WLWT-TV, also known as News 5, is a television station in Cincinnati, Ohio, broadcasting digitally on UHF channel 35 as an NBC affiliate. The station is owned by Hearst Television.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Branding WLWT News 5
Slogan Leading the Way – On-air, Online, and On the Go
Channels Digital: 35 (UHF)Virtual: 5 (PSIP)

5.1 - NBC

5.2 - Me-TV

Owner Hearst Television

(Ohio/Oklahoma Hearst Television, Inc.)

Founded February 9, 1948
Call letters' meaning World'sLargest

Wireless] (sister to radio station) Television

Former callsigns W8XCT (Experimental, 1946–1948)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

1 (1946–1948) 4 (1948–1952) 5 (1952–2010)

Former affiliations All secondary:

CBS/ABC/DuMont(1948–1949) DT2 NBC Weather Plus(2005–2008)

Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 295 m (analog)310.5 m (digital)
Facility ID 46979
Transmitter coordinates 39°7′27.3″N84°31′17.9″W


WLWT was established by the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation, owners of WLW radio, one of America's most powerful radio stations. Crosley Broadcasting Corporation was a subsidiary of the Crosley Corporation, which became a subsidiary of the Aviation Corporation (laterAvco) in 1945. After airing experimentally from 1946 as W8XCT on channel 1,[1][2] the station began commercial broadcasts on February 9, 1948. Its studios were housed with WLW in the Crosley Square building, a converted Elks Lodge No. 5 in downtown Cincinnati.[3]

WLWT counts itself as the first station outside the eastern U.S. (other than network-owned stations) to join the NBC television network as a primary affiliate, but originally carried programming from all the major television networks of the time: NBC, ABC, CBS and DuMont. It later affiliated solely with NBC in 1949, after WKRC-TV and WCPO-TV signed on.

For many years, the station's IDs and advertising used a hyphen in its callsign ("WLW-T"), but that was dropped in the mid-1960s. The hypenated "T" referred to Television, as it did in WLW-C (now WCMH-TV, Columbus), WLW-D (now WDTN, Dayton) and WLW-I (nowWTHR, Indianapolis), making up the Tri-State's only interconnected network. Crosley also owned WLW-A (now WXIA-TV) in Atlanta, Georgiaand WOAI-TV in San Antonio, Texas. "WLW Television" boasted a million dollars worth of talent resulting in such programs as The Ruth Lyons 50-50 Club (later hosted by Bob Braun after Lyons' retirement in 1967), the Paul Dixon Show, and Midwestern Hayride. For a period during the 1970s, the station's slogan was, "5, The Originator" in reference to all of the local programming that was produced by the station.

In 1957, WLWT introduced color television broadcasts to the Cincinnati market.[4] It later became the first station in the nation to broadcast entirely in color,[5] giving the Cincinnati the nickname "Colortown U.S.A." by 1962.[3]

The broadcast division continued to operate as the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation, until it took the name of its parent company in 1968, becoming Avco Broadcasting Corporation. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted in 1969 its "one-to-a-market" rule, which enforced the ban on common ownership of two or more television stations with overlapping coverage areas while grandfathering some already existing instances, the common ownership of WLWT, WLWC, WLWD and WLWI was among those combinations which were grandfathered under the new rule. WLWT provided city-grade coverage of Dayton itself and grade B coverage to most of the Dayton and Columbus markets. But in the mid-1970s, Avco decided to leave broadcasting and sold all of its stations to separate buyers. WLWT was among the last to be sold, going to Multimedia, Inc. (along with Avco-Embassy Television, Avco's production division) in 1976. As a result, the stations all lost their grandfathered protection, which led to an ownership conflict situation which Hearst-Argyle (predecessor to today's Hearst Television) would encounter two decades later (see next paragraph). The FCC has since relaxed its adjacent-market ownership rules.

The Gannett Company bought the Multimedia group in 1995. As Gannett had owned The Cincinnati Enquirer since 1979 (and remains the newspaper's owner to this day), the company had to obtain a temporary waiver of an FCC cross-ownership rule which prohibited common ownership of a television station and a newspaper in the same market in order for Gannett to close on the Multimedia group. When the waiver expired in late 1996, Gannett opted to keep the Enquirer and swap WLWT and KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City to Argyle Television Holdings II in exchange for WGRZ in Buffalo, New York and WZZM in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a deal which was finalized in January 1997. Argyle merged with the broadcasting unit of the Hearst Corporation to form Hearst-Argyle Television in August 1997. Hearst had owned WDTN (the former WLWD) since 1981, but the merged company opted to keep the larger WLWT and sell WDTN the next year. WLWT's licensee name under Multimedia and Gannett ownership, Multimedia Entertainment, Inc., survives to this day as the licensee name for WGRZ.

