WRGB, channel 6, is a television station located in Schenectady, New York, USA. WRGB is owned by Freedom Communications, and is the CBS affiliate for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy television market. The station shares its studio and office facility with co-owned WCWN(channel 45) in Niskayuna, New York, and its transmitter is located in an unincorporated area of the town of New Scotland, New York.
|Schenectady/Albany/Troy, New York|
|Branding||CBS 6 (general)
CBS 6 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Asking Tough Questions.
Holding Officials Accountable.
|Channels||Digital: 6 (VHF)Virtual: 6 (PSIP)|
|Subchannels||6.1 CBS6.2 TBD)|
|Translators||19 (UHF) Pittsfield, MA24 (UHF) Kingston39 (UHF) Glens Falls(construction permits)|
(Freedom Broadcasting of New York Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||February 26, 1942 (originally experimental W2XB 1928-1942)|
|Call letters' meaning||Walter R.'G.'Baker(GE engineer and head ofNTSC)|
|Former callsigns||W2XB (1928-1942)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1928-1954) 6 (VHF, 1954-2009) Digital: 39 (UHF, 2003-2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1942-1981)ABC(secondary, 1949-1954)DuMont (secondary, 1946-1954)|
|Transmitter power||30.2 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||42°37′31″N 74°0′38″W|
WRGB is most notable for being among the first experimental television stations in the world with the station beginning experimental broadcasts in 1928. It would later become one of a handful of television stations licensed for commercial operation before the end of World War II.
The station launched the TV career of syndicated TV chef Mr. Food in 1975. More recently in the 1990s, the station also launched the television career of Rachael Ray, who started the "30 Minute Meals" segment on WRGB's newscasts once a week before moving on to Food Network and, eventually, a nationally syndicated daytime talk show.
The station's signal is multiplexed.
Additionally, WRGB's main programming can be found as a subchannel on WCWN.
1928 to 1942
WRGB claims to be the world's first television station. It traces its roots to an experimental station founded on January 13, 1928 from theGeneral Electric facility under the call letters W2XB on channel 4. It was popularly known as "WGY Television" after its sister radio station (though WMAK, the predecessor of modern station WBEN in Buffalo also had partial control of the station, which was relinquished shortly after the station signed on). In 1939, it began sharing programs with W2XBS (forerunner of WNBC-TV) in New York City, becoming NBC's first television affiliate. That link would last for 42 years. The station initially broadcast on 790 kHz from a 380-meter antenna. The station also broadcast on the frequency of 379.5 MHz, with 24 vertical lines of resolution and 21 frames per second. Its call-sign was changed to W2XADrather quickly in 1928 and moved to 31.4 MHz. Towards December 1928, the station would receive yet another change and upgrade with its call letters becoming W2XAF, keeping its frequency, frame rate and vertical lines.
Later on, the station received a further upgrade to broadcast 48 lines at 20 frames per second, with the call sign of W2XB on 2.1-2.2 MHz. In 1941, the station moved into a state-of-the-art studio on Washington Avenue in Schenectady. It was the first building in the nation specifically designed for television. On February 26, 1942, W2XB received a commercial license as WRGB, the fourth in the nation and only the second one outside of New York City. By then, it was operating on the VHF band with modern 525-line resolution and FM sound on a frequency of 66 to 72 MHz (then known as Channel 3, but redesignated Channel 4 after the Second World War).
1942 to present
Several years later, WRGB took on secondary affiliations with the three other networks in operation (CBS, ABC, and DuMont). In 1954, it moved from channel 4 to its current position on channel 6 to alleviate interference from WNBC-TV (then known as WRCA-TV) and Boston's WBZ-TV, and increased its radiated power approximately fourfold to 93,000 watts. WRGB dropped its secondary affiliations when WCDA (now WTEN) and WTRI (now WNYT) took the CBS and ABC affiliations respectively. In 1957, channel 6 moved to its current studio on Balltown Road in Niskayuna.
