WJRT-TV, channel 12, (branded as ABC 12) is the ABC-affiliated station for the Flint/Tri-Citiestelevision market. Its studios are located in Flint, Michigan, with offices and a second newsroom for the Tri-Cities located in Saginaw. The station broadcasts with 30 kilowatts of power from a 1,000-foot tower located on Burt Rd (near Bishop Rd) in Albee Township, Michigan. It is owned by SJL Broadcasting. Syndicated programming on WJRT-TV includes Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Live with Regis and Kelly, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, and The Rachael Ray Show. WJRT-TV is the only station in the Flint/Tri-Cities market that is headquartered in the city of Flint, and in turn tends to focus its local news stories on Flint and Genesee County.
|Flint/Saginaw/Bay City, Michigan|
|Branding||ABC 12 (general)
ABC 12 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Trusted Source(news)
Your Weather Source(weather)
|Channels||Digital: 12 (VHF)|
|First air date||October 12, 1958|
|Call letters' meaning||Jewett Radio & Phonograph Co. (original owners) of radio station WJR, in Detroit owned by station's founders (with T added to stand for Television)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
12 (VHF, 1958-2009) Digital: 36 (UHF, until 2009)
|Transmitter power||30 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||43°13′49.5″N 84°3′31.7″W|
- 1 History
- 2 Digital programming
- 3 News operation
- 4 On-air staff
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
- 7 External links
WJRT-TV is the only station in the market to have kept its original affiliation since sign-on. WJRT-TV was founded in 1958 by Goodwill Stations, the owner of WJR in Detroit at the time. That company won out over two other companies seeking to operate channel 12, the Trebit Corp. (which owned WFDF-AM) and W.S. Butterfield Theatres, Inc. Channel 12 initially wanted to place its transmitter in Independence Township, Michigan. When it was learned that Independence Township was located in Oakland County, part of the Detroit television market, Goodwill settled on placing the tower in Albee Township; the transmitter remains there today. Once this was done, WJRT-TV went on the air on October 12, 1958, as an ABC network affiliate. WJRT-TV was the first Michigan television station outside of Detroit to go all-color in 1967. Goodwill Stations took over the formerWTAC-TV studios and offices after that station folded in 1954; WJRT remains there today.
Poole Broadcasting / Knight Ridder and first span under SJL Broadcasting
Goodwill Stations merged with Capital Cities Broadcasting (predecessor of Capital Cities Communications) in 1964, but WJRT-TV was spun off to Poole Broadcasting (owned by John Poole, a former Capital Cities stockholder) because the merged company was one VHF station over the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership limit of the time. In April 1978, WJRT-TV along with the rest of Poole Broadcasting (which included WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island and WTEN in Albany, New York) were sold to Knight Ridder. As soon as the acquisition of Poole Broadcasting was finalized, Knight Ridder made a corporate affiliation deal with ABC; however, WJRT-TV was already affiliated with ABC when Knight Ridder acquired the station. During the late 1980s, Knight Ridder decided to exit broadcasting by selling its stations to separate owners; as a result, WJRT-TV was sold to SJL Broadcast Management in 1989.
During the 1970s WJRT-TV became Mid Michigan's highest rated television station, helped by ABC's ratings improvements during the decade. During the late 1980s and into the 1990s, WJRT-TV was usually second to WNEM-TV.
As an ABC owned and operated station
In 1994, New World Communications signed an affiliation deal with Fox Broadcasting Company, resulting in most of New World's stations switching affiliation to Fox. Among the stations due to switch was WJBK-TV in Detroit, a longtime CBS affiliate. To avoid being consigned to UHF in what was then the ninth-largest market, CBS heavily wooed Detroit's longtime ABC affiliate (and former O&O), WXYZ-TV. WXYZ-TV's owner, E.W. Scripps Company, then told ABC that unless it agreed to affiliate with Scripps-owned stations in four smaller markets, it would switch WXYZ-TV to CBS. As a contingency, ABC approached SJL about buying WJRT-TV and sister station WTVG in Toledo, Ohio. WJRT provides city-grade coverage to parts of Oakland and Macomb counties. The deal closed on August 29, 1995.
Soon after ABC purchased WJRT, the station returned to the top of the Mid-Michigan ratings for primetime, where it remains today. Because Capital Cities spun the station off decades earlier, WJRT-TV was the only ABC station not part of the Capital Cities/ABC merger in 1986. Longtime ABC affiliates KTRK-TV in Houston and WPVI-TV in Philadelphia were part of the merger.
Ironically, when ABC acquired WJRT-TV in 1995, it was reunited with its namesake radio station, WJR. WJR's owner, Capital Cities, had merged with ABC in 1986. And in 2002, WFDF (now a Detroit station), which unsuccessfully sought a channel 12 license in the 1950s, would also become a sister to WJRT-TV when ABC bought the station. However, this reunion was partially broken up, as ABC sold WJR, along with other ABC Radio properties, to Citadel Broadcasting in January, 2006.