WLWT briefly aired UPN programming in the early morning hours on weekends during parts of 1998 and 1999 after that netlet was displaced from its previous affiliate WSTR-TV by WBprogramming, before UPN finally affiliated with the former WB affiliate WBQC-CA later in 1999. It is one of two Cincinnati stations to have never changed its primary affiliation; the other is Fox affiliate WXIX-TV.

In June 1999, WLWT moved its studios to Taft Broadcasting's former headquarters in the Mount Auburn neighborhood (coincidentally, Taft once owned WGRZ as WGR-TV).[6] The station found it necessary to move because Crosley Square, with its two-story ballrooms and basement newsroom, was built more for live entertainment broadcasts than a news operation.[3]

In June 2007, WLWT announced that it would partner with WLW (AM) to provide news and weather for the radio station. As a consequence, WLWT's news and weather was heard nationwide on WLW's XM Satellite Radio channel, at channel 173. The agreement with XM ended in the summer of 2008. WLWT and WLW shared news and weather operations for years when they were both owned by Crosley Broadcasting, but eventual separate ownerships of the two stations (WLWT Argyle then Hearst Television - WLW Clear Channel) led to WLW radio using the resources of WKRC-TV for several years until the renewed partnership with its former television sister. The modern WLW-WLWT partnership ended March 31, 2010. As of April 1, 2010, this partnership moved to WXIX-TV.

The transmission tower seen at the beginning of CBS's popular sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati, actually belonged to WLWT — it was located at the WLWT transmitter on 2222 Chickasaw Street. That red and white tower stood side-by-side with WLWT's current strobed tower until 2005, when it was dismantled. [1] WLWT sponsors an annual race in the Automobile Racing Club of America, a stock car racing series similar to NASCAR, at Kentucky Speedway. The station simulcasts the live coverage from the Speed Channel. WLWT is the only Cincinnati station to remain with its primary affiliation (NBC) since sign on.

Digital television

The station's digital, UHF 35 is multiplexed:

Digital channels

 Channel   Name  Programming
5.1  WLWT-DT1   Main WLWT-TV Programming / NBC (HD) 
5.2 WLWT-DT2 Me-TV

NBC Weather Plus ceased network operation in late 2008,[7] but WLWT later continued to broadcast local weather programming as News 5 Weather Plus on its digital subchannel.

Post-analog shutdown

WLWT ended programming on its analog signal, on VHF channel 5, on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States,[8] and remained on its pre-transition digital channel 35 [9] PSIP is used to display WLWT's virtual channel as 5. WLWT broadcast a nightlight message on its analog channel for one month following the DTV transition deadline.

Cincinnati Reds on WLWT

The first Cincinnati Reds was broadcast in 1947 on W8XCT, which in February 1948 became WLWT-TV. WLWT was the flagship station of the 5 state Reds Television Network from 1948 through 1995, long after most "Big Three" stations dropped sports programming. After 47 years of broadcasting Reds games, WLWT did not renew its contract, citing economic reasons along with pressure from NBC [2]. Waite Hoyt was the original announcer on WLWT, a simulcast with WLW Radio. George Bryson, Sr. replaced him in 1956. When Ed Kennedy became the play by play announcer in 1961, he would remain for 11 seasons, working with Frank McCormick for 8 seasons. Also calling games on WLWT included: Ken Wilson, Charlie Jones, Bill Brown, Ray Lane, Johnny Bench, and Joe Morgan [3]

See Also List of Cincinnati Reds broadcasters


Despite often having been the highest-rated news station in the Cincinnati area in the past, WLWT has been lagging behind rivals WKRC-TV and WCPO-TV in recent years. This can possibly be attributed to the lack of stability among its anchors and meteorologists, as the station as seen a high number of anchor and meteorologist turnover since the 1990s. The team is led by Jack Atherton, Sheree Paolello, and Kevin Robinson. Newscasts consist of News 5 Today, News 5 at Noon (weedays) and News 5 at 5, 5:30 (weedays), 6 and 11pm. Sports Rock is a sports segment focusing mainly on Tri-State professional and college sports and is hosted by sportscasters Ken Broo and George Vogel. It airs on Sunday nights.

News 5 is well-known in the area for its delivery of news based on gimmicks, some of which have been quite popular and successful including "Target 5", "News 5 Nation" and "The Top 5".Several former and current members of WLWT's news staff have been associated with politics, including Jerry Springer, Charlie Luken, Tom Atkins, J. D. Hayworth and Courtis Fuller.

On January 20, 2010, WLWT started broadcasting its newscasts in widescreen 16:9 standard definition. Neither Hearst Television nor WLWT has the necessary budget to go high definition at this time (possibly due to low ratings leading to poor ad revenue and less capital), but is planned within the next couple of years. As a result, although all of the major news stations in Cincinnati now broadcast their newscasts in widescreen, WLWT remains the only one which has yet to begin airing them in full high definition.