The longest-running locally-produced children's television show, Freihofer's "Breadtime Stories" was broadcast on the station starting November 21, 1949. WRGB produced two of the longest-running locally-produced programs in television history: a quiz show called Answers Please and a bowling program entitled TV Tournament Time. After the cancellation of both by the late-1980s, WRGB's local programming has been variable and erratic ranging from a local home shopping show to a weekly video countdown done with Top 40 stations WFLY and (later) WKKF. On September 28, 1981, WRGB swapped affiliations with WAST (now WNYT) and became a CBS affiliate. Two years later, 55 years of General Electric ownership ended when it sold WRGB to Unicom Inc., a unit of Forstmann Little.
Only three years later, Unicom sold WRGB to its current owner, Freedom Communications. In 1987, WRGB was awarded the "Broadcast Pioneers Golden Mike Award" and shortly thereafter was awarded a "Presidential Citation" by Ronald Reagan. WRGB changed its on-air name to "CBS 6" in October 2004 after decades of being known as either "TV 6" or "Channel 6" (most noticeably known as being NewsCenter 6 for the late 20th century). Since then, channel 6 has almost never used its call letters on-air, except during legal IDs. WRGB is carried on cable as far north as Long Lake as well as several other Adirondack cable systems.
In September 2003, WRGB-DT (UHF channel 39) became the first full-market digital signal to sign on in the Albany region. Around December 2007, WRGB and WCWN became the first television stations in the Capital District that upgraded to high definition time delay and rebroadcast capability, and high definition local broadcasts. This allows broadcasting of syndicated shows in high definition.
On June 12, 2009, WRGB ceased analog transmissions on VHF channel 6 as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station had been broadcasting a digital signal on channel 39 prior to then but moved back to channel 6 for its post-transition operations.
WRGB's former analog TV signal used an FM audio carrier which could be heard on 87.75 FM in most areas the video signal could be received (and some that it could not); the same was true of all analog channel 6 television stations in North America. However, this analog FM carrier no longer exists for full-powered stations after the June 12, 2009, conversion to digital, but still exists for low-power television stations (see Pulse 87 for an example).
As WRGB has returned to channel 6, it has proposed an unconventional approach, by which it has requested to operate an analog FM radio transmitter at one edge of its digital TV allocation, using vertical polarization to retain compatibility with standard broadcast radio receivers. According to WRGB's site, "We hope that the FCC will allow us to continue to operate on 87.7. We are building a unique transmitter for 87.7 that can operate simultaneously with our DTV signal on channel 6. TV transmissions always use horizontal antennas. Our new 87.7 transmitter will be vertically polarized. The use of vertical polarization for 87.7 will allow reception of our audio in a car radio or any other FM radio with a whip type antenna. "
WRGB is the only full-power station to propose such a solution; no other full-power TV broadcasters broadcast on channel 6 in New York state, either analog or digital. WPVI inPhiladelphia, the nearest full-power channel 6, has expressed an interest in the technology, though it is concerned about rights issues.
The station received an experimental special temporary authorization from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow it to test the system. It had to turn off the FM transmitter when it caused RF interference with the digital TV signal.
On July 7, WRGB returned to the radio with a frequency change to 87.9 FM, without explicit FCC authorization. Less than two months later, on August 24, the FCC ordered WRGB to turn off the 87.9 transmitter. Currently, the only two stations licensed by the FCC to use 87.9 are KSFH and K200AA. WITI, another former analog Channel 6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, restored its radio audio via a content agreement with Clear Channel Communications, which placed that station's audio on the HD Radio subchannel of WMIL-FM, and it is possible WRGB could consider this venue to restore the service.
