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. Its studios are found at 1330 N. Meridian Street, in the middle of Indianapolis' Television Row.
6 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||On Your Side|
|Channels||Digital: 25 (UHF)|
|Affiliations||American Broadcasting Company|
(McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Company, Inc.)
|First air date||May 30, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||We aRe TeleVision|
|Former callsigns||WFBM-TV (1949-1972)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||294 m (HAAT)
296 m (AGL)
|Transmitter coordinates||39°53′56.6″N 86°12′3.7″W|
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 ABC in the Terre Haute Market
- 5 Newscasts
- 6 Trivia
- 7 External links
- 8 References
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, Dixie Showboat, Hollywood Reel,Cowboy G-Men, and Hollywood Wrestling. In 1956, WFBM took the NBC affiliation from WTTV. During the late 1950s, WFBM was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
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 has been a leader in adding innovation to Indiana broadcasting. Some of WRTV's innovations over the years, have included the first station in the state to broadcast in color, the first use of videotape, the first to use news mini-cams, the first use of microwave (a [pre-runner to satellite) (Insta-Cam), the first satellite truck (NewStar 6), the first cable news on NewsChannel 64 (now 6 News 24/7), the first use of non-linear digital editing, the first use of digital news cameras, the first entry into web publishing (www.theINDYchannel.com), and the first into cellphone delivery of news (6News OnTheGo) and VODcasting.
On September 10, 2007, WRTV launched a 7 p.m. newscast, a first for the Indianapolis market (and the second in Indiana). Station Vice President and General Manager Don Lundy attributes the decision to "longer commutes and longer work days" that prevent viewers from being home by 5 or 6. 6 NEWS First at 5:00, the first five o'clock newscast launched in 1988 remains at 5:00 p.m., and has been expanded to one-hour, followed by 6 NEWS at 6:00 then World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30 p.m. and finally the evening news block concludes with6 NEWS at 7:00.
WRTV led the ratings in Indianapolis for many years. As recently as the late 1980s and very early 1990s, WRTV's news audience often exceeded the combined audience of WISH and WTHR. Following the retirement of veteran anchor Howard Caldwell and other news mis-steps, WRTV's ratings began to tumble then spent most of the 1990s as a solid runner-up to WISH. However, it has never really recovered from a botched relaunch in 1996 and has spent most of the last decade in third place behind WTHR.
On March 17, 2010, WRTV announced a partnership with Hometown Sports to air live high school and college sporting events on 6.2 (6 News 24/7). Broadcasts will include football, basketball and baseball, but WRTV will not currently have rights to air IHSAA championship events. Details are still being worked out for the full launch.
|6.2||6 News 24/7|
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. 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.
WRTV clears nearly all content provided by the network.
ABC in the Terre Haute Market
When WBAK in Terre Haute (now WFXW) left ABC for Fox, WRTV became the default ABC station for the Indiana side of the market. It is viewable in Terre Haute with a rooftop antenna and is carried by all cable systems on the Indiana side of the Terre Haute market. For the Illinois counties in the Terre Haute television market, many systems offer WICD from Champaign, Illinois or WEHT from Evansville, Indiana.
WRTV continues to air the entire ABC network schedule, although the station has no weekend morning local newscasts.
On October 12, 2008, WRTV became the third station in Indiana (and Indianapolis) to broadcast its newscasts in high definition. In the 6:00 p.m. weekend newscast, the station unveiled a number of new aspects to its newscasts; featuring all new graphics, an updated news set, all new opens and rejoins, as well as updated music from the "ABC Affiliate News Collection" (also known as "Eyewitness News"), and an updated logo for all newscasts.
Weekday newscast airtimes:
- 6 NEWS Good Morning Indiana (Weekdays 4:30 - 7:00 a.m.)
- 6 NEWS at Noon (Weekdays 12:00 - 12:30 p.m.)
- 6 NEWS First at 5:00 (Weeknights 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.)
- 6 NEWS at 5:30 (Weeknights 5:30 - 6:00 p.m.)
- 6 NEWS at 6:00 (Weeknights 6:00 - 6:30 p.m.)
- 6 NEWS at 7:00 (Weeknights 7:00 - 7:30 p.m.)
- 6 NEWS Nightcast (Weeknights 11:00 - 11:35 p.m.)
Weekend newscast airtimes:
- 6 NEWS Weekend (Weekends at 6:00 p.m., though may air at 6:30 or 7:00 p.m., due to ESPN on ABC sports programming)
- 6 NEWS Nightcast (Saturdays at 11:00 p.m., though may air at 11:30 p.m. or later, due to ESPN on ABC sports programming; Sundays at 11:00 p.m.)
