WRTV, virtual channel 6 (UHF digital channel 25), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company. WRTV's primary studios are located on Meridian Street in northwestern Indianapolis (in the middle of Indianapolis' Television Row), with a secondary studio at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis; its transmitter is located on the city's northwest side near Meridian Hills, Indiana.WRTV, channel 6, is the ABC television affiliate in Indianapolis, Indiana owned by McGraw Hill. Its transmitter is located on the northwest side of Indianapolis at 8001 Township Line Road.[1] Its studios are found at 1330 N. Meridian Street, in the middle of Indianapolis' Television Row.

On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 6, on Charter Spectrum channel 7 and on AT&T U-Verse channel 6.

WRTV
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Indianapolis, Indiana
Branding WRTV (general)

WRTV News (News branding)

Slogan Working For You
Channels Digital: 25 (UHF)

Virtual: 6 (PSIP)

Subchannels 6.1 ABC

6.2 Hometown Sports Indiana
6.3 Live Well Network (until Jan. 2015

Affiliations American Broadcasting Company
Owner E. W. Scripps Company

(Scripps Media, Inc.)

First air date May 30, 1949
Call letters' meaning We aRe TeleVision
Former callsigns WFBM-TV (1949-1972)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

Channel 6 (1949-2009)

Former affiliations Primary:

CBS (1949-1956) NBC (1956-1979) Secondary: DuMont (1949-1955)[1] ABC (1954-1956)

Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 294 m (HAAT)

296 m (AGL)

Class DT
Facility ID 40877
Transmitter coordinates 39°53′56.6″N 86°12′3.7″W
Website www.theINDYchannel.com

History

WFBM-TV

The station signed on the air on May 30, 1949 under the call sign WFBM-TV with a documentary entitled Crucible of Speed covering the history of the Indianapolis 500, followed by the inaugural live television broadcast of the event. It is Indiana's oldest television station. It was owned by the Bitner Group along with WFBM-AM 1260 (now WNDE).

It was originally a CBS affiliate with secondary ABC and DuMont affiliations. When WTTV signed on a few months later, WFBM shared ABC programming until 1954, when WISH-TV signed on and took over the ABC affiliation. WFBM-TV also aired programs from the short-lived Paramount Television Network, among them Time For Beany,[2] Dixie Showboat,[3] Hollywood Reel,[4]Cowboy G-Men,[5] and Hollywood Wrestling.[6] In 1956, WFBM took the NBC affiliation from WTTV. During the late 1950s, WFBM was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[7]

Bitner merged with Time-Life in 1957. As part of a sale mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), WFBM-TV was sold to McGraw-Hill in 1972 along with sister station KLZ-TV (now KMGH-TV) in Denver, Colorado, KOGO-TV (now KGTV) in San Diegoand KERO-TV in Bakersfield, California. The purchase price for the four stations in 1972 was 50 million dollars. At that time, the station assumed its current calls, WRTV. In 1979, WRTV traded affiliations with WTHR and became an ABC affiliate. NBC was the lowest rated network in the late 1970s while ABC rose to the ranks of the highest rated network that same time and was seeking out stronger local stations in many markets, thus motivating this affiliation switch in Indianapolis. WRTV is one of the few stations in the country to have been a primary affiliate of all three original networks.

As ABC carries the Indianapolis 500, in order to encourage attendance of the race among locals, WRTV has continued to tape-delay coverage of the race since coming back to ABC in 1979 rather than airing it live as it does throughout the nation, and airs it in primetime to assuage the concerns of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 1999, WRTV did televise the Indianapolis 500 live, in addition to primetime.

WRTV

By the late 1970s, NBC's national ratings crashed to third place, becoming the lowest-rated of the three major U.S. broadcast networks, while ABC rose to the ranks of first place around that same time; as a result, it sought stronger stations to serve as its affiliates in several markets. The two networks swapped affiliations in Indianapolis on June 1, 1979, with WRTV becoming the market's new ABC affiliate, and WTHR (channel 13) becoming an NBC affiliate. As a result, WRTV became the third television station in the Indianapolis market to affiliate with ABC. In the process, it became the first television station in the Indianapolis market (WTTV would become the second Indianapolis station 35 years later when that station became a CBS affiliate), and of the few television stations in the United States to have served as a primary affiliate of all three heritage broadcast networks.

