI in St. Louis)
- Glen Barbour, reporter (now at KSTP-TV in St. Paul)
- Cornell Barnard, anchor/reporter (now at KXTV in Sacramento)
- Pat Barry, Weather Specialist (at WXIX-TV in Cincinnati)
- Mario Barson, Sports, left for WHIO Sports, returned to Sales, promoted to Local New Business Sales Manager; abruptly resigned in July 2008.
- Mike Bettes, meteorologist (now on The Weather Channel)
- Virginia Bigler, meteorologist (second woman to receive AMS Television Seal of Approval), went on to WAVE-TV/AM Louisville, ultimately to KCST San Diego, leaving TV for air pollution research and teaching in California.
- Dave Bohman, Reporter/Assistant News Director, famous for Fugitive Files (now at WNEP-TV in Scranton, PA)
- Marsha Bonhart, lead anchor, (now @ WDTN)
- Ryan Brant, Sports, now in sales department
- Anita Brikmanis, anchor (now 'Anita Brikman' at WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C.)
- Don Brown, Sports Director (now a part-time sports reporter/anchor at WHIO-TV)
- Tara Brown, anchor (now at WEAR in Pensacola)
- Tom Burse, Chief Meteorologist (now Owner/Chief Meteorolgist WeatherImage LLC. WeatherImage.com)
- Stacy Cameron, reporter
- Jeff Castle, Meteorologist (now at WAFF in Huntsville)
- Jo Corey "Miss Jo", 1960s local host of preschooler program Romper Room
- Mary Costello, reporter (now at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis)
- Elizabeth Cowart, reporter (now Elizabeth Owens at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg)
- Marc Cox, reporter (now at KMOV in St. Louis)
- Ray Crawford, Sports Director (anchor FSN Ohio)
- Carl Day, lead anchor, (now at WDTN)
- Greg Dixon, Meteorologist (now at WVVA in Bluefield)
- Duane Dow, first sports anchor in 1965-66
- Paula Farris, sports (now at WMAQ-TV in Chicago)
- Jacqueline Fell, reporter (now at Central Florida News 13 in Orlando)
- Guy Fogle, Sports (now a teacher)
- Mike Gallagher, weatherman and sports reporter (now nationally syndicated radio talk show hostThe Mike Gallagher Show)
- Asa George, lead morning anchor
- Mike Giangreco, sports/producer (now at TV3 in Winchester)
- Ruthanne Gordon, anchor/reporter (now at WISH-TV in Indianapolis)
- Joe Griffin, reporter/videographer (now at KOAT in Albuquerque)
- Anietra Hamper, anchor/reporter (now at WBNS-TV in Columbus)
- Barry Hobart, better known as "Dr. Creep", host of Shock Theater (aka Saturday Night Dead)
- Scott Hawkins, reporter, morning anchor, moved to WIS in Columbia, is currently Public Information Officer for the SC Department of Forestry.
- Andrew Howell, sports/producer
- Candice Hunter, anchor
- Karin Johnson, reporter (now at WLWT in Cincinnati)
- Paula Johnson, reporter
- Karen Jordan, anchor/reporter, now in Chicago WLS-TV
- Amy Kaufeldt, assignment editor (now an anchor at WOFL in Lake Mary)
- Ed Krahling, first news anchor in 1965-66 (later moved to WHIO-TV in 1967, retired in 1993, died in 1998)
- Michelle Kingsfield, Lead Anchor 1999-2007( now at WDTN )
- Lindsey Kurtz, Meteorologist (now a missionary)
- Terry Lafferty, staff announcer/director 1969-70 (now part-time anchor WLW in Cincinnati)
- Reid Lamberty, anchor (now at WNYW in New York City)
- Billy McCool, sports (1972-4), former Cincinnati Reds rookie pitcher
- Mia McCormick, reporter (now at SNN Local News 6 in Sarasota)
- Janet McGill, lead weather specialist 1979-94, (married to WHIO-TV's Mike Hartsock)
- Malcolm MacLeod, early 1970s host of Clubhouse 22
- Sade Malloy, reporter
- Erin Meyer, reporter
- Jason Meyers, Weather forecaster (now at WISE in Fort Wayne)
- Regina Mitchell, reporter
- Ben Nandy, reporter (formerly anchor and reporter at NBC 40 WMGM in Atlantic City; also formerly lead reporter and weekend anchor at CBS 5 KGWN in Cheyenne, WY)
- Steve Norris, Meteorologist (now at WCPO in Cincinnati)
- Laurie Penco, Lead Anchor, 1995–99, now at KFSN/ABC Fresno
- Leif Pedersen-Diaz, investigative reporter, 1994-1996 (went to WFOR-TV Miami)
- Kristi Piehl, anchor/reporter(now at KSTP in Minneapolis-St. Paul)
- Mark Pierce, news director and part-time anchor 1972-74 (left for public TV, Florida)
- Mark Pompilio, lead anchor, 1999–2008
- Tina Rezash, lead anchor, (went on to WDTN, now Time Warner Cable Sales)
- Chris Riva, (now an anchor/reporter at KCRA in Sacramento)
- Takisha Roberson, reporter (now at KTVT in Fort Worth)
- Karrie Rosmiller, Reporter, News Director; now WDTN 2news This Morning Traffic Reporter.
- Bina Roy, weekend anchor and reporter
- Roscoe Shaw, Meteorologist, now a professor of math at Tauhara College in Taupo New Zealand.
- Deb Silverman, reporter (now at WCPO in Cincinnati)
- Joe Smith, staff announcer and late 1970s host of Clubhouse 22 (now at KGW in Portland)
- Gary Somerset, anchor/reporter, currently Media and Public Relations Manager at the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C.
- Matt Storm, photojournalist (was a sports reporter at WEYI in Clio)
- Toody the Clown (aka: "Toody Too", as in "22"), 1960s children's show host
- Johnny Walker, staff announcer, public affairs director and host of local segments of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, later president of Hara Arena, died in 2005
- Lori Webster, Former Anchor, Reporter and News Director from 1983-1999, also a licensed Attorney. Went to LexisNexis.
- Dan Weist, reporter (now a correspondent at ONN in Columbus)
- Norm West (Weisthal), reporter, 1979-1985, went to WGHP, Greensboro, High-Point,Winston-Salem, (changed first name to Neil in 1990) Currently Delta flight attendant
- Brittany Westbrook, reporter (now at WBNS-TV in Columbus)
- Karoline Wightman, reporter (now at KOLO-TV in Reno)
- Natasha (King) Williams, reporter, (now at WHIO-TV)
- Paul Douglas(Wilson) anchor, reporter, photo-journalist,(later spent twelve years at WHIO AM/FM/TV Dayton, Now an inventor, and voiceover talent
- Bernie Wulkotte aka: "B.W." a Dayton Daily News columnist and WAVI radio personality who hosted local evening movie program, died in 1980s
- George Wymer, Morning Movie and Motoryclcling with KK in the mid-1970s, returned to WKEF sales 1994; left for WDTN sales 2006.