Radio-TV Broadcast History

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WBAY-TV is the ABC television affiliate in Green Bay, Wisconsin, broadcasting on UHF digital channel 23 (or PSIP channel 2) from a transmitter located in the town of Ledgeview, Wisconsin, and master control based in its building in downtown Green Bay. It signed on the air on March 17, 1953 as the second television station in Wisconsin, after WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.



Green Bay, Wisconsin
Branding WBAY-TV 2 (general)

Action 2 News (newscasts)

Slogan Coverage You Can Count On
Channels Digital: 23 (UHF) (PSIP 2)
Affiliations ABC

Local weather (DT2) Retro Television Network (DT3)

Owner Young Broadcasting

(Young Broadcasting Of Green Bay, Inc., Debtor-in-Possession)

Founded March 17, 1953
Call letters' meaning W Green BAY
Former channel number(s) Analog:

2 (1953-2009)

Former affiliations CBS (1953-1992)

DuMont (1953-1956)[1]

Transmitter power 1000 kW (digital)
Height 372 m (digital)
Facility ID 74417
Transmitter coordinates 44°24′34.6″N 88°0′6.7″W / 44.409611°N 88.001861°W / 44.409611; -88.001861

The station is currently owned by Young Broadcasting, and is one of 7 Young-owned stations whose management and operations would be handled by Gray Television as part of a proposed takeover of Young Broadcasting by its secured creditors (a plan tentatively approved by a New York bankruptcy judge on July 22, 2009; it was approved in Late April 2010[2]). Under Gray management, this would make it a sister station in Wisconsin to NBC affiliates WMTV in Madison and WEAU in Eau Claire. The station currently exchanges news stories with Hearst-Argyle Television's WISN-TV in Milwaukee, Quincy Newspapers' network of stations throughout the state, all of them ABC affiliates, and Hubbard Broadcasting's ABC stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota.


[hide]*1 History

[edit] History[]

[4][5]Studios in 2007WBAY-TV was originally owned by the Norbertine Order of Priests, whose abbey is in nearby De Pere. The priests run St. Norbert College in De Pere and already operated radio stations in Green Bay and Appleton. After carrying multiple networks in its early years, the station became a primary CBS affiliate, and benefited from that network's coverage of National Football League games, primarily of the Green Bay Packers. Packers games drew up to a 90 percent share of the audience during the 1960s success of teams coached by Vince Lombardi, and the station carried "The Vince Lombardi Show." The station also originated the team's exhibition game coverage from the 1960s to 2002 with some exceptions. Main anchor Bill Jartz has been Lambeau Field's PA system announcer since the start of the 2005-2006 season. The station has continued to air Monday Night Football Packer games originating from ESPN since the 2006 season.

In the mid-1970s, WBAY was sold to Nationwide Communications, Inc., which operated the station until 1993, when it was sold to Young Broadcasting.

CBS purchased the assets of Midwest Television in that same year to acquire its long-time strong Twin Cities affiliate WCCO-TV/AM; Midwest also owned Channel 2's longtime competitor, then-ABC affiliate WFRV/WJMN (Channel 5/3). CBS considered WBAY a strong affiliate, trying to sell WFRV/WJMN after closing the deal with Midwest. FCC rules were relaxed at the time to allow one entity to own more stations, so the network decided to keep the two stations and affiliate WFRV/WJMN with its own network in 1992, giving Channel 2 affiliation with ABC. In 2007, CBS sold WFRV/WJMN to Liberty Media.

WBAY insisted that the change take place on or near the anniversary of its sign-on date, March 17. Since that date fell on a Tuesday in 1992, WFRV and WBAY swapped networks on Sunday, March 15, with "TV-2" joining ABC.

The station also usually pre-empts the first hour (7-8pm Central) of the ABC lineup on Tuesday evenings during the football season to carry the local program Tuesday Night Touchback, which was formerly known as Monday Night Countdown before it was moved in 2007 because of Dancing with the Stars and the departure from ABC of Monday Night Football (for most of the 2000's, the slot has been among the lowest-rated on ABC's primetime schedule, as was the case with the pre-MNF timeslot). That hour then airs hours later on early Wednesday morning after Jimmy Kimmel Live during the football season. However in November 2009 this was changed temporarily due to viewer feedback involving the pre-emption of the series premiere of V which forced that program to be aired after the Saturday late news; for the remainder of November V aired at 7pm, while Tuesday Night Touchback pre-empted The Insider and aired before prime time in a half-hour truncated form.

The station's headquarters in downtown Green Bay was built in 1924 as a former Knights of Columbus clubhouse and later was turned into a private Roman Catholic high school during the Great Depression when the Norbertines took over the building. The former gymnasium/auditorium is now called the WBAY Auditorium and is used as the studio for the station's Cerebral Palsy telethon. During the early years of WBAY, it served as the main studio until 1954 when an addition was built behind the main building. The auditorium has also been used for local theatrical productions. The station's newsroom is in the basement of the building in an area that originally held a swimming pool and bowling alley. The WBAY building also served as the home of the WBAY radio stations (now WTAQ and WIXX), which were later purchased by Midwest Communications in the late 1970's, but remained in the building until Midwest built a combined Green Bay operations facility/company headquarters in 2007 and a news-weather sharing agreement maintained for many years was discontinued in favor of WLUK-TV.

