Chronology data should be put on the appropriate chronology page ("Chronology of call letters WZTV") .
Other material must be reorganized into appropriate categories of articles.
|Branding||Fox 17 (general)
Fox 17 News
|Channels||Digital: 15 (UHF)|
|Subchannels||17.1 Fox HD
17.2 Fox SD
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WZTV Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||Original incarnation: August 5, 1968
Current incarnation: March 6, 1976
|Call letters' meaning||Zenith TeleVision|
|Sister station(s)||WNAB, WUXP-TV|
|Former callsigns||WMCV (1968-1971)|
|Former channel number(s)||17 (UHF analog, 1968-1971, 1976-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1968-1971 & 1976-1990)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||36°19′40″N 88°41′31.3″W / 36.32778°N 88.692028°W / 36.32778; -88.692028|
The station originally began broadcasting on August 5, 1968 as WMCV from a small studio in West Nashville. It was the area's first UHF station, as well as the state's first independent station. Not surprisingly with three well-established network affiliates in the market, WMCV did not attract many advertisers and relied mainly on old movies, cartoons, religion, and syndicated fare. Many area households probably did not have sets capable of receiving the station's signal anyway. This was very typical of UHF start-ups in the late-1960s and early-1970s. It went off the air on March 10, 1971. After a false start ended hopes for a 1974 return, new owner Reel Broadcasting brought the station back as WZTV on March 6, 1976 initially branding it as "Z TV" and later "Z 17".
WZTV's first several years showed far more promise in the programming lineup than WMCV ever did with coverage of college basketball and Cincinnati Reds baseball supplementing the usual independent syndicated program assortment such as cartoons, classic sitcoms, old movies, westerns, and reruns of old network dramas. Even though the station took out ads in TV Guide in 1979 and 1980 offering assistance to Middle Tennessee viewers who had problems receiving its UHF signal, the problem became mostly a moot one by the late-1980s as many households could now view the station clearly via cable.
In the early-1980s, WZTV was sold to Multimedia, who owned several NBC and CBS affiliates around the country. WZTV soon got some competition in the form of Murfreesboro-based WFYZ (channel 39), which took to the air in 1983. Soon after, in 1984, TVX Broadcast Group signed on WCAY-TV (channel 30). However, WZTV not only remained the dominant independent station in Middle Tennessee, but was the only one operating in the black.
Nashville was only a medium-sized market at the time, and by 1985, it was obvious that it was not big enough for three independent stations. However, Multimedia and TVX had more resources than Murfreesboro TV Corporation, owners of WFYZ, could possibly hope to match. With this scenario, channel 39 opted to broadcast only music videos (similar to MTV). Later that year, the Christian Television Network bought WFYZ and switched it to an all-religious format in 1986 under new calls, WHTN. WZTV then acquired most of WFYZ's former shows.
In 1988, Multimedia sold WZTV to Act III Broadcasting, who had a reputation for buying its competitors' stronger programming inventory. However, in most of those cases, Act III's competition was not nearly as well-heeled as TVX, so this strategy wasn't successful in Nashville. In 1987, TVX affiliated all of its stations, including WCAY, with the newly-launched Fox network. However, WCAY did not get a substantial ratings boost. TVX bought Taft Broadcasting's five non-Big Three stations later that year. Two of these stations were Fox affiliates while the other three were independent. TVX acquired massive debt as well, and was forced to some of its under-performing medium-market stations to service the new debt. WCAY and sister station WMKW in Memphis were sold to MT Communications. After the sale was complete, WCAY changed its call sign to WXMT.
The deal between Fox and TVX had one catch. If one of TVX's under-performing stations (like WCAY / WXMT) was sold, that station could lose its Fox affiliation. As a result, in 1990, Fox pulled its affiliation from WXMT and moved it to WZTV. Act III was not done yet. The company approached Thompson about buying WXMT's syndicated programming and moving it to WZTV, which would have left WXMT with only religious shows and the Home Shopping Network. Thompson initially agreed but backed out of the deal a few days later. He came up with another idea where WXMT would sell its sitcoms, dramas, and movies to WZTV while WXMT would keep barter shows and cartoons. The deal closed in mid-February, around the same time that WZTV changed its on-air name to the current "Fox 17".
