WTHR, channel 13, is a full-service television station serving the Indianapolis, Indiana metropolitan area. An affiliate of the NBC television network, its studios at 1000 N. Meridian Street anchor the south end of Indy's Television Row. The station broadcasts its digital signal on VHF channel 13 from its transmitter located at 9799 Ditch Road in suburban Carmel (its antenna tower being a major landmark on the nearby north leg of the I-465 beltway). Since 1974, WTHR has been owned by the Dispatch Broadcast Group of Columbus, Ohio.
|Branding||WTHR 13, Channel 13, or WTHR Channel 13 (general)
13 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Indiana's News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)|
|Owner||Dispatch Broadcast Group
|First air date||October 30, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||channel THiRteen|
|Former callsigns||WLWI (1957–1976)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
|Former affiliations||ABC (1957–1979)|
|Transmitter power||30 kW|
|Height||299.0 m (HAAT)
299.9 m (AGL)
The station signed on October 30, 1957 as ABC affiliate WLWI (often rendered in print as WLW-I), owned by Crosley Broadcasting Corporation. It was one of five stations which made up the Cincinnati-based WLW television network. Other stations included in this network were WLWT in Cincinnati, WLWC (now WCMH-TV) in Columbus, WLWA (now WXIA-TV) in Atlanta and WLWD (now WDTN) in Dayton.
From 1957 to 1962, the station was tied up in one of the most heated licensing disputes in early television history. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) originally awarded the license to a group headed by Union Federal Savings and Loan president George Sadlier. However, after an appeal, the FCC reversed itself and awarded the license to Crosley. One of the other competitors, Richard Fairbanks, owner of WIBC-AM 1070 sued the FCC. Fairbanks claimed that the FCC had erred in awarding the last VHF license in Indianapolis to a company based in Cincinnati when there were viable potential licensees in Indianapolis. The suit, however, was filed too late to prevent WLWI from signing on.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals overturned the FCC's decision in 1958, but allowed Crosley to continue running the station pending further FCC action. In 1961, the FCC awarded Fairbanks the channel 13 license, but Crosley appealed. A year later, Crosley and Fairbanks reached a deal in which Fairbanks bought WLWA in return for allowing Crosley to keep WLWI.
Amid this instability in ownership, WLWI found the going rather difficult. It was also dogged by a weaker network affiliation; ABC would not be on an equal footing with CBS and NBC until the 1970s. WLWI spent most of its first 17 years as an also-ran behind WFBM-TV (now WRTV) and WISH-TV. In some cases, it even fell to fourth place behind WTTV.
From last place to ratings leadership
Crosley/Avco poured a lot of money into WLWI, but eventually concluded that it was a third-rate operation and put it up for sale. The Wolfe family, owners of the Columbus Dispatch andWBNS-TV in Columbus, bought the station from Avco in 1974 and changed the calls to WTHR two years later. With new ownership in place, on-air quality began to improve, but WTHR was still rating third behind WISH and WRTV.
In the case of the ABC affiliation, the network rose to first place and was seeking out stronger local stations to affiliate with in many markets; NBC, meanwhile, was the lowest rated network. So in 1979, WTHR swapped affiliations with WRTV and became an NBC affiliate. Ratings were slow to improve until the mid-1990s, when WTHR hired former CBS News correspondent John Stehr to anchor its evening newscasts. WTHR quickly moved from third to second place after a botched relaunch at WRTV. Changes continued to be made, and in 1999, WTHR's Eyewitness News surged past then-dominant WISH in several key news timeslots, moving to first place for the first time in its history. By 2002, WTHR beat WISH in all news timeslots and changed its slogan to "Indiana's News Leader".
On September 2, 2007 WTHR celebrated its 50th anniversary like its sister station in Columbus, WTHR used the song "Carousels (Dreaming of Tomorrow)" by Columbus, Ohio rock band Alamoth Lane, which was also used on WBNS as a large marketing campaign to promote the launch of its newscasts in high definition.  
|13.2||SkyTrak Weather Network|
WTHR used to have a partnership agreement with then-UPN affiliate WNDY-TV (channel 23; now a MyNetworkTV affiliate). Under the partnership, WTHR produced a 10 p.m. newscast for WNDY. However, the partnership ended when WNDY was purchased by LIN TV Corporation, which also owned WISH-TV. WISH-TV then assumed responsibility of the production of WNDY's 10 p.m. newscast. WTHR now airs a short 8 minute "First Forecast" on the company-owned SkyTrak Weather Network, channel 50, in lieu of a 10 p.m. newscast. SkyTrak Weather Network also airs constant weather forecasts for Central Indiana and replays of WTHR's midday, 6 p.m. newscasts, and short five-minute news updates throughout the day.
Beginning with the 10 p.m. Eyewitness News Nightbeat newscast on November 12, 2006, WTHR became the first station in Indiana to broadcast local news in High Definition, making it one of only seven TV stations in the Midwest broadcasting news in HD (the others being fellow Indianapolis station WISH-TV, WKYC-TV in Cleveland, KSDK in St. Louis, KARE-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul, WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, and sister station WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio). WTHR broadcasts its local newscasts in 1080i high definition, which is the same high definition resolution as NBC network programming.
On October 2, 2007 starting with the noon newscast, WTHR began shooting, editing and transmitting field live shots in widescreen. This change will eliminate the need for pillars on these elements. It is important to note the difference between widescreen and high definition, as these three elements are being shot in 1080i, but due to current editing, transmission and storage facilities they are converted to a lower resolution for broadcast.
After several NBC affiliates in markets larger than Indianapolis switched to a different network and/or dropped the Eyewitness News tagline in the past two decades, WTHR is now the largest NBC affiliate to use Eyewitness News continuously to date. This is based on the fact the branding was originally synonymus with most ABC-owned stations and the now-defunctGroup W (Westinghouse) stations now owned by CBS.
WTHR has over the years received national honors for its news division, including Peabody Awards for two 2006 reports, "Cause for Alarm" (an investigation into faulty tornado sirens in Indiana) and "Prescription Privacy" (an investigation of improper disposal of personal pharmacy records); WTHR would earn a third Peabody for 2010's "Reality Check: Where Are the Jobs?", which revealed grossly exaggerated job creation claims made by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
- Tom Atkins and the 6:15 News/The World Tonight
- Tom Atkins News
- Eyewitness to News
- Eyewitness News (19??–1976)
- Eyewitness NewsCenter 13 (1976–1979)
- NewsCenter 13 (1979–1993)
- NewsChannel 13 (1993–1995)
- (Channel) 13 Eyewitness News (1995–present, modified in late 2011 dropping the "Channel")
- Channel 13 Eyewitness News Sunrise (weekday morning newscast)
- Channel 13 Eyewitness News Weekend Sunrise (weekend morning newscast)
- Channel 13 Eyewitness News at Noon/Channel 13 Eyewitness News at 12:30 p.m. (midday newscasts)
- Channel 13 Eyewitness News at 5 (5 p.m. newscast)
- Channel 13 Eyewitness News at 5:30 (5:30 p.m. newscast)
- Channel 13 Eyewitness News at 6 (6 p.m. newscast)
- Channel 13 Eyewitness News NightBeat (11 p.m. newscast)
- 13 Sports Jam (Sunday sports wrap-up program)
- Closer to Your World (1970s)
- You're on Top of It All with 13 (1976–1979; image campaign composed by Al Ham)
- Channel 13, Proud as a Peacock! (1979-1981; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- Hello Indiana, Channel 13 Loves You! (1980–198? & 1991; image campaign composed by Frank Gari, vocals mainly by Florence Warner)
- The NewsCenter of Indiana (1980s)
- Channel 13, Our Pride is Showing (1981-1982; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- We're Channel 13, Just Watch Us Now (1982–1983; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- Channel 13 There, Be There (1983–1984; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- Channel 13, Let's All Be There (1984-1986; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- Come Home to Channel 13 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- Come on Home to Channel 13 (1987-1988; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- The Heart of Indiana (1987–1992)
- This Is Indiana, and Proud to Call It Home! (1987–1994; also "Proud To Call It Home!")