Station's power boost and proposed translators
As noted above, on June 12, 2009, WRGB became a digital only station. The station vacated their pre-transition channel 39 and moved their digital operations to their pre-analog allotment VHF-low channel 6. Since the digital transition, some viewers in the Capital District had receptions issues with the WRGB's signal. So WRGB boosted their power twice. Once back in July 2009 at the power level of 11.5 kW with an interference agreement with WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, & WEDY in New Haven, Connecticut. And in late January 2010, the FCC granted an STA for WRGB to boost their power again at their current level of 30.2 kW. An application was filed back in June 2009 to operate at the current level on a permanent basis. That application was granted on March 16, 2011.
WRGB has also filed applications for three digital replacement translators to fill-in some of the coverage-loss areas, which have all been granted construction permits. One will be inGlens Falls on the station's pre-transition digital allotment on UHF Channel 39. Another one will be in Kingston on UHF Channel 24. And the last one will be in Pittsfield on UHF Channel 19. At this time, no word on when those repeaters become operational.
WNYA and WCWN involvement
In April 2003, WRGB signed a joint sales agreement with the area's fledgling UPN affiliate WNYA several months prior to that station's sign-on in September. Under the agreement, WRGB handled advertising sales for WNYA and shared syndicated programming with the station. The agreement, originally set to expire at the end of August 2006, it was extended to expire at the end of 2008, but was then terminated in February 2007. Since September 5, 2006, WNYA has been the area's MyNetworkTV affiliate.
On June 19, 2006, Freedom Communications announced the purchase of current CW affiliate WCWN from Tribune Broadcasting for $17 million. This purchase was finalized on December 6, 2006, giving the Capital Region market its first duopoly. Until the end of the JSA with WNYA, WRGB had control of three stations in the market.
Providence Equity Partners owns a controlling stake in Newport Television (formerly Clear Channel Communications' television division), the owner of local Fox affiliate WXXA. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission granted conditional approval of the deal in late-November 2007, provided that Providence Equity Partners would follow through with its planned divestiture of its 16 percent share of Freedom Communications to another company (as required when Providence Equity Partners purchased a minority stake in the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision earlier in 2007) as soon as the deal was finalized. Freedom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2009, emerging in April 2010. At that point, Providence Equity Partners relinquished its stake in Freedom Communications, making its purchase of WXXA legitimate.
During past airings of the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, WNYA took on the responsibility of airing WRGB's local and network lineup. This role has since shifted to WCWN, which also airs CBS' coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship.
From April 2003 until mid-2004, WNYA aired replays of WRGB's weekday noon show at 1, weeknight 11 o'clock news at 11:35, and this station's former public affairs program Sunday Morning with Liz Bishop. On April 17, 2006, it was announced that WNYA would begin airing an hour long extension of WRGB's weekday morning newscast at 7 known (at the time) as CBS 6 First News on UPN Capital Region. This could be seen as a pre-emptive move by WRGB to fend off a challenge by WXXA who had announced their plans to launch weekday morning news two weeks earlier. Rumors of WRGB producing a 10 p.m. broadcast on WNYA had circulated as well. However, the pickup of a second run ofDr. Phil to air at that hour killed the rumors. At the start of 2007, the news on WNYA moved to WCWN (because that station had higher ratings overall) becoming CBS 6 First News on The Capital Region's CW.For many years, WRGB was the dominant news station in the Capital District. Its newscasts were anchored for many years by the venerable Ernie Tetrault (who was immortalized in the 1992 film Sneakers directed by one-time WRGB intern Phil Alden Robinson). After Tetrault's retirement in 1993, the station was quickly eclipsed by WNYT and for several years in the mid-1990s fell to third place. For the most part, the station has stabilized at a steady second place although for a period in the early-2000s it fell back to third.
In 2007 and 2008, WCWN aired WRGB's 11 o'clock news during CBS's coverage of the NCAA March Madness Basketball. On January 13, 2008, it began producing its newscasts inhigh definition becoming first in the market to do so. This was exactly 80 years to the date after its first experimental broadcasts. The WCWN broadcast was upgraded the next day. After becoming a sister station, it was rumored that WCWN would add a WRGB-produced 10 p.m. broadcast to challenge WXXA's long time dominance at that hour. This became a reality on September 24 when WRGB launched a weeknight 10 minute block in high definition featuring the top stories of the day along with an updated weather forecast. Accordingly, it was known as The CBS 6 News 10 at 10. The success of the 10 minute newscast resulted in the expansion to a full 30 minute newscast in October 2010, currently anchored by Dori Marlin andJerry Gretzinger.