- TeleNews (1951–1960)
- TV-6 News (1961–1965)
- Channel 6 Early/Final Report (1966–1974)
- The News (1974–1985)
- Channel 6 News (1985–1989)
- WRTV 6 News (1989–1998)
- Nightcast (11 p.m. newscast; 1998–2012)
- 6 News (1998–2001 and 2006–2012)
- RTV6 News/The News At x:xx (2001–2006 & 2012-present)
- 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)
- Indiana's Watching Channel 6 (1990–1991; localized version of ABC "America's Watching ABC" ad campaign)
- 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-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.
Current on-air staff
- Todd Connor - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6, 7:00 and 11 p.m.
- Ericka Flye - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 p.m., and 6pm
- Jenna (Maloney) Kooi-weeknights at 7:00 and 11 p.m.
- Tanya Spencer - weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also weekday reporter
- Grace Trahan - weekday mornings and noon
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.
- Stephanie Ortmann - Meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.
- Todd Klaassen- Meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon
- Scott Akin- meteorologist; fill-in
- Kyle Mounce- meteorologist; fill-in
- Dave Furst - sports director; weeknights at 6, 7 and 11 p.m.
- Brad Brown - sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m., also sports reporter
- Jason Spells - sports reporter
- Norman Cox - "Watchdog" (State House) reporter
- Rick Hightower (BYU Grad)- general assignment reporter
- Kara Kenney - "Watchdog" (tax dollars) reporter
- Joanna Massee - "Tough Question" reporter
- Stacia Matthews - health reporter
- Joni Michels - morning traffic reporter ("Live Drive Traffic")
- Myrt Price - general assignment reporter
- Julie Pursley - general assignment reporter
- Jack Rinehart - "Watchdog" (crime/safety) reporter
- Rafael Sanchez - "Watchdog" (consumer) reporter
- Derrik Thomas - general assignment reporter
- Chance Walser - general assignment reporter
Notable former staff
- Linda Allen (reporter, later went to WTHR)
- Chris Bavender (reporter, later went to WTHR and currently is Communications Director for the Indiana Attorney General)
- Ken Beckley (former news anchor, recently retired as Vice President of Advertising for the H. H. Gregg appliance store chain)
- Barbara Boyd (longtime consumer reporter)
- Phil Bremen (former weekend anchor, currently Telecommunications Professor at Ball State University)
- Jeremy Brilliant (reporter; now reporter with WTHR)
- Cullen Browder (reporter/anchor 1996-1998; now at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC)
- Angela Cain (weekend anchor in the late 80s/early 90s; now Community Affairs Director at WTHR)
- Howard Caldwell (anchor for many years, now retired)
- Tom Carnegie (longtime Sports Director and public address announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; retired in 1985, died in 2011)
- Marilyn Carter (reporter)
- Ray Cortopassi (anchor until 2007; reporter until 2008; went competitor WTHR, now morning anchor at WXIN)
- Bill Crawford (former weatherman, died in 1964)
- Chris Denari (former sports reporter; now Indiana Pacers play-by-play announcer for FSN Indiana)
- Gerry Dick (reporter, now host of Inside Indiana Business)
- Denise Dillon (reporter; later became an overnight anchor at CNN, now at WAGA in Atlanta, GA)
- Reid Duffy (feature reporter, critic, and pundit; now correspondent for "Across Indiana" on WFYI)
- Paul Emmick (weekend meteorologist; now evening meteorologist at WDRB in Louisville, KY)
- Dave Erickson - Weekend Anchor/Reporter (Currently Main Anchor at KXLY-TV, Spokane, WA)
- Frances Farmer (former actress, hosted Frances Farmer Presents afternoon movie show; died in 1970)
- Gilbert Forbes (first news anchor; died in 1961)
- Hal Fryar (aka "Harlow Hickenlooper"; host of the Three Stooges show, now with a Senior Relations firm in Indianapolis)
- Don Baker Director of News, now teaches broadcasting at Columbus East High School
- Bob Gamble (longtime news director/editorial commentator; retired in 1986)
- Jim Gerard (midday talk show host, now retired)
- Emily Gimmel (morning reporter; currently starring in SOAPnet series Southern Belles: Louisville)
- Brian Hammons (sports anchor, now with The Golf Channel)
- Scott Hoke (former sports anchor; currently at WFYI-FM 90.1 and WFYI-TV 20)
- Shane Hollett (meteorologist/reporter; now Associate Director of the National College Access Network)
- Tracey Horth (reporter/anchor, now with the Domestic Violence Network of Greater Indianapolis)
- Durward Kirby (sidekick of Garry Moore and Allen Funt)
- Karen Layton (investigative reporter; current status unknown)
- Clyde Lee (anchor 1976-2001, now married to former co-anchor Diane Willis)
- Barbara Lewis (anchor from the late 1980s to mid 1990's, now health reporter for Inside Indiana Business)
- Kip Lewis (weekend sports anchor)
- Linda Lupear (reporter)
- Elissa Lynn (weather anchor) later Chief Weather anchor at KXTV 1996-2006, now forecaster for the California Dept. of Water Resources.