On January 31, 1995, WBAK-TV in Terre Haute (which changed its call letters to WFXW in 2005) ended its 22-year affiliation with ABC to become that market's original Fox affiliate, citing the low viewership it had suffered due to the then-overabundance of higher-rated ABC stations in adjacent markets (including WRTV) that were receivable in the area. This left viewers with only fringe access from WRTV (which can be received in Terre Haute via an outdoor antenna and became the default ABC affiliate on cable providers on the Indiana side of the market), and other out-of-market ABC stations from Evansville, Indiana and Champaign, Illinois (both of which were carried on cable on the Illinois side of the market) as Terre Haute did not have enough stations to support full-time affiliations from four networks (only three commercial full-power stations—WTWO, WTHI-TV and WBAK—are licensed to the market, and ABC opted not to relegate itself to a secondary affiliation). On September 1, 2011, WFXW (which changed its callsign to WAWV-TV) voluntarily disaffiliated from Fox and rejoined ABC as part of a long-term affiliation renewal between ABC and the Nexstar Broadcasting Group (which manages the station through owner Mission Broadcasting) involving the company's existing ABC stations in nine other markets; WRTV was dropped from most Terre Haute area cable providers by May 28, 2012.

WRTV became the first television station in the Indianapolis market to launch its own website (theindychannel.com) in the late 1990s; it later became the first to offer a mobile website (6News OnTheGo) the following decade. In 1998, the station changed its on-air branding to "RTV6," however its newscasts were instead branded as 6 News until 2001 and again from 2006 to 2012. On October 3, 2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies announced that it would sell its seven-station broadcasting division, including WRTV, to the E. W. Scripps Company for $212 million. The sale received FCC approval on November 29, 2011, and was formally consummated on December 30.

In June 2012, WRTV opened a secondary facility at the studios of news/talk radio station WIBC (93.1 FM) in downtown Indianapolis; most of the station's newscasts are produced out of the Monument Circle studio, which underwent renovations to house production facilities. This resulted from a multi-year agreement with WIBC's owner Emmis Communications that was signed that April, in which WRTV also provides news content for WIBC with some staff appearing on both stations.

In May 2014, Scripps announced that WRTV's North Meridian Street studios would begin handling the master control operations of the company's 19 television stations as early as July of that year, expanding upon an existing regional centralcasting hub built under McGraw-Hill ownership. The expanded operations created 10 new jobs. Scripps renewed ABC affiliations for WRTV and nine other stations through 2019 on December 10, 2014.

On August 17, 2020, WRTV dropped its longtime "RTV6" moniker, and began branding itself as simply "WRTV: Working for You". Concurrent with the move, the station introduced a new logo. For the first time in WRTV's 71-year history, the station's analog/virtual channel number wasn't shown. The station's newscast was rebranded from RTV6 News to basically WRTV News, and its graphic design was updated to match the new logo.

Digital television

Channel Programming
6.1 WRTV
6.2 6 News 24/7

WRTV signed-off its analog signal on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 25.[8] Most receivers display WRTV's virtual channel as 6 through the use of PSIP.

Until the government-mandated digital transition on June 12, 2009, WRTV had to provide two call signs (legal IDs) in on-air spots, "WRTV/WRTV-DT Indianapolis". This allowed the station to identify both its analog and digital broadcast signals in the same message. On June 3, 2009, the FCC announced that following the digital transition stations would be allowed to revert to their analog call signs.[9] Since the call letters "WRTV" are only in use by a television station, the station elected to use only "WRTV INDIANAPOLIS" as its official call sign for the station currently broadcasting on RF channel 25.