Since late January 2010, the station has decided to no longer go off-the-air during early morning Saturdays and Sundays after a major transmitter problem forced the station to reconsider this mode of operation. WBAY was the last commercial station in the state to move to 24/7 broadcasting, and former off-the-air hours on WBAY's main signal are now taken up by a Stormcenter 2 24/7 simulcast.

The station also sponsors the yearly "WBAY Boat Show" and the "WBAY RV and Camping Show", both held in the winter months at the Brown County Arena/Shopko Hall, along with a Boy Scout door-to-door food drive ("Scouting for Food") in the fall.

[edit] Digital subchannels[]

Channel Programming
2.1 WBAY-TV's traditional schedule
2.2 Stormcenter 2 24/7
2.3 WBAY's Retro TV (Retro Television Network)

WBAY utilizes its digital channel 23 for multicasting purposes, with WBAY's primary signal being carried on 2-1 in ABC's 720p resolution. The station currently only transmits the ABC schedule and in high definition.

In late June 2010 WBAY-TV became the second commercial operation in Green Bay to air syndicated programming (previously only the ABC schedule and ESPN HD broadcasts of Monday Night Football) in high definition. The station has also begun to produce some outside advertising for local businesses and internal station promos in both HD and 16:9 standard definition.

[edit] Stormcenter 2 24/7 (2-2)[]

[6][7]Stormcenter 2 24/7's digital subchannel, seen in normal mode at the left, and in warning mode to the right.WBAY carries a local weather channel called Stormcenter 2 24/7, which is a local equivalent of ABC's O&O AccuWeather subchannels, or NBC's Weather Plus service, over its 2-2 digital subchannel, and also over the digital cable systems of Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, and Comcast of Manitowoc. Like the digital weather channels of other Young stations, the channel is produced in-house with no outside assistance and is fully automated using the station's weather computers. The loop usually consists of a weather forecast from one of the station's meteorologists, followed by current conditions, radar, travel weather, an outdoors forecast and almanac data such as temperature averages, sunrise and sunset times and the local pollen count, followed by a loop of WBAY's skycam network (Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh and Manitowoc). Seasonal conditions such as snow depth, foliage, and boat & beach weather also appear in the loop within their respective seasons. Local conditions provided by WeatherBug for several cities appear on the right side of the screen, while the five-day forecast and a weather ticker appear on the bottom; during severe weather, a severe weather message ticker and warning map take up the ticker and five-day space, as shown to the left. Currently only weather, limited advertising (for weather partner Cellcom and other advertisers) and station promotions (customized for each season) air during commercial breaks.

The subchannel is also used for local long-form news coverage, such as carrying full coverage of the Steven Avery murder trial in Chilton in 2006. Six episodes of Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, an E/I-compliant program (required on digital subchannels by the FCC at the start of 2007) air on Stormcenter 2 24/7 weekdays full-screen during the station's 5pm newscast and during the station's 8am Saturday morning newscast to provide continuous weather coverage on the station despite the regulations. The "24/7" title was formerly a misnomer due to WBAY continuing to go off-the-air for 3 1/2 hours on early Saturday and Sunday mornings, but since February 2008 the subchannel also streams online through the station's website 24/7, even during E/I programming and off-the-air periods. The subchannel now simulcasts on 2.1 on early Saturday and Sunday mornings with WBAY's launch of a 24/7 schedule.

[edit] WBAY RTV[]

In January 2008, the station launched a DT3 subchannel, WBAY RTV (formerly "RTN 2-3"), which features RTV programming customized to avoid any conflicts with other Green Bay stations already carrying some RTV shows. 2-3's E/I programming airs in one three hour block on Saturday mornings, and operations for the station (including voiceovers and transmission to WBAY) are maintained by RTV, including local commercials and promotions (though the station leaves a 24/7 station identification on-screen at all times in case RTV runs into technical difficulties). The subchannel is also carried by the same systems as Stormcenter 2 24/7 [3].

[edit] Telethon[]

WBAY holds the record for the longest running telethon on the same channel, airing the Cerebral Palsy Telethon, which has broadcast on the station since 1954. The telethon originally aired for 22 hours from Saturday 8pm-Sunday 6pm, but currently breaks between 12 midnight and 6am, as the station signs off in the overnights during weekends. Past hosts of the telethon have included Raymond Burr, Dennis James (who would later host the United Cerebral Palsy national telethon), and Tom Wopat. Currently the telethon is a local-only effort, using local broadcasters and people to host the marathon program, and the funds raised benefit the local organization, Cerebral Palsy, Inc. Before the sale of the WBAY stations by the Norbertine Fathers, the telethon was simulcast over WBAY AM (later WGEE, now WTAQ) and WBAY-FM (now WIXX).

WBAY's Cerebal Palsy telethon both pre-dