WWTI is the ABC-affiliated television station for the North Country of New York State that is licensed to Watertown. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 from a transmitter southwest of Copenhagen. The station can also be seen on Time Warner channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 889. Owned by Newport Television, the channel has studios on Arsenal Street in Downtown Watertown. Syndicated programming on WWTI includes: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Judge Judy, Entertainment Tonight, and Dr. Phil. It operates the area's CW affiliate on a second digital subchannel. Known on-air as The North Country CW, this is also offered on Time Warner channel 14.

Although WWTI was originally a separate station and is still considered one, it now serves as a semi-satellite of sister station and ABC affiliate WSYR-TV in Syracuse. Master control and some internal operation of this station is based in centralcasting facilities at WSYR on Bridge Street in East Syracuse.

WWTI (semi-satellite of WSYR-TV Syracuse, New York)


Watertown, New York
Branding ABC 50 (general)

NewsChannel 9 The North Counrty CW (on DT2)

Slogan We're Always On! &

Anytime, Anywhere: NewsChannel 9 is Everywhere.

Channels Digital: 21 (UHF)
Subchannels 50.1 ABC

50.2 The CW

Owner Newport Television, LLC

(Newport Television License, LLC)

First air date September 23, 1987
Call letters' meaning Welcome to Watertown /

Thousand Islands

Former callsigns WFYF-TV (1987-1990)
Former channel number(s) 50 (UHF analog, 1987-2009)
Former affiliations Fox (secondary, 1994-2000)
Transmitter power 25 kW
Height 331 m
Facility ID 16747
Transmitter coordinates 43°52′47″N 75°43′12″W / 43.87972°N 75.72°W / 43.87972; -75.72

[edit] History

[3][4]Former logo.On September 23, 1987, the station began broadcasting an analog signal on UHF channel 50 with the calls WFYF-TV. It replaced a repeater of Utica's WUTR. It was the second commercial television station in the Watertown market behind WWNY-TV which had the area very much to itself since going on-the-air in late-1954. After the station went bankrupt under its initial investors (a group of Watertown businessmen), it were sold to Smith Broadcasting in 1990 and the current call sign WWTI was adopted.

The Ackerley Group purchased the station in 2000 and Clear Channel Communications took control of WWTI with its purchase of Ackerley in 2001. Until Fox affiliate WNYF (which had formerly been a WWTI translator but is now operated by WWNY) went on-the-air in 2000, WWTI also had a secondary affiliation with the network airing its Sunday NFL games. This station began broadcasting a digital signal on UHF channel 21 on July 30, 2003 .

On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would end broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of its corporate parents, CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. Cable-only "WBWT" served as the area's WB affiliate via The WB 100+ and had been operated by WWTI since its launch in 1998. On September 18, this station created a new second digital subchannel to simulcast WBWT and offer access to CW programming to non-cable viewers. WBWT then began to use the WWTI-DT2 calls officially and became part of The CW Plus a service similar to The WB 100+.

On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Providence Equity Partners. WWTI's broadcasts which were to be digital-only effective February 17, 2009 [1] were forced to continue in both analog and digital until June 12 due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) objections [2] at an estimated $50,000 thousand dollars in additional cost. [3] At 11:59 P.M. on that date it finally shut down its analog transmitter and became digital exclusive. On September 14, 2009, WWTI switched its branding to "ABC 50" and website from "" to "" de-emphasizing local news. [4]

[edit] News operation

[5][6]WWTI's news open simulcasted from WSYR.WWTI maintained a minimal local news presence for several years. Having never successfully competed with WWNY, the nightly NewsWatch 50 broadcasts were canceled in 2004. For a short time, the station replaced full newscasts with a 24 Hour News Source-style series of short hourly news updates seen during the day. It continued to air several daily news and weather updates under the NewsWatch 50 branding.

In December 2006, WWTI launched a weeknight news update at 5 known as 5 at 5. This broadcast was canceled when WWTI was hit by across the board cuts from Newport Television in June 2009. Weekday morning newsman Alan Walts was let go, eventually ending up on WTNY, while the station lost weekday morning meteorologist Ryan Coyle (who was based in Binghamton) due to the shutdown of news operations at sister stations WIVT and WBGH-CA. Another former meteorologist seen on WWTI was Samantha Hensell who was also based at the Binghamton operation. This station's lone locally-based meteorologist Jay Donovan was also let go at about the same time. Only longtime anchor John Moore remained based in Watertown. Eventually, his weekday morning cut-ins were taken off-the-air and he produced news and features for the station's website until February 2010 when he accepted a news position with rival WWNY. Eventually, this station hired a reporter to contribute content to WSYR in Syracuse as well as WWTI's website.

WWTI began simulcasting WSYR's nightly 11 o'clock news and added half-hour reports from the Buffalo Bills training camp produced by fellow ABC affiliate and sister station WHAM-TV in Rochester. [5] The station is currently functioning as a news bureau of WSYR sharing content from the North Country. On September 8, 2009, WWTI began simulcasting WSYR's weekday morning and nightly 6 o'clock newscasts. [5] As with all CW Plus affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, WWTI-DT2 airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 6 to 9.

[edit] Newscast titles

  • NewsWatch 50 (1990s-2009)
  • NewsChannel 9 (2009-present, used during simulcasts of WSYR's newscasts)

[edit] Station slogans

  • "Always On" (2006-2009)
  • "We're Always On!" (2009-present)
  • "Anytime, Anywhere: NewsChannel 9 is Everywhere." (2009-present, used during simulcasts of WSYR's newscasts)

[edit] News team


  • Dan Cummings - weekday mornings and investigative reporter
  • Christie Casciano - weekday mornings and crime reporter
  • Carrie Lazarus - weeknights at 6 and "Family Healthcast" segment producer
  • Rod Wood - weeknights and consumer reporter
  • Racquel Asa - weekends and reporter

Storm Team Meteorologists


  • Steve Infanti - Director seen weeknights and Friday Night Fever host
  • Sal Maneen - weekends and sports reporter


  • Jeff Kulikowsky - Senior
  • Kelly Quinn - fill-in news anchor
  • Kim Brown - weekday mornings
  • Holly Boname - North Country
  • Tim Fox - producer
  • Keith Kobland - producer
  • Jan Carabeo
  • Tanja Babich

Former staff

  • Alan Walts - weekday morning news anchor
  • John Moore - weeknight news anchor and reporter
  • Ryan Coyle - weekday morning meteorologist (based at WIVT/WBGH)
  • Samantha Hensell - weeknight meteorologist (based at WIVT/WBGH)
  • Jay Donovan - weeknight meteorologist
  • Tom Messner - weeknight meteorologist (1987-1990, now at WPTZ)
  • Rob Krone - weekend sports anchor and sports reporter
  • Alice Massimi - reporter, photographer, editor, producer, and anchor (now at WSAV-TV)

[edit] References

  1. ^ WWTI to go all digital on Feb. 17, WWTI Newswatch 50, February 9, 2009
  2. ^ FCC delays stations' switch to digital, WWNY TO APPEAL: Local affiliates told to keep analog signal on, NANCY MADSEN, Watertown (NY) Daily Times, FEBRUARY 14, 2009
  3. ^ [ WWTI to continue analog broadcast until June 12, WWTI Newswatch 50, February 13, 2009
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b

[edit] External links

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