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WWLP is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts that is licensed to Springfield. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 11 from a transmitter on Provin Mountain in the Feeding Hills section of Agawam. Owned by the LIN TV Corporation, the station has studios at Broadcast Center in the Sandy Hill section of Chicopee next to the I-391/MA 116 interchange. WWLP operates a full-time digital repeater, WFXQ-CD channel 28, that has a transmitter at the top of the old Mount Tom Ski Area in Holyoke. Syndicated programming on the station includes: Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Judge Judy, and Friends.

WWLP
[1]
Springfield/Holyoke, Massachusetts
Branding 22 News
Slogan Working For You
Channels Digital: 11 (VHF)

Virtual: 22 (PSIP)

Subchannels 22.1 NBC
Translators 28 WFXQ-CD (UHF)
Owner LIN TV Corporation

(WWLP Broadcasting, LLC)

First air date March 17, 1953
Call letters' meaning William L. Putnam

(founder and longtime owner)

Sister station(s) WPRI-TV, WNAC-TV, WTNH, WCTX
Former channel number(s) Analog:

61 (UHF, 1953-1955) 22 (UHF, 1955-2009)

Transmitter power 10 kW
Height 247 m
Facility ID 6868
Transmitter coordinates 42°5′4.8″N 72°42′13.3″W / 42.084667°N 72.703694°W / 42.084667; -72.703694
Website wwlp.com

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History

WWLP began broadcasting on March 17, 1953. The station was located on channel 61 and was founded by William L. Putnam and his company, Springfield Television. The station's studios were located in Feeding Hills. WWLP had the distinction of being one of the first UHF television stations in the United States as well as being Massachusetts' oldest television station outside of Boston. WWLP switched from channel 61 to channel 22 on July 2, 1955. Springfield was designated as a "UHF island" because it was too close to Boston, Hartford / New Haven and the Capital District of New York State for VHF service. In 1957, WRLP-TV channel 32 in Greenfield signed on as a full-time satellite of WWLP serving the northern portion of the market (including Brattleboro, Vermont and Keene, New Hampshire) where WWLP's signal was marginal due to the area's rugged terrain.

In 1958, Putnam bought WWOR-TV (no relation to the current New York station) a defunct station on channel 14 in Worcester and returned it to the air as another full-time satellite of WWLP. However, that station only aired six hours a day. WWOR later changed its calls to WJZB-TV and became independent. Both stations eventually went off the air (WJZB went dark in 1969 followed by WRLP in 1978). The WRLP transmitter was shipped to Salt Lake City, Utah almost immediately in order to launch independent station KSTU on UHF channel 20 (now a Fox affiliate on channel 13 operating under a different license). After three decades, Putnam decided to retire from broadcasting by selling his company and its three stations (WWLP, KSTU, and WKEF in Dayton, Ohio) to Adams Communications in 1984. Adams ran into financial trouble and began breaking up the Springfield Television group in 1987 with the sale of KSTU to MWT Ltd. Adams sold WKEF to KT Communications in 1989 before selling WWLP to Paul Brisette (a former Adams Vice President) in January 1994.

However, Brisette himself ran into trouble and sold all of his stations to Benedek Broadcasting at the end of 1995. LIN TV Corporation acquired WWLP in early 2001 by swapping KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas and WOWT-TV in Omaha, Nebraska to Benedek. This was a result of Chronicle Broadcasting, which owned the latter two, being liquidated. The sale could be seen as the ultimate undoing for Benedek, which in 2002 declared bankruptcy and sold most of their stations (including WOWT and KAKE) to Gray Television. Back in early-2000, the station's studios and offices moved from their original home in Feeding Hills to their current home in Chicopee. However, its transmitter was not moved. Shortly after the change, then-pending owner LIN TV constructed an addition at WWLP's new studios which became a master control hub for their stations in the Northeast. At this location, room for future expansion was made in the event LIN TV expanded their Northeast properties. LIN TV stations that have master control located at the Chicopee facilities include: WTNH, WCTX, WPRI-TV, and WNAC-TV.