The Power of 5 Weather Team

WLWT's team of meteorologists consist of meteorologists Kevin Robinson (AMS), Valerie Abati (AMS), Randi Rico (AMS/NWA), and Erik Zarnitz (CBM). WLWT bills its radar as thePower of 5 Radar Network. WLWT has access to five radar sites from Fort Wayne, IN, Indianapolis, IN, Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH, and Wilmington, OH, which are all NEXRADDoppler radars from the National Weather Service, with the exception of its Cincinnati radar which is a live radar manufactured by RadTech. WLWT uses Baron Services FasTrac Millennium and VIPIR radar software. In 2008, then-Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley obtained exclusive rights to use Gibson Ridge Software's GR2Analyst radar software for on-air use, which provides 3D volumetric presentations of National Weather Service Nexrad Level II Data. Doing this allowed WLWT to become one of only a select few television stations in the entire nation to use this software on-air. WLWT bills this radar as the Power of Five XP. The station maintains a weather beacon atop the Radisson Hotel in Covington dubbed the "Weather Lights".[10]

In the past 13 years there have been seven chief meteorologists including Tom Burse, Dave Fraser, Angelique Frame, Byron Webre, Jim O’Brien, Derek Beasley and Kevin Robinson. Its longest tenure of meteorologists included Tony Sands and Frank Pierce whose careers dated back to WLWT's early years. The average length of stay of a chief meteorologist at WLWT has been 2 to 2.5 years.

WLWT News / Station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Comex News/Comex Final (?-1965)
  • TV-5 News (1965–1970s)
  • TV-5 Action News (1970s–1978)
  • Action 5 News (1978–1980 & 1982–1984)
  • The News (1980–1982)
  • News 5 (1984–1991, 1992–1998 and 2004–2008)
  • News Channel 5 (1991–1992)
  • Eyewitness News 5 (1998–2004; also used by sister station KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City until 2013)
  • WLWT News 5 (2013–present)

Station slogans

  • Your Station of Stars (1950s)
  • We've Got Your World Covered (1976-?)
  • TV-5, Proud as a Peacock! (1979–1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • We're the Team (1980–1983)
  • TV-5, Our Pride is Showing (1981–1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • We're TV-5, Just Watch Us Now (1982–1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-5 There, Be There (1983–1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-5, Let's All Be There (1984–1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to TV-5 (1986–1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Cincinnati Style (mid 1980s)
  • Come on Home to TV-5 (1987–1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to the Best, Only on TV-5 (1988–1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Going Places (circa 1988–1989)
  • TV-5, is The Place to Be! (1990–1992, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Your 24-Hour News Channel (1990–1992)
  • It's A Whole New TV-5 (1992–1993, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • The Stars Are Back on TV-5 (1993–1994, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Straight to You (1993–1995)
  • It's TV-5 (1994-1995; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Nobody Brings You Closer (1995–1998)
  • First. Fast. Accurate. (1998–2004)
  • Where the News Comes First (2004–2008)
  • Straight to the Point (2008–2009)
  • Leading the Way On Air, Online, On The Go (2011–2016)
  • Leading the Way (2016–present)

WLWT On-air staff

Current on-air staff

WLWT News 5 Anchors

  • Jack Atherton – weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Lisa Cooney – weekday mornings "News 5 Today" and noon
  • Todd Dykes – weekday mornings "News 5 Today"
  • Courtis Fuller – weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
  • Jonathan Hawgood – weekend mornings "News 5 Today"
  • Sheree Paolello – weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.

Power of 5 Weather Team

  • Kevin Robinson (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11 p.m.
  • Valerie Abati (AMS Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekend mornings, also weekday weather producer
  • Randi Rico (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) – meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon
  • Erik Zarnitz (CBM) - weekend evenings

WLWT News 5 Sports team

  • Ken Broo – sports director; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.
  • George Vogel – sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.

WLWT News 5 Reporters

  • Laura Borchers – general assignment reporter
  • Kristina Cruise – general assignment reporter
  • Terry Daniels – general assignment reporter
  • Brandon Hamilton – traffic reporter
  • Brian Hamrick – general assignment reporter
  • Karin Johnson – general assignment reporter
  • John London – general assignment reporter
  • Alison Montoya – general assignment reporter
  • Cheryl Parker – general assignment reporter
  • Andrew Setters – general assignment reporter
  • Stephanie Stone – general assignment reporter
  • Amy Wagner – general assignment reporter

Hearst Television Washington Bureau

  • Sally Kidd – Washington Bureau reporter
  • Nikole Killion – Washington Bureau reporter
  • Laurie Kinney – Washington Bureau reporter