- Come Home to the Best, WTHR (1988-1990; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- WTHR, The Place to Be! (1990-1992; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- It's A Whole New Channel 13 (1992-1993; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- Indiana's NewsChannel (1992–1995)
- The Stars Are Back on Channel 13 (1993-1994; localized version of NBC network slogan)
- Indiana, 13's On Your Side (1994–1997; image campaign composed by Frank Gari)
- Coverage You Can Count On (1995–2000; still appears on some WTHR-owned vehicles)
- The Heart of Central Indiana (2000–2003)
- Indiana's News Leader (2003–present)
Current on-air staff (as of July 2010)
- Kris Kirschner - weekend mornings "Eyewitness News Weekend Sunrise" (Saturdays 6-7 and 8-10 a.m.; Sundays 6-8 and 9-10 a.m.)
- Bruce Kopp - weekday mornings "Eyewitness News Sunrise" (4:30-7 a.m.)
- Julia Moffitt - weekday mornings "Eyewitness News Sunrise" (4:30-7 a.m.)
- Andrea Morehead - weeknights at 5 and 11 p.m.
- Jennie Runevitch - weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.
- John Stehr - weeknights at 5, 6, and 11 p.m.
- Scott Swan - weekdays at noon and 5:30 p.m.
- Anne Marie Tiernon - weeknights at 5:30 and 6 p.m.
SkyTrak Weather Team
- Chris Wright (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.
- Scott Akin (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekends at 11 p.m.
- Chuck Lofton (NWA Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Eyewitness News Sunrise" (4:30-7 a.m.)
- Nicole Misencik (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings "Eyewitness News Weekend Sunrise"; weekends at 6 p.m.
- David Calabro - Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and Sunday-Thursdays at 11 p.m.
- Eric Yutzy - Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m., also sports reporter
- Richard Nye - weeknight sports reporter
- Dick Rea - sports reporter and fill-in anchor
- Don Hein - sports reporter
- Cat Andersen - general assignment reporter
- Jeremy Brilliant - general assignment reporter
- Sandra Chapman - investigative reporter ("13 Investigates")
- Lynsay Clutter - general assignment reporter
- Richard Essex - general assignment reporter
- Steve Jefferson - crime beat reporter
- Captain Paul Kasey - morning traffic reporter ("SkyWatch Traffic")
- Emily Longnecker - general assignment reporter
- David MacAnally - general assignment reporter
- Mary Milz - CityBeat reporter
- Dave Patania - fitness contributor
- Mimi Pierce - morning traffic reporter ("SkyWatch Traffic")
- Chris Proffitt - North bureau reporter
- Kevin Rader - political reporter
- Jennifer Reyes - general assignment reporter
- Bob Segall - investigative reporter ("13 Investigates")
- Tom Walker - Washington, DC correspondent
- Rich Van Wyk - money and education reporter
Notable former employees
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTHR
- Listing 1024109 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTHR-TV
- ^ http://www.dispatchbroadcast.com/wthr.html
- ^ "WTHR's 50th Anniversary promo" (FLV). WTHR-TV Indianapolis. 2007-09-02. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
- ^ "WBNS-TV Station Image Promo; Alamoth Lane - Carousels (Dreaming of Tomorrow)". WBNS-TV Columbus. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- ^ "WBNS-TV Station Image Promo Version 1". WBNS-TV Columbus. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- ^ "WBNS-TV Station Image Promo Version 2". WBNS-TV Columbus. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- ^ WTHR - Indianapolis News and Weather - Westfield Insurance Brain Game
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ FCC DTV status report for WTHR
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qTfl7AEdHg
- ^ http://www.southernmedia-nmsa.com/audioplayer_main.php?media=opens,2190,0
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOjfdrCZXbU
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpkwgFwahuE
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POTL4aAGpfM
- ^ http://www.southernmedia-nmsa.com/audioplayer_main.php?media=opens,2192,1
- ^ http://www.southernmedia-nmsa.com/audioplayer_main.php?media=opens,2193,0
- ^ http://www.southernmedia-nmsa.com/audioplayer_main.php?media=opens,2194,0
- ^ http://www.southernmedia-nmsa.com/audioplayer_main.php?media=opens,2197,0