WAGM-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Northern Maine, United States and Western New Brunswick, Canada that is licensed to Presque Isle, Maine. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter on the North Peak of Mars Hill Mountain in Mars Hill. The station can also be seen on Time Warner channel 4 and in high definition on digital channel 508. Locally-owned, WAGM has studios on Brewer Road in Presque Isle. Syndicated programming on the station includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Inside Edition, and Oprah. The channel signs-off every night.
It operates the area's standard definition Fox affiliate on its first digital subchannel. Known on-air as Fox 8, this is also offered on Time Warner channel 12. Syndicated programming on WAGM-DT1 includes: Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Extra and Judge Joe Brown. Although the main signal from CBS is on WAGM's second digital subchannel, it still offers some network programming in high definition although only providing Dolby 2.0 sound.
|8.1||480i||4:3||WAGM-DT1 "Fox 8"|
|8.2||1080i||16:9||main WAGM programming/CBS HD|
In addition to the main signal, WAGM operates two analog repeaters and has a construction permit for a digital translator. W11AA also serves Edmundston in Canada while W11AY has a construction permit to air a low-powered digital signal. WAGM continues to state W02AU, W02BB, and W12BE at sign-on and sign-off despite the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) no longer having any records of them existing.
|Call letters||Channel||City of licensed||Licensee|
|W11AY||11||St. John||the town|
|W16DA-D||16||Fort Kent||NEPSK, Inc.|
WAGM-TV first started broadcasting on October 13, 1956 and was owned by the same company as WAGM-AM 950. The radio station was sold-off in the late-1970s and changed its calls to WKZX in mid-1981 before going dark in the late-1980s. The radio station building still exists but appears abandoned while three transmitter towers nearby were taken down sometime in the early-1990s. WAGM-TV was affiliated with the big three networks allowing it to pick and choose the most popular programs for its prime time lineup. However, it has always been a primary CBS affiliate.
By the 1980s, the station began phasing out secondary affiliations with ABC and NBC. By 1990, WAGM carried the entire CBS prime time lineup with other network programs airing nightly between 7 and 8. When Fox gained rights to the NFL's National Football Conference games in the mid-1990s, WAGM aired them as well. This made it the only station in the United States to air programs from all four major networks at the same time. It also aired some UPN programs from the late-1990s until the network's closure on September 18, 2006.
Given the increased availability of cable and satellite television in rural Aroostook County, the necessity to carry programming from multiple networks decreased. WAGM's owner operates Polaris Cable which provides cable services to several Maine towns in Aroostook County. WAGM dropped ABC completely in 1998 and the last NBC show to air on the station was Days of our Lives which disappeared from the schedule in September 2005. KXGN-TV in Glendive, Montana would become the only remaining television station in the United States that was affiliated with more than one big three network on a single feed as a dual CBS/NBC affiliate (it would eventually drop NBC in September 2009). Today, WLBZ and WVII-TV from Bangor serve as the de-facto NBC and ABC affiliates on cable. Many of the stations over the Canadian border in Edmundston also serve Aroostook County.
On September 12, 2006 preceding the shutdown of Fox's national Foxnet service, which provided the area's only access to the network on cable, WAGM launched a Fox affiliate on its primary digital subchannel to replace it. This resulted in the main signal moving to a new second subchannel. Such a placement is generally uncommon as most broadcasters number the signal equivalent to their analog signal as minor channel 1 and number other subchannels with higher minor channel numbers. This is a similar situation with NBC affiliate WGBC in Meridian, Mississippi which also moved its original affiliation to a new second digital subchannel so that its main signal could join Fox and the Retro Television Network (RTV). On November 15, 2007, WAGM created a new separate website for its Fox channel. The layout was similar to stations that are owned-and-operated by the network. However, this has since been abandoned. At one point there, had been a high definition signal of WAGM-DT1 on Time Warner digital channel 508. This has since switched to airing the main signal of WAGM.
The station's digital broadcast had been on UHF channel 16. WAGM applied for 10 kW digital ERP and returned to VHF channel 8 after the 2009 U.S. digital transition on June 12. Its signal can be seen across Northern Maine and Western New Brunswick in Canada. Prior to moving its transmitter site to Mars Hill Mountain in 1999, WAGM used a tower located behind the station's studios. The move placing the antenna at a much higher point greatly improved reception of the signal. WAGM is seen on cable throughout Northwestern New Brunswick towns such as Woodstock, Grand Falls, and Edmundston. The station was available to a greater extent in Canada such as Fredericton until the advent of satellite-delivered American broadcast stations on Cancom in the early 1990s. WAGM can be picked up over-the-air a few miles outside of Fredericton city limits in communities such as Keswick Ridge.