WRGB delays the weeknight broadcast of the CBS Evening News until 7 in favor of an extra half hour of local news. In addition to their main studios, it operates an Albany Bureau at One Commerce Plaza in downtown Albany.
As with its heritage of being the first station in the Capital Region, WRGB has had several firsts in the weather field given the unpredictable weather of the Northeast. In February 1996, it became the first Capital District station to put forecasts on the World Wide Web with the launch of a website. A severe weather outbreak in late May 1998 led to further developments in the station's weather coverage. WRGB won an Emmy Award for Chief Meteorologist Steve Lapointe's near-nonstop work over two days which made sure there were no fatalities in the otherwise devastating tornadoes.
In May 1999, the station started "WeatherNet 6" which allows viewers to submit weather observations around the area. The public is allowed to report anything from current conditions to snowfall totals. In 2000, the station became the first in the market to offer a station-owned weather radar known as "Instant Doppler 6" that was installed next to their studios. This exclusive distinction was held until 2004 when WNYT set up its own live radar. In recent times, WTEN and WXXA have also updated their radar outputs to so-called "live" capabilities. They do not own their own radars but decided to re-brand the live NOAA National Weather Service NEXRAD Level II radar data as their own. Data is used from four regional sites in Albany, Binghamton, Montague, and Upton. This government data is also used on WRGB known as "WeatherScan Radar".
This station was the last in the market to bring a degree-holding meteorologist onto its staff not doing so until Freedom's purchase of the station several years after WTEN and WNYT did. On January 6, 2009, veteran meteorologist Neal Estano returned to the area airwaves for his third tour of duty with WRGB. He had worked for the station twice before leaving to pursue new opportunities in Jacksonville, Florida and Baltimore, Maryland.
- The General Electric Newsreel (1928–1942)
- The News at War (1942–1945)
- The Big Newsreel (1945–1954)
- Your Esso Reporter (1954–1960)
- The Television 6 News (1960–1966)
- Total Information News (1966–1976)
- NewsCenter 6 (1976–1998)
- Channel 6 News (1998–2004)
- CBS 6 News (2004–present)
- (Together) TV-6 and You (1978–1981; used during period station used Telesound's "And You")
- The Capitol District's Leading News Station (1978–1986)
- TV-6, Proud As A Peacock (1979-1981: localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Reach for TV-6, and we Reach for the Stars (1981-1982: localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- NewsCenter 6, #1 in the Capitol District (1986–1989)
- Together, We're Making a Difference (1989–1998; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Making a Difference")
- The #1 News in the Capitol District (1989–1998)
- On Your Side (mid 1990s)
- The #1 News Station in the Capitol Region (1998–2000)
- Channel 6 News is Everywhere (2000–2004)
- Breaking News. First Weather. (2004–2008)
- Asking Tough Questions. Holding Officials Accountable. (2008–present)
News music packages
- NBC-TV Radio Newspulse
- And You
- Signature News
- Spirit of 1982
- WRGB 1986 News Theme
- Making A Difference
- The CBS Enforcer Music Collection
- News in Focus
- Ed O'Brien - weekday mornings
- Liz Bishop - weekdays at noon, 5, and 5:30
- Jerry Gretzinger - weeknights at 5, 5:30, and 10 also reporter
- Dori Marlin - weeknights at 6, 10, and 11pm
- Greg Floyd - weeknights at 6 and 11pm also reporter
- TBD - weekend mornings
- Craig Smith - weekends evenings and reporter
CBS 6 Instant Doppler Meteorologists
- Steve LaPointe (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - Chief seen weeknights