Sale back to SJL Broadcasting
On November 3, 2010, Broadcasting & Cable magazine announced that SJL Broadcasting, now owned by the principal owners of Lilly Broadcasting, made an agreement with Disney to buy back WJRT and WTVG, the two smallest stations in ABC's O&O portfolio. SJL teamed up with a new private equity partner, Bain Capital, whose affiliated offshoot Sankaty Advisors provided the capital for the purchases (which amounted to $13.2 million on WJRT's end of the $30 million deal). Both stations are expected to retain their affiliations with ABC. The sale was completed on April 1, 2011.  Unfortunately, both ABC12's news director Jim Bleicher and General Manager Tom Bryson either retired or left the station after the sale was announced.  Furthermore, on April 6, 2011, less than a week after SJL taking over control of WJRT, they unceremoniously terminated long time weekday anchor Bill Harris and longtime weekend anchor Joel Feick.  Harris would later return to WJRT on May 3, 2011, reporting from a homeland security training conference in Grand Rapids for the station's evening newscasts; it is not clear at present on his current role at the station,  or if whether or not Harris' report from Grand Rapids was a one-time event -- Harris had no comment on his future role at WJRT.
WJRT-TV currently broadcasts with the following digital subchannel lineup:
|12.1||main WJRT-TV programming / ABC HD720p|
|12.2||ABC12 Plus (Live Well Network and local shows); 480iSD|
|12.3||ABC12's 24 Hour Weather Channel / The Local AccuWeather Channel; 480iSD|
ABC12 Plus is WJRT-TV's second digital subchannel. It shows extra programming, such as programming from the Live Well Network, rebroadcasts of ABC12 News, WJRT's local public affairs show Newsmakers, local specials and movies. All programming in this subchannel is shown in 480i standard definition.
ABC12's third digital subchannel is its 24-hour weather channel. It features live Doppler weather radar 24 hours a day, interlaced with extended local weather forecasts from the ABC12 weather team, as well as national forecasts from The Local AccuWeather Channel.
Analog to digital conversion
WJRT-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station had been broadcasting its pre-transition digital signal over UHF channel 36, but returned to channel 12 for its post-transition operations.  After the transition, certain viewers[who?] had difficulty receiving their signal. So on October 14, 2009, WJRT filed an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the power level from 18.2 kW to 30 kW. The increase was approved, and the boost was completed on April 21, 2010.
WJRT-TV broadcasts a total of 37 hours of local news per week (with six hours on weekdays, and three hours each on weekends), producing far more local content than any other station in the market.
WJRT-TV switched to an all high definition video switcher on January 9, 2010. Although most sources appear to be upconvertedto HD, its graphics and some other sources are now being broadcast in true high definition. Until SJL took over in April 2011, it was the only ABC-owned station to continue to broadcast its newscasts largely in standard definition (albeit widescreen) from the studio. Broadcasts will remain in enhanced-definition widescreen for the foreseeable future.
On September 7, 2010, WJRT-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast to begin airing at 4:30 a.m.
- ABC 12 News at 4:30 AM - 4:30-5:00 a.m.
- ABC 12 News at 5 AM - 5:00-6:00 a.m.
- ABC 12 News at 6 AM - 6:00-7:00 a.m.
- ABC 12 News at Noon - 12:00-12:30 p.m.
- ABC 12 News First at Four - 4:00-5:00 p.m.
- ABC 12 News at 5 - 5:00-6:00 p.m.
- ABC 12 News at 6 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
- ABC 12 News at 11:00 - 11:00-11:35 p.m.
- ABC 12 Weekend: Saturday Morning - 6:00-8:00 a.m.
- ABC 12 News at 6 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
- ABC 12 News at 11 - 11:00-11:30 p.m.
- ABC 12 Weekend: Sunday Morning - 7:00-8:00 a.m.
- ABC 12 Weekend: Sunday Morning - 9:00-10:00 a.m.
- ABC 12 News at 6 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
- ABC 12 News at 11 - 11:00-11:30 p.m.