- Dave McGhee (former reporter/assignment editor; died 7-23-07)
- Bob McLain (chief meteorologist, 1972–2001)
- Mindy Mintz (reporter; currently with Maryland Public Television)
- Marilyn Mitzel (reporter; now Adjunct Professor at Florida International University)
- Gerald "Curley" Myers (personality/performer; still performs with Hal Fryar, among others, on occasion)
- dan O'Rourke (anchor/reporter, 1976–1979; video and film producer/director, Twin Lion Communications Houston)
- Ken Owen (morning/weeknight co-anchor, 1999–2002; now director of media relations at DePauw University)
- Jim Parsons (reporter, now at WTAE in Pittsburgh, PA)
- Joe Pickett (former booth announcer and personality, now retired)
- Dave Piontek (former NBA star later sports anchor, died in 2004)
- Phil Ponce (reporter, now at WTTW in Chicago, IL)
- Paul Poteet (meteorologist, Good Morning Indiana, 1997–2009)
- Rob Powers (sports reporter; now Sports Director at WTVG in Toledo, OH)
- Jake Query (sports producer,reporter and anchor; later hosted at WIBC radio)
- Vytas Reid (Meteorologist, now at WBFF in Baltimore, MD)
- Craig Roberts (1970s sports anchor, a popular sportscaster in Houston, TX for decades; now host of Sports Off Center at KTBU-TV)
- Karen Rowe (Anchor/Reporter, Good Morning Indiana, 1995–1997)
- Rick Sallinger (reporter, now at KCNC in Denver, CO)
- Lou Sherman (booth announcer/personality; died in 1998)
- Ed Sorenson (Former Sportscaster, Current status unknown)
- Hendrik Sybrandy (reporter, now with KMGH in Denver)
- Caroline Thau (weekend anchor, formerly at WXIN)
- Greg Todd (weekend anchor 1980-1994 now Managing Editor at "San Diego 6 News" XETV in San Diego, CA)
- John Totten (former sports anchor, deceased)
- Brian Trauring (reporter; now News Director at WTVG in Toledo, Ohio)
- Jerry Vance (aka Captain Starr, co-star of local children's show "All Hands On Deck"; died in 1975)
- Todd Wallace (weeknight anchor)
- Judy Waugh (public affairs director)
- Martha Weaver (main anchor 1995-2007; moved home to Minneapolis, MN with her husband and their daughter)
- Eric Weisfeld (morning anchor; now morning anchor at WZVN in Fort Myers, FL)
- Crystal Wicker (morning & noon meteorologist; now account executive with rival WXIN)
- Diane Willis (anchor 1987-2001, now married to former co-anchor Clyde Lee)
- 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 2001; he covered the Super Outbreak of 1974 and the Great Blizzard of 1978.
- TheIndyChannel.com (Official Website)
- WRTV History at TheIndyChannel.com
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WRTV
- Listing 1029312 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WRTV-TV
- HarlowHickenlooper.com (Hal Fryar's website)
- ^ FCC Antenna Structure Registration
- ^ "Monday Afternoon TV Programs". Logansport Press (Logansport, IN): pp. 6. 1951-05-20.
- ^ Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, IN): pp. 14. 1950-10-21.
- ^ "Friday Evening TV Programs". Logansport Press (Logansport, IN): pp. 6. 1951-05-04.
- ^ "Syndicated Pix ARB Multi-City Ratings". Billboard: 6. 1954-04-03.
- ^ "Television Schedule". Anderson Daily Bulletin (Anderson, IN): pp. 17. 1955-03-21.
- ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956
- ^ FCC Form 387
- ^ FCC Form DA-09-1253
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6WFDxhVE00
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is0gwbcjgGU
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SMmTaWRrq4
- ^ Indianapolis Star, Jan. 26, 2010