Over the years, WZTV began going towards more first-run talk, court, and reality shows. Most of channel 17's sitcoms and cartoons moved to WXMT around this time. In 1994, Act III merged with Abry. Only a year later, Sinclair bought most of Abry's stations, including WZTV. Sinclair then entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with channel 30, which was now UPN affiliate WUXP. Most of WZTV's sitcoms and cartoons moved to WUXP with Sinclair buying that station outright in 2001. Fox ended the weekday cartoon block in 2001 allowing its affiliates to add even more first-run syndicated shows. Today, WZTV offers Fox programming, first-run reality / talk / court shows, and recent sitcoms.
From 2001 until September 5, 2006, this station served as the de-facto Fox affiliate for Bowling Green, Kentucky filling a gap created in 2001 when WNKY dropped its Fox affiliation and switched to NBC. WZTV was offered on cable in that area and could be received over-the-air in the southern areas of the market. In 2006, ABC affiliate WBKO began to broadcast a Fox affiliate on a new second digital subchannel. Also that year, all Sinclair-owned Fox affiliates including WZTV extended their affiliation contracts until at least March 2012. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion that took on June 12, 2009,  WZTV remained on its pre-transition channel number, 15.  However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display its virtual channel as 17.
Its news open.On July 7, 1997, WZTV began a prime time newscast called Fox News at 9 after the network demanded that all its affiliates air local news. This station was one of the few Fox affiliates in the top 50 markets that did not air local news before that. Initially, ABC affiliate WKRN-TV produced the broadcasts on WZTV which was then thirty minutes long and aired Sunday through Friday. Three years later on July 6, 2000, WZTV began its own news department and expanded the 9 p.m. newscast to a full hour. It currently airs seven days a week.
In 2004, WZTV launched Fox 17 News: Late Edition at 10 p.m., a half-hour show featuring local news and weather combined with national segments from Sinclair's News Central operation based at company headquarters in Hunt Valley suburbs. This came around the time that most larger Fox stations were adding newscasts at 10 p.m. Central (11 p.m. Eastern). After News Central was discontinued in March 2006, WZTV reformatted the program as Fox 17 News at 10 adding local sports and expanding the local news and weather segments. The show airs against late night newscasts from Nashville's big three network affiliates.
Beginning in early 2007, the station let go several of its news personalities, including main anchor Ashley Webster and weekend meteorologist Cindy Tremblay . Ashley Webster joined the Fox Business Network in October 2007 as the overseas market reporter. Meanwhile, Chief Meteorologist Joe Case left to ministry opportunities and weekend sports anchor Amy Fadool was promoted to sports anchor for Sinclair flagship WBFF-TV in Baltimore. Former WTVF anchor/reporter Scott Couch took Webster's position as lead anchor. On April 21, 2008, WZTV launched the Fox 17 Morning News from 5-7 a.m. and rescheduled the news magazine Tennessee Mornings to air from 7-9 a.m.
As of June 2010, WZTV is one of two network affiliates in Middle Tennessee that have not switched to high definition newscasts.
- Fox News at Nine (1997-2000)
- Fox 17 News (2000-present)
- "You're Always Home with Fox 17" (1999-2000)
- Stacy Case - weeknights at 9 and 10 p.m. reporter
- Scott Couch - weeknights at 9 and 10 p.m.; also reporter
- Erika Kurre - weekends at 9 p.m.; also fill-in
- Nick Paranjape - weekday mornings (5-7 a.m.); also reporter
- Kelly Sutton - weekday mornings (7-9 a.m.)
- Shane Tallant - weekday mornings (7-9 a.m.)
Fox 17 Sky Watch Weather
- Arch Kennedy (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 9 and 10 p.m.
- Flint Adam - Weather Anchor; weekends at 9 p.m., also news reporter
- Craig Edwards (NWA Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings
- Paul Jones - Sports Director; weeknights at 9 and 10 p.m.
- Dave Foster - Sports Anchor; weekends at 9 p.m.
- Dan Phillips - sports reporter and photographer
- Sky Arnold - general assignment reporter
- John Dunn - general assignment reporter
- Erika Lathon - general assignment reporter
- Brandy Malone - weekday morning traffic reporter
- Stacy McCloud - entertainment reporter
- Justin McFarland - general assignment reporter
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- ^ "CDBS Print". http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101308898&formid=387&fac_num=418.