Programming

Syndicated programs seen on WRTV include Live with Kelly and Ryan, Right This Minute (which is co-produced by Scripps), and Judge Judy. WRTV clears the entirety of ABC's network schedule and typically airs all network programs in pattern, except during instances where the station carries breaking news or severe weather coverage, or special programming.


Sports Programming

For most of the time since ABC began airing live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Indianapolis 500 in 1986, WRTV aired the race in prime time on a tape delay rather than airing it live. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway insisted on this arrangement to encourage residents and tourists in the Indianapolis metropolitan area to attend the race. During the time slot in which the race aired live, that day's ABC prime time schedule aired early under special dispensation from the network. In 1999, WRTV televised the Indianapolis 500 live, in addition to the tape-delayed prime time broadcast, as part of WRTV's 50th anniversary. On May 25, 2016, with the 100th anniversary event sold out, IMS and WRTV announced that channel 6 would air the Indianapolis 500 live in the market for the first time since it carried the 1949 and 1950 races as WFBM. WRTV lost its role as the local broadcaster of the Indianapolis 500 after the 2018 race, when ABC lost the rights to air the race after 54 years (WRTV had aired each race since 1980, a year after it became an ABC station); beginning in 2019, with the broadcast rights to the race going to NBC, WTHR (which previously aired the race between 1958 and 1979) serves as the local broadcaster. The blackout policy, however, has continued.

The station once carried select Indianapolis Colts NFL games broadcast by ABC as part of the network's Monday Night Footballpackage from the 1984 season until the 2005 season. The station acquired the local rights to two Colts regular season games during the 2014 season between the Philadelphia Eagles (on September 15) and between the New York Giants (on November 3), both of which aired on ESPN's Monday Night Football—whose Colts broadcasts are normally carried over-the-air by WNDY-TV (channel 23). In both situations, the station rescheduled ABC's Monday lineup: Dancing with the Stars aired the following Tuesday afternoon before the station's 5 p.m. newscast on the night of its original broadcast, but did not open a separate voting window for the Indianapolis market, while it aired Castle after ABC's late night programming. In addition, all Indiana Pacers games aired through ABC's NBA coverage are aired on Channel 6.

News operations

WRTV presently broadcasts 29½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays).

For most of its first four decades on the air, WFBM/WRTV was Indianapolis' dominant news station. As late as the early 1980s, WRTV's news viewership often exceeded the combined audience of WISH and WTHR. WISH surged into first place in the mid-1980s, although WRTV managed to remain at a solid second place even after the retirement of longtime anchor Howard Caldwell in 1994. However, channel 6's ratings flatlined after a botched format revamp in 1996, coinciding with WTHR's surge to first place. It fell to last place for the first time in its history, and for most of the time from then until 2013, it finished third behind WTHR and WISH-TV. On some occasions, it fell to fourth behind Fox affiliate WXIN (channel 59). Since 2014, the station has been part of a spirited four-way battle for second place along with WISH, WXIN, and WTTV.

WRTV 6 News logo used from 2006 to 2012. The HD part of the logo was added in 2008. The numeric "6" had been used in various forms since 1989.

Former primary weeknight anchors, Todd Wallace and Trisha Shepherd, taken in 2007; Wallace and Shepherd respectively left WRTV in 2010 and 2011.

As Indiana's oldest television station, WRTV has brought forth several technological innovations over the years. It was the first television station in Indiana to record local programming on videotape and to use mini-cams for newsgathering purposes. Channel 6 was also the first in the state to use microwave relays (years prior to the use of satellite transmissions for newsgathering) to provide live remote footage from the field ("Insta-Cam"), the first to use a mobile satellite uplink vehicle (NewStar 6) to provide live video from remote locations, the first to convert to non-linear digital editing for news content, the first to use digital news cameras and the first to provide VODcasting. In 1988, the station debuted a half-hour 5:00 p.m. newscast, becoming the first station in the market to carry an early evening news program in that timeslot. In the mid-1990s, the station launched a 24-hour cable news channel NewsChannel 64, which later evolved into "6 News 24/7" and began to be carried on digital subchannel 6.2 by the late 2000s.