The station was known for producing As Schools Match Wits, one of the longest running high school quiz programs in the United States. The program first came on the air in October 1961. In September 2006, the show was canceled because of the costs associated with new FCC requiring all programming to be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. The show returned to the air in January 2007, but on the area's PBS affiliate WGBY-TV and based at Westfield State College. On May 18, 2007, LIN TV announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives including the sale of the company. WWLP-TV planned to drop its analog signal on Feb. 17, 2009 but was ordered by the Federal Communications Commission to continue transmitting emergency bulletins, local news broadcasts and information on the digital transition on its analog channel for an additional sixty days.[1] WWLP continued digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number, 11,[2] using PSIP to display WWLP's virtual channel as 22.

News operation

[2][3]WWLP's news open seen weeknights at 5:30From the 1970s until 1995, WWLP's newscasts were known as NewsCenter 22. After that, the title changed to 22 News. The station has traditionally had the most watched newscasts in the market. This has been achieved by beating ABC affiliate WGGB-TV in the ratings (most of the time) since both stations went on the air. There have been some brief periods when WGGB was on top and there have also been extended periods in which the stations were basically neck-and-neck with WWLP having a slight edge. However, WWLP has consistently outpaced WGGB ever since Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired that station in 1998 with a sizable margin in WWLP's favor for most shows.

WGGB recently become locally owned (bought by John J. Gormally who publishes the Business West magazine), so there was a chance the ratings could change. However, as of the July 2008 sweeps period, WWLP continues its dominance. The long term ratings ramifications of CBS affiliate WSHM-LP, which started to produce local newscasts in October 2005, remain to be seen.

In addition to their main studios, WWLP operates two news bureaus. The Hampshire County Bureau is located in Northampton and the Franklin County Bureau is located in Greenfield. WHDH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Boston, shares its resources with WWLP for news coverage of eastern Massachusetts. WWLP does the same for news from western areas of the state. Although WWLP operates its own weather radar at their transmitter site, it is not seen on-air or online. During weather segments, they do use live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites presented on-screen known as "ESP Live Doppler" (with "ESP" meaning Exclusive Storm Prediction). The station uses the "Tower V.3" news music package from 615 Music. WWLP never offered NBC Weather Plus. Their weekday Noon news is now an hour long.

Newscast titles

  • The Big News (1960s)
  • NewsCenter 22 (1970s-1995)
  • 22 News (1995–present)

Station slogans

  • The News Leader (1986–2001, news)
  • Working For You (1995–present, general)

News team

Anchors

  • Jackie Brousseau - weekday mornings and reporter
  • Rich Tettemer - weekday mornings and noon
  • Elysia Rodriguez - weeknights at 5 and 6
  • Barry Kriger - weeknights at 5:30, 6, and 11
  • Laura Hutchinson - weekends and reporter
    • 22 News inFocus host
  • Ashley Sattler - Mass Appeal host
  • Nate Luscombe - Mass Appeal host

22 News Storm Team Meteorologists

  • Brian Lapis (NWA Seal of Approval) - weeknights
  • Ashley Baylor - weekday mornings and noon
  • Adam Strzempko - weekends

Sports

  • Ryan Walsh - weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Champ Kind - weekend evenings

Reporters

  • Sy Becker - "Sy’s Look at the Movies" segment producer and occasional general assignment
  • Shane Symolon - Franklin County Bureau
  • Jackie Bruno - Hampshire County Bureau
  • Nancy Dell - registered dietitian
  • Jacquline Jing - weekday mornings
  • Elysia Rodriguez
  • Shannon Halligan
  • Joyce Ogirri
  • Lynn Barry

Notable previous staff

References

  1. ^ http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/western_mass_television_statio.html?category=Chicopee&category=Springfield
  2. ^ CDBS Print

External links

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