Notable WLWT former staff

  • Michelle Hopkins - anchor/general assignment reporter (2000-2010)
  • Eric Flack (reporter)
  • Sandra Ali (evening anchor 2004-2009)
  • John Bateman (Meteorologist from 2004-2010) Now Meteorologist and Weather Producer for WeatherBug
  • Eric Green (Meteorologist from 2007-2010) now weekday morning meteorologist at KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Derek Beasley (morning meteorologist 2005–2007 then chief meteorologist 2007–2009 now chief meteorologist at WPMI-TV, Mobile, AL/Pensacola – Ft. Walton Beach, FL)
  • Jerry Springer (anchor, now host of his own talk show and the game show "Baggage" on GSN, former host of "America's Got Talent" on NBC, and the British version of "The Moment of Truth")
  • Norma Rashid (on medical disability due to rare stress-induced heart condition)
  • Candice Hunter (evening anchor)
  • Felicia Ferguson
  • Pat Barry (weather) (now on WXIX-TV)
  • Charlie Luken
  • Tom Burse Chief Meteorologist SNN6 Sarasota
  • Jim O'Brien (Chief Meteorologist from 2004–2007, Now Morning Meteorologist at WXIN in Indianapolis)
  • Mike Nichols (weekends and reporter) from 2001–2004.
  • Bill Hemmer (Sports 1980's Later Hosted CNN Mornings, now co-host of "America's Newsroom" at Fox News Channel)
  • Thom Brennaman (Sports 1980's Later joined his father Marty as announcer for the Cincinnati Reds)
  • Kristen Cornett (weather 2004–2006) then worked with NBC Weather Plus, now weekend weather at KMOV, St. Louis
  • Peter Grant (anchor til late 1960s)
  • Toria (Hammil) Tolley (reporter 1980s, went to CNN 1990)
  • Ann Reskin (midday news anchor 1980s;)
  • Frank Pierce (weather, 1960–1972)
  • Tony Sands (chief meteorologist, mid 1950's-mid 1980s) deceased
  • Ken Torrey (meteorologist, 1972–1978)
  • Richard J. McCollough, AMS, NWA (Meteorologist, 1991-1994 then worked as Chief Meteorologist at WHEC-TV 10 NBC, 13WHAM ABC, WSPA-TV 7 CBS now Producer/Host AATV)
  • Steve Horstmeyer (meteorologist 1977–1989, went to WKRC-TV (1989–2008), now chief meteorologist at WXIX-TV)
  • Mel "Martin" Dibble (1914–2002) Established morning show format; worked with Rod Serling
  • Steve Physioc (Sports, early 80's, now sports announcer for Fox Sports Net)
  • Solomon Wilcots (Sports, 1990's)
  • J. D. Hayworth (Sports, 1986–1987,[3] went to KTSP-TV (now KSAZ-TV), Phoenix, then Congress; currently talk show host at KFYI, Phoenix.)
  • Greg Hoard, Sports journalist and commentator
  • Steve Douglas (anchor and local It's Academic host, 1970–1976; killed in a lightweight plane accident in 1976)
  • Tom Atkins (anchor, 1966–1977)
  • Betsy Ross (anchor, now sports reporter on WXIX-TV)
  • Byron Webre (chief meteorologist, now chief meteorolgist at KEYE-TV, Austin, Texas)
  • Chris Wright (meteorologist, now at WTHR, Indianapolis)
  • Anne Marie Tiernon (anchor, 2000–2004, now evening anchor at WTHR, Indianapolis)
  • Emily Longnecker (reporter, 2004-2007, now at WTHR, Indianapolis)
  • Jon James (Meteorologist ?-?)



  1. ^ Cooper, Bob (2000-02-15). "Why don't US TV Sets have a Channel 1?". Official WTFDA Club Website. Worldwide TV-FM DX Association.
  2. ^ Thomas, David (2002). "Liberace, Springer Only Part Of WLWT's History". (Hearst-Argyle Television).
  3. ^ a b c Kiesewetter, John (1999-06-06). "This is Crosley Square … Signing off". The Cincinnati Enquirer (Gannett Company). Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  4. ^ "WLW Radio & Television". Cincinnativiews. 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  5. ^ Horstman, Barry M. "John T. Murphy". Great Living Cincinnatians. Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  6. ^ "WLWT to leave downtown". Cincinnati Business Courier (American City Business Journals). 1998-09-03. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  7. ^ Greppi, Michele (2008-10-07). "NBC Shutting Down Weather Plus". TelevisionWeek (Crain Communications).
  8. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). EDOCS. Federal Communications Commission. p. 22.
  9. ^ "DTV Transition Status Report". Federal Communications Commission. January 2008.
  10. ^ "What Do The Weather Lights Mean?". Hearst Television. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2010-09-02.

External links