On September 10, 2007, WRTV expanded its 5:00 p.m. newscast to one hour (replacing syndicated programming in the 5:30 p.m. timeslot) and debuted a half-hour early evening newscast at 7:00 p.m., the first such newscast in the Indianapolis market in that timeslot. Station vice president and general manager Don Lundy stated that it launched the latter program in order to reach viewers whose longer workdays and commutes prevented them from arriving home in time to watch a 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. newscast. The station's weekend morning newscasts were cancelled around this time, as a cost-saving measure imposed by McGraw-Hill.

On October 12, 2008, WRTV became the third television station in the state of Indiana to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. With the upgrade, the station unveiled a new graphics package (replacing one based on Denver sister station KMGH-TV's graphics of that time) and updated music from Gari Media Group's "Eyewitness News: New Generation" package, along with a refresh of its news set and a revised logo for all newscasts. In September 2012, WRTV implemented a standardized graphics package and news theme ("Inergy" by Stephen Arnold Music) for Scripps' stations that originated on West Palm Beach sister station WPTV-TV the previous month. The station also began broadcasting its newscasts from its Monument Circle studio facility that month.

On September 7, 2013, WRTV debuted weekend morning newscasts (a one-hour block running from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m., and an additional two-hour block at 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays and for a half-hour on Sundays), restoring morning newscasts to its weekend schedule. The expansion resulted in the hires of eight on-air and behind-the-scenes employees to the station. As a result, WRTV moved the weekend edition of Good Morning America to 7:00 a.m. (the network's recommended timeslot for the program in all time zones) on both days.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • TeleNews (1949–?)
  • TV-6 News (1960s)
  • Channel 6 Early/Final Report (1960s–1970s)
  • The News (1970s–1985)
  • Channel 6 News (1985–1989)
  • WRTV 6 News (1989–1998)[10]
  • 6 News (1998–2001 & 2006–2012)[11]
  • The News on RTV6 (2001–2006)
  • Nightcast (11 p.m. newscast; 2001–2012)
  • The News At x:xx (2002-2006)
  • RTV 6 News (2012–2020)
  • WRTV News (2020-present)

News Packages

  • “TuesdayA” by Tuesday Productions (1976-1979)
  • WRTV 1979 News Theme (unknown) (1979-1984)
  • WRTV 1984 News Theme (unknown) (1984-1986)
  • Station Style News by Michael Karp Music (1986-1990)
  • WRTV 1990 News Theme (unknown) (1990-1992)
  • WRTV 1992 News Theme (unknown) (1992-1994)
  • Primetime News by Non-Stop Music (1994-1998)
  • ABC News Affiliate Music Package by Score Productions (1998-2001)
  • News One by 615 Music (2001-2004)
  • Eyewitness News by Frank Gari (2004-2012)
  • Ingergy by Stephen Arnold Music (2012-2020)
  • Scripps Custom News Package by Stephen Arnold Music (2020-present)

Station slogans

  • Channel 6`s The One You Can Turn To (1978–1979; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • The News Leader (1979–1985)
  • You and Me and Channel 6 (1980–1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Now is the Time, Channel 6 is the Place (1981–1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Come on Along with Channel 6 (1982–1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • That Special Feeling on Channel 6 (1983–1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • We`re With You on Channel 6 (1984–1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Your Exclusive Newsstar Station (1985–1989)
  • Together On Channel 6 (1986–1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Making a Difference for Indiana (1989–1996)[12]
  • Indiana's Watching Channel 6 (1990–1991; localized version of ABC "America's Watching ABC" ad campaign)
  • Coverage Making A Difference For Indiana (1994-1996)
  • Live, Local, Latebreaking (1996–1998)
  • TV is Good, on WRTV-6 (1997–1998; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • We Love TV, on WRTV-6 (1998–1999; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Standing Up for You (1998–2001)
  • On Your Side (2006–2011)
  • The Indy Channel (2012-2020)
  • Working For You (2020-present)

Station brand concepts

  • Watchdog focuses on consumer and citizen advocacy. The Watchdog team, which includes Norman Cox, Kara Kenney, Jack Rinehart and Rafael Sanchez, investigates government spending, rip-offs and scams, and criminal and political issues.
  • Tough Question focuses on reporter Joanna Massee getting answers for Hoosiers.