- Neal Estano - weekday mornings and noon
- Erik Thorgersen - weekend mornings and fill-in
- Chris Gloninger (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekend evenings
- Doug Sherman - Director seen weeknights at 6, 6:30, and 11
- Kelly O'Donnell - weekend evenings and sports reporter
- Steve Flamisch - State Capitol Correspondent and investigative
- Art Ginsburg - "Mr. Food" segment producer
- Ken Screven - Albany News Chief
- Alexandra Field
- Randy Simons
Paul Dandridge (1968-1972)
Notable former staff
- Marty Aarons (Anchor, 1993–1994) Later held anchor positions at WGRZ in Buffalo and WROC-TV in Rochester
- Jack Aernecke (5 and 5:30 p.m. anchor, also Money Editor) retired
- Ed Dague (Reporter and later co-anchor, 1969–1983) left for WNYT and was the catalyst for that station's current dominance; now the caretaker of the Times-Union's In Media Resblog
- Bill Duffy (Political analyst from 1969 to his sudden death in 1987) Father of former News Director Beau Duffy, from which he resigned on June 22, 2007 and, in turn, father-in-law of Assistant News Director Michelle Nicoll-Duffy
- Tracy Egan (Anchor and reporter for both WRGB and WGY, 1975–79 and 1987–94) Later went to WTEN; now the executive director of the New York State Breeding and Development Fund.
- Brad Holbrook (Evening co-anchor, 1998 to 2001) Later host of BusinessWeek TV, now host of The Onion's satirical news program, "Today Now")
- Morgan Hook (Saturday morning anchor, 2007–2008) now a press aide to New York Governor David Paterson
- Doug Lezette (Original weekend morning anchor, reporter, and later assistant News Director) Now head anchor and news director at WSHM in Springfield, Massachusetts
- Joe Pagliarulo (Evening co-anchor, 2002–2005) now morning host at WOAI radio in San Antonio
- Larry Schwartz (reporter)
- Joanne Purtan (now at WXYZ-TV in Detroit)
- Michelle Smith (News anchor, June 2007-June 2008) Left due to second pregnancy; is the daughter of former radio personality Dick Purtan
- Ernie Tetrault (Main anchor for 42 years, 1951–93) Now known as a commercial pitchman for many businesses in the Albany area; had a small part in the 1992 Robert Redford film,Sneakers)
- Ron Anderson
- Garrett Argianas (Weekend meteorologist during early 2000s) now chief meteorologist at WTIC-TV in Hartford, Connecticut
- Mike Augustyniak, (meteorologist, 1998–2008) now at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
- Kelly (Cass) Boland, (Weekend meteorologist, and later promoted to mornings from 1993–2000) now a key weekend meteorologist at The Weather Channel; she originally started out as a "Weathercaster" at WRGB before becoming a full-fledged meteorologist while at the station.
- Peter Bernard (Weekend weather and weekday Consumer Reporter, 1987–1992) Now at WFLA-TV Tampa.
- John Cessarich (Chief meteorologist, 1987–1991) now chief meteorologist at WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina
- Tom Mailey (Weekday morning meteorologist and earlier host of the "Million Dollar Movie", 1988–2008) Now marketing manager for Stewart's Shops
- Mark Margarit (Weekend meteorologist, 2007–2008) now at WHDH-TV in Boston, MA
- Steve Hammes (Weekend weathercaster and automotive editor, 1994–1999) He continues to host and produce his auto-review franchise "Drive Time" for Yahoo! Autos and Autobytel, Inc. as well as hosting TWTV's "Car Show."
- Scott Stevens (Webmaster of the conspiracy website WeatherWars. Was fired by WRGB in 1995, accused of having fabricated his credentials. He was to go to KPVI-TV inPocatello, Idaho. On September 8, 2005 he revealed to Flashnews.com that the Japanese Yakuza mafia used Russian KGB technology to create Hurricane Katrina in an attempt to manipulate futures markets. He is no longer with KPVI-TV. His website is currently down.)
