WICU-TV, channel 12, is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA. WICU-TV is owned by the SJL Broadcasting, which also operates CBS affiliate WSEE-TV(channel 35) and its CW subchannel (owned by Lilly Broadcasting, LLC) through a local marketing agreement. The two stations share studios on State Street in downtown Erie.Syndicated programming on WICU includes Two and a Half Men, Rachael Ray, Oprah, and The People's Court.
|Branding||WICU 12 (general)
WICU 12 News The CW Erie (on DT2) WSEE (on DT3)
Can Count On
|Channels||Digital: 12 (VHF) &|
|Owner||SJL Broadcasting, Inc.
(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)|
|Transmitter power||5.4 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||42°3′50″N 80°0′21″W|
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.
|12.1||1080i||16:9||main WICU-TV programming / NBC HD|
|12.2||480i||4:3||WSEE-DT2 "The CW Erie"|
|12.3||480i||4:3||WSEE programming / CBS SD|
WICU began broadcasting in Erie on March 15, 1949  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. 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.
The station was a major beneficiary of a quirk in the FCC's plan for allocating stations.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 andWheeling/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 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 channel 12 until his death in 1987. 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. 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. This transaction was then authorized by the FCC.
In 2002, the station became the senior partner in a local marketing agreement with WSEE. 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.
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. 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.
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.
- The World Tonight (1949–1953)
- WICU Television News (1953–1964)
- ICU News (1964–1987)
- NewsCenter 12 (1987–1997)
- 12 News (1997–2015)
- Erie News Now (2015-present)
- "WICU: We've been #1 since before You were born!" (1971-1977)
- "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)
- "We're TV-12, Just Watch Us Now" (1982–1983, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- "TV-12 There, Be There!" (1983-1984, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- "TV-12, Let's All Be There" (1984–1986, 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)
- +Kara Coleman - weekday mornings and weekday morning weather
- +Mark Soliday - weekday mornings
- Emily Matson - weeknights at 11
- +Kevin MacDowell - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11
- Amanda Post - weekdays at 12:30 and weeknights at 5 and 6
- Lisa Adams - weekends
FutureTrack 3D: Live Meteorologists
- Rob Wilson (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief meteorologist seen weeknights
- Kara Coleman- weekday mornings
- Julie Coates - weekdays at 12:30
- Mike Ruzzi - weeknights at 6 and 11
- Jay Puskar - weekends
- Tim Mello- sports reporter
- Kara Coleman - weekday mornings
- Paul Wagner - weeknights
- John Rupolo - nightly
- Vanessa Herring
- John Last
- Lisa Weismann
- Scott Bremner
- Scott McDonnell
- Jamison Hixenbaugh
- Liz Crawford
- Tim Mello
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 WIIC (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, died 2010
- ^ TV Query, Video Division, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- ^ Call Sign History, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- ^ Postwar Television
- ^ About SJL Broadcast Management Corporation
- ^ Broadcast and Cable Magazine, 18 September 2000
- ^ PR News Wire, 29 September 2005
- ^ Note that SJL has obvious links to Montecito Broadcast Group, but URLs for Montecito no longer function. See SJL Host to see linkage and lack of function of Montecito URL.
- ^ Correspondence, Federal Communication Commission
- ^ Public Notice Comment, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- ^ FCC authorization
- ^ About SJL Broadcast Management Corp
- ^ Biography of Walter W. Ward says Ward works with WICU-TV and WSEE-TV (LMA).
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ WICU-TV Television Services
- ^ Tom Kleinschmidt's Video and Audio Collection