On-air staff

Anchors

Current on-air staff

  • Raphael Sanchez - weekdays on Good Morning Indiana (4:30-7AM); also an consumer reporter
  • Lauren Casey - weekdays on Good Morning Indiana (4:30-7AM) and weekdays at noon
  • Marc Mullins - weeknights at 5, 6, and 11pm
  • Amanda Starrantino - weeknights at 5, 6, 7, and 11pm
  • Nicole Griffin - weekends at 6 and 11pm; also an reporter
  • Megan Shinn - Good Morning Indiana anchor

Storm Team 6

  • Kevin Gregory (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval; NWA Member) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 7 and 11 p.m.
  • Todd Klaassen- Meteorologist; weekdays on Good Morning Indiana (4:30-7AM) and weekdays at noon
  • Alyssa Donavan - meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 11pm
  • Kyle Mounce- meteorologist; fill-in

Sports Team

  • Brad Brown - sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m., also sports reporter

Reporters

  • Kelsey Anderson - general assignment reporter
  • Nikki DeMentri - general assignment reporter
  • Cornelius Hucker - general assignment reporter
  • Kara Kenney - general assignment reporter
  • Cameron Ridle - general assignment reporter
  • Megan Sanctorum - general assignment reporter
  • Stephanie Wade - general assignment reporter
  • Troy Washington - general assignment reporter

Notable former staff

Former Programming on WRTV

  • Judge Joe Brown
  • The People’s Court
  • Hollywood Squares
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • The Sally Jesse Raphael Show
  • Inside Edition

Gallery

Trivia

  • In 1993, local video of hockey game and the station logo is used in the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
  • Hal Fryar (aka "Harlow Hickenlooper") was one of nine local Three Stooges show hosts from across the country cast as villains in the Three Stooges full-length feature "The Outlaws Are Coming! The Outlaws Are Coming!"
  • Harlow Hickenlooper's famous rendition of "Happy Birthday", which always resulted in his getting a pie in the face, was patterned after Jerry Colonna who always exaggerated certain songs. It can be heard on Hal Fryar's website www.harlowhickenlooper.com.
  • Emily Gimmel, former reporter for WRTV, went on to star in the SOAPnet series Southern Belles: Louisville.
  • Dan O'Rourke, after news internship became WRTV's youngest reporter at age 21, and youngest anchor at 22.
  • Kevin Gregory (the chief meteorologist) is the son of former WTHR chief meteorologist Bob Gregory.
  • Bill Crawford, weatherman during the 1950s and early 1960s, was really a dentist by profession. Meteorology was only his hobby.
  • Bob McLain, who still appears occasionally, was the station's primary meteorologist from 1972 to 2002; he covered the Super Outbreak of 1974 and the Great Blizzard of 1978.

External links

References

  1. ^ FCC Antenna Structure Registration
  2. ^ "Monday Afternoon TV Programs". Logansport Press (Logansport, IN): pp. 6. 1951-05-20.
  3. ^ Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, IN): pp. 14. 1950-10-21.
  4. ^ "Friday Evening TV Programs". Logansport Press (Logansport, IN): pp. 6. 1951-05-04.
  5. ^ "Syndicated Pix ARB Multi-City Ratings". Billboard: 6. 1954-04-03.
  6. ^ "Television Schedule". Anderson Daily Bulletin (Anderson, IN): pp. 17. 1955-03-21.
  7. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956
  8. ^ FCC Form 387
  9. ^ FCC Form DA-09-1253
  10. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6WFDxhVE00
  11. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is0gwbcjgGU
  12. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SMmTaWRrq4
  13. ^ Indianapolis Star, Jan. 26, 2010
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