- Howard Tupper (longtime weatherman and host of the long running Sunday morning bowling show TV Tournament Time; known for his catch phrase "Hi, small fry"); deceased in 1986
- Tim Welch (Weatherman during the 1980s)
- Jim Brennan (Sports anchor for most of the 1980s) Left to anchor at WTEN, now host of the regional PBS program "New York Week in Review")
- John Discepolo (Weekend sports anchor, 1998-1999) Now main news anchor at WPEC in West Palm Beach, FL
- John Graney (Long time Capital District sports talk radio host, was the main sports anchor for a time during the 1990s) Now hosts a sports talk show on WGDJ radio in Albany from his home in Venice, Florida
- Kyle Kraska (Sports reporter, early to mid-1990s) Now main sports reporter at KFMB-TV in San Diego
- Al "Yaffi" Lombardo (Sports anchor during the 1980s; also hosted a sports talk radio show)
- Tim Mack (weekend sports anchor; left in 2008)
- Bob McNamara (Sports reporter from 1966–81, known as the one-time "Dean" of Capital District sports, and the only person to hold on-air position at all three of Albany's VHF stations) retired
- Ric Renner (Sports director, 1994–96) Now host of "Southwest Sports Report" on Fox Sports Net Southwest
- Joe Tessitore (Sports anchor) now at ESPN after a career at WFSB in Hartford, Connecticut
- Dan DiNicola- Feature Reporter/Entertainment Critic/Commentary
- Michelle Marsh - investigative Reporter
- Dick Beach (1931–1997, longtime reporter for WRGB and WGY radio)
- Fred Dicker (Political analyst, better known as the Albany based state editor of the New York Post. Also hosts a daily radio program on WGDJ)
- Tracy Egan (served two separate stints at WRGB, first as a reporter in the mid-1970s, then as lead co-anchor from 1986–91) Most recently seen on the noon news at WTEN
- Shawn Killinger (Morning feature reporter, 2000–2001) later was a contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart
- Sue Nigra (Noon/5:00 p.m. anchor and health reporter, 1998–2006) Her arrival to the station from WTEN was the focus of a key lawsuit on non-compete clauses
- Paul Palmer (News and sports reporter, 1985–1993) Now Producer with ESPN.
- Mary Caroline Powers (Reporter during the 1970s, then co-anchored the Noon news on WTEN) Later worked in public television and as an editor at The Saratogian newspaper
- Judy Sanders (Feature and political reporter, 1981–2006)
- Mary Beth Wenger (reporter, 1981–2008)
- Dr. Alan Chartock (Controversial director of WAMC, was a political analyst until dropped in 1994 at which point he went to WNYT)
- Earle Pudney ( pioneer in Albany area broadcasting, hosted variety programs on WRGB and WGY radio from the 1940s to the 1960s); deceased
- Howard Reig (announcer for WGY radio and WRGB from 1943–1952, later a staff announcer for NBC from 1952 to 2005); deceased
- Roger Rosenbaum (Saratoga News Correspondent from 1986–1990), later an award-winning reporter for WTZA/RNN-TV. Now president of Rosenbaum Mediawww.rosenbaummedia.com a digital communications consulting company.
- ^ "'Breadtime Stories' Head Into 15th Year". Schenectady Gazette: 16 (col 2). November 18, 1964.
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ a b The Mystique of Channel 6, James E. O'Neal, TV Technology, February 26, 2009
- ^ http://www.cbs6albany.com/sections/dtv
- ^ "CBS 6 is back on the radio -- this time on 87.9 FM!".
- ^ "Regarding CBS 6 radio simulcast on 87.9 FM".
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- ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101336178&formid=301&fac_num=73942
- ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101334620&formid=346&fac_num=73942
- ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101361768&formid=346&fac_num=73942
- ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101362901&formid=346&fac_num=73942
- ^ "FCC OK's Clear Channel TV Sale". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
- ^ http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/More-news-is-the-latest-news-708829.php