- Area 12 News (1960s-1970s)
- Eyewitness News (1970s)
- Channel 12 News (1970s-early 1980s)
- TV-12 News (early 1980s-1987)
- 12 News (general)/12 News Nightwatch (11 p.m. newscast; 1987–1994)
- NewsChannel 12 (1994–1997)
- ABC 12 News (1997–present)
- Let's Get Together on Area 12 (1970–1971; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- You're in 12 Country! (mid-late 1970s; used during period station used Al Ham's "Home Country")
- We're Still the One, on Channel 12 (1977–1980; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- We're The One You Can Turn To, Channel 12 (1978-1979; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- You and Me and Channel 12 (1980–1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Take a Look at Channel 12 (1980–1982)
- Now is the Time, Channel 12 is the Place (1981–1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Hello, Mid-Michigan, TV-12 Loves You! (1982–?; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
- Come on Along with Channel 12 (1982–1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- That Special Feeling on Channel 12 (1983–1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- We're With You on Channel 12 (1984–1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Where News Comes First (1980s–1994)
- You'll Love It on Channel 12 (1985–1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Together on Channel 12 (1986–1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Something's Happening on Channel 12 (1987–1990; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Michigan's Watching Channel 12 (1990–1992; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- If It's Michigan, It Must Be Channel 12 (1992–1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Michigan's NewsChannel (1994–1997)
- What It Takes, Wherever News Breaks (1997–2002)
- Your Trusted Source for News (2002–2010)
- Your Safest Place in Bad Weather (2002–2010; weather slogan)
- Your Trusted Source (2010–present)
- Your Weather Source (2010–present; weather slogan)
Current on-air staff
- Mark Bullion - weekend mornings (6-8 a.m. & 9-10 a.m.); also reporter
- Christine Winter - weekday mornings (4:30-7 a.m.) and noon
- Terry Camp - weekdays at 4 p.m.; also reporter
- Cheri Hardmon - weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also reporter
- Dawn Jones - weekdays on First at 4; also host of Newsmaker
- Matt Franklin - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.
- Angie Hendershot - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.
- Elisse Ramey - weekend mornings (6-8 a.m. & 9-10 a.m.); also weeknight reporter
First Alert Weather Team
- J.R. Kirtek (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.
- Brad Sudgen (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekdays at noon and First at 4
- Kevin Goff (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings (6-8 a.m. & 9-10 a.m.) also 6 and 11 p.m.
- Christina Burkhart - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7 a.m.); also health reporter
- Jason Lewis - sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also sports reporter
- Jolie Starr - sports reporter
- Ryan Slocum - sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.
- Kristen Abraham - Tri-Cities bureau reporter
- Randy Conat - general assignment reporter; also photographer
- Lori Dougovito - general assignment reporter
- Marc Jacobson - general assignment reporter
- Iris Perez - weekend reporter
- Cathy Shafran - general assignment reporter, host of Newsmaker
- Rebecca Trylch - Tri-Cities bureau reporter; also news producer
Former on-air staff
- Taryn Asher (now at WJBK in Detroit)
- Audrey Barnes (later at WBAL-TV in Baltimore and WUSA-TV in Washington, DC; now a journalism coach and mentor)
- Joel Feick
- Jason Carr (now at WJBK in Detroit)
- Linsey Davis (now with ABC News)
- Rece Davis (now at ESPN)
- Josh DeVine (now at WSMV in Nashville)
- Gabe Gutierrez (now at KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas)
- Glenda Lewis (now at WXYZ-TV in Detroit)
- Bisi Onile-Ere (now at WDIV-TV in Detroit)
- Scott Schaffer (now at WNEP in Scranton, Pennsylvania)
- Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor (now with WWJ, WJR and WOMC in Detroit)
- Kirk Yuhnke (now at KNXV-TV in Phoenix)
- Evan Beach (now at WNEM in Saginaw)
- Sue Zelenko (later at WTSP in Tampa; since left the business)
- Michael J. Thorpe
- Cathy Shafran
- Tony Miller (now owns a video production company in St. Louis)
- ^ http://www.michiguide.com/dials/tv/wjrt.html
- ^ "John Poole, 76, Dies; A Broadcasting Chief". The New York Times. April 18, 1989.
- ^ Counterstrike: CBS targets Scripps; will bid for television networks affiliated with Scripps Howard Broadcasting, Broadcasting & Cable (viaHighBeam Research), June 6, 1994.
- ^ Broadcasting & Cable: "EXCLUSIVE: Disney to Sell Two Stations", November 3, 2010.
- ^ Exclusive: New GMs For Former ABC O&Os in Flint, Toledo Broadcasting & Cable March 31, 2011
- ^ Bleicher departs WJRT after ownership change Michigan Media Center April 5, 2011
- ^ Exodus continues: Harris and Feick depart WJRT Michigan Media Center April 6, 2011
- ^ Flint Journal: "ABC 12's Bill Harris to return to telecast this afternoon", May 3, 2011.
- ^ Flint Journal: "Former ABC12 anchor Bill Harris enjoyed on-air return, unsure of future with WJRT", May 3, 2011.
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/tvq?call=WJRT
- ^ FCC.gov - Appendix B: All Full Power Television Stations by DMA, Indicating Those Terminating Analog Service on or before February 17, 2009
- ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101335141&formid=301&fac_num=21735
- ^ ABC12 has increased its digital power ABC12.com April 21, 2010