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WICZ-TV, virtual channel 40 (VHF digital channel 8), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Binghamton, New York, United States, serving the Eastern Twin Tiers of Southern Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Owned by Atlanta-based Cox Media Group, it is a sister station to low-powered MyNetworkTV affiliate WBPN-LP, analog channel 10 (which is simulcast in high definition on WICZ's second digital subchannel). The two stations share studios on Vestal Parkway East (NY 434) in Vestal; WICZ-TV's transmitter is located on Ingraham Hill Road in the town of Binghamton. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 3 in both standard and high definition.

WICZ-TV
Binghamton, New York
Branding Fox 40 (general)
Fox 40 News
My 8 (on DT2)
Channels Digital: 8 (UHF) Virtual: 40 (PSIP)
Affiliations 40.1: Fox (secondary, 1995–1996)
40.2: MyNetworkTV
40.3: Ion Television
Owner Cox Media Group
Licensee Stainless Broadcasting, L.P.
First air date November 1, 1957
Former call signs WINR-TV (1957–1971)
Call letters' meaning Henry Guze WICZ (former owner)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
40 (UHF, 1957–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1957–1996)
Secondary:
ABC (1957–1962)
UPN (c. 1999–2000)
Transmitter power 873 kW
Height 371 m (1,217 ft)
369.8 m (1,213 ft) (CP)
Facility ID 62210
Transmitter coordinates [1]
Website www.wicz.com

History

The station signed on November 1, 1957 as WINR-TV, the area's second television station, and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 40. The station was originally owned by the Gannett Company (which purchased the station just before its launch) along with WINR radio (680 AM) and the Binghamton Press. WINR-TV was primarily an NBC affiliate, though it also carried some ABC programming before WBJA-TV (channel 34, now WIVT) went on the air in 1962.[1] Broadcast tower manufacturer Stainless, Inc. acquired WINR-TV in 1971[2] and changed its call letters to WICZ-TV[3] (named for company owner Henry Guzewicz).[4] That fall, the station moved to an 870-foot (270 m) tower on Ingraham Hill;[5] it had previously shared a transmitter location with WINR radio.[4]

In November 1995, WICZ-TV announced it would be dropping its NBC affiliation and switching to Fox; the station stated that the switch would allow it to expand its news programming.[6] WICZ already had a secondary affiliation with Fox to carry Fox Kids,[6] which resulted in the station beginning to preempt much of NBC's programming (especially its daytime soap operas). Prior to the station's affiliation with Fox, the network's two closest over-the-air affiliates were Syracuse affiliate WSYT and Scranton affiliate WOLF-TV, neither of which had a strong signal to cover the city of Binghamton proper owing to the area's rugged terrain. The majority of Fox's programming was only available on cable via Foxnet, WOLF-TV, or New York City owned-and-operated station WNYW, depending on the location.[6] The affiliation change took place April 4, 1996, after WICZ's contract with NBC expired.[6] NBC programming was then seen on cable via a localized version of Elmira's WETM-TV;[7] the network regained an over-the-air affiliate in Binghamton a year later when WETM's owners, Smith Broadcasting, purchased WBGH-LP (channel 8, now WBGH-CD channel 20) and made it a semi-satellite of WETM.[8]

Stainless, whose holdings by this point included its tower manufacturing business, WICZ-TV, and KTVZ in Bend, Oregon, was sold to Northwest Broadcasting for $17 million in 1997.[9][10] Though Northwest would sell the Stainless tower company to SpectraSite Holdings in 1999,[11] it still owns WICZ under the Stainless Broadcasting name to this day. During the late 1990s, WICZ added a secondary affiliation with UPN;[12] in 2000, Northwest bought W10CO (channel 10), changed its call letters to WBPN-LP, and moved UPN programming there.[13]

On September 16, 2013, it was announced that Mission Broadcasting would acquire WICZ-TV and WBPN-LP from Stainless Broadcasting. Upon the deal's completion, the stations' operations would have been taken over by Nexstar Broadcasting Group, making them sister stations to WIVT and WBGH-CA.[14] Stainless withdrew the license assignment application on March 18, 2015, following the deal's cancellation.[15]

News operation

Since switching networks, WICZ has consistently maintained lower viewership than rival CBS outlet WBNG-TV and remains ranked at second, but that gap has closed slightly in recent years. The big three affiliate has always been a ratings powerhouse in Binghamton. For the most part, WIVT has always been a non-factor in the local newscast race. The ABC outlet has spent most of its history as the third station in what was originally a two-station market (since WIVT did not sign-on until November 1962) and virtually gained no benefit when WICZ joined Fox.