As for national programming, WAGM airs the complete CBS schedule (aside from CBS News Up to the Minute) and signs off every night. During the fall potato harvest (potatoes being the most important industry in the region) the annual Potato Picker's Special is aired from 4:30 to 6 in the morning for six days a week on WAGM. The program announces details from area farmers with regards to the harvest. A local version of The Dollar Saver Show, known on WAGM as Dollar Stretcher Show, also airs. The format originated by WPME and WPXT in Portland mostly sells discounted certificates for area businesses available via a toll-free phone number. At Midnight on June 12, WAGM signed-off its analog channel 8 and digital channel 16 for the final time. The next day, the station signed-on a new more powerful digital signal on channel 8.
News open seen weeknights at 6.WAGM's NewsSource 8 broadcasts have routinely ranked as the highest-rated local newscasts in the United States based on market share. The station has quite a large area to cover but its primary market is Aroostook County which is about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Given the station's transmitter location in close proximity to Canada, it also covers news and weather in Western New Brunswick to serve viewers there.
The small market nature of WAGM tends to result in high employee turnover. Nevertheless, a few personnel have been with the station for more than a few years. This includes Sports Director Rene Cloukey, News Director Jon Gulliver, and weeknight anchor Shawn Cunningham. Another long-lasting employee no longer with the station is former News Director Sue Bernard. Former WVII meteorologist Ted Shaprio is now employed at WAGM as Chief Meteorologist. He was ousted from that channel when the station cut its weather department and outsourced to AccuWeather in State College, Pennsylvania. Ironically, WAGM uses AccuWeather's CinemaLive weather graphics system in forecast segments.
Starting September 12, 2006, it began producing a prime time newscast on weeknights for WAGM-DT1 known as NewsSource 8 at 10. At one point, that channel had also re-aired the main station's weekday morning show originally at 8 and then 9 in the morning. This was eventually dropped. Effective April 11, 2009 due to decrease in sponsorship, increased pre-emptions from network coverage of sports, and financial reasons, WAGM stopped airing its Saturday night news at 6. However in late-September 2010, this was brought back and now airs on WAGM-DT1 along with a new prime time show at 10. Unlike most CBS affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, the station does not air local news during the week for a full two hours in the morning, midday, or 5 at night.
The Big Switchback
WAGM will Switchback from Fox Back to CBS and Fox will have it's Own Channel but with a different channel number on WMNB "Fox Borderland" Channel 25 in Presque Isle, Maine and CKNB Channel 7 in Woodstock, New Brunswick on September 2012. and Also on September 2012, "Fox Borderland" is launching their own newscast called "Fox News Borderland" which will air 7 Days a week at 10pm.
- Dick Palm - weekday morning news anchor and reporter
- Jon Gulliver - News Director seen weeknights at 5:30 and 6
- Shawn Cunningham - weeknight news anchor at 10 and 11
- reporter and "Medical Mondays" segment producer
- Laura Thomas - Saturday news anchor and reporter
- Randi Nissenbaum - reporter and fill-in news anchor
- Ted Shapiro (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist seen weeknights
- Kelly O'Mara - weekday morning weather anchor and news reporter
- Rene Cloukey - Assistant News Director and Sports Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
- Chris Weimer - Saturday sports anchor and news reporter
- Norman Johnson - Vice President and General Manager
- now retired
- Sue Bernard - News Director
- Kevin Mannix - then known as Kevin W. Mannix
- Rob Nucatola - now at WCTV
- Amy Katcher - now at WDEF-TV
- Gene Petriello - Saturday sports anchor and reporter
- now at WWBT
- Brian Yocono - now at WCSH and seen on WLBZ
- Marsha MacEachern - now reporter at NECN
- Brian Whitley - out of television
- Tony Mignon - out of television
- now employed by the National Weather Service
- Julia Dunn - reporter
- now at WFFF-TV
- Julene Britt - whereabouts unknown
- was at WGME in early-2000
- Katie Graham - weeknight 6 and 11 o'clock anchor
- now reporter at WETM-TV
- Samantha Hensell - Chief Meteorologist
- now Chief Meteorologist at WIVT
- Jaimarie Ely - reporter
- now at WFFF-TV
- Aurel Daigle engineer for decades, deceased
- Kara Laurtisen - weekday morning meteorologist and reporter
- Gemma Waite - now VP Marketing and Public Relations at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
- Jeremy Desel- anchor and reporter
- now at KHOU-TV and National Trustee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
- Ben Murphy
- Patricia Lawrence
- Angela DiMillo - reporter
- now at WABI
- Tyler Pyburn - fill-in sports anchor and sports reporter