On Memorial Day in 2009, in an attempt to increase its presence against WBNG, WICZ added a thirty-minute newscast weeknights at 6 joining their flagship nightly prime time broadcast at 10. WBNG already established a weeknight newscast in the prime time slot airing on its CW second digital subchannel. The prime time newscast on WBNG-DT2 would eventually be expanded to weekends at some point in time.

On June 5, 2009, there was an increase in viewership on WICZ (and to a larger extent on WBNG) when WIVT announced its plans to consolidate news operations with WETM-TV in Elmira. WIVT eventually began simulcasting some of WETM's newscasts featuring regional weather coverage but not a full news focus of the Eastern Twin Tiers region. A separate, taped newscast specifically covering the Binghamton area was subsequently brought back to WIVT on June 28. On August 19, 2012, WICZ became the market's first television station to upgrade local news production to high definition level. The transition included a new on-air look with state-of-the-art graphics and updated set design.

Newscast titles

  • Six O'Clock Report/Eleven O'Clock Report
  • News Central 40
  • Eyewitness News
  • WINR-TV News
  • Channel 40 News
  • News 40
  • NewsTeam 40
  • Fox 40 News (?–present)

Station slogans

  • Come on Home to TV-40 (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Life Begins at 40 (1988-?)
  • Leading the Way

News team

References

  1. "WINR-TV Goes on Air Friday" (PDF). Broadcasting: p. 82. November 4, 1957. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  2. "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting: p. 37. March 8, 1971. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  3. "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting: p. 60. January 11, 1971. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fybush, Scott (December 3, 2004). "Binghamton's Ingraham Hill Revisited". Tower Site of the Week. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  5. "More muscle for WICZ-TV" (PDF). Broadcasting: p. 54. October 11, 1971. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Flint, Joe (November 26, 1995). "Fox Lures WICZ From Peacock Nest". Variety. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  7. Ross, Chuck (April 22, 1996). "TV STATION HOOKS UP WITH CABLE OUTLET; NEW YORK'S WETM CRAFTS LOCAL MARKETING AGREEMENT". Advertising Age. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  8. Fybush, Scott (September 11, 1997). "Fire at WVIP". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  9. Kanaley, Reid (May 18, 1997). "Digital TV: It's A High-Tower Act". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 4, 2015. "…Stainless, which owns UHF stations in Binghamton, N.Y., and Bend, Ore., is being sold to a Detroit-based partnership, Northwest Broadcasting, said Stainless counsel James J. Heffernan of Plymouth Meeting. He said the deal is worth $17 million." 
  10. "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable: p. 38. May 19, 1997. Retrieved December 4, 2015. 
  11. "SpectraSite Holdings, Inc. Form 8-K" (TXT). Securities and Exchange Commission. January 21, 2000. Retrieved December 4, 2015. 
  12. "UPN Affiliate Stations (New York)". Archived from the original on May 8, 1999. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  13. Kucinski, Carla (August 17, 2000). "New Tier TV station bulks up with pro wrestling". Press & Sun-Bulletin: p. B8. Retrieved December 20, 2015.  (preview of subscription content)
  14. Malone, Michael (September 16, 2013). "Nexstar to Acquire Citadel's Iowa Stations for $88 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  15. Corbett, Dennis P. (March 18, 2015). "Re: Withdrawal of File Nos. BALCDT-20130927A11G, BALTVL-20130927AHH, and BAPDTL-20130927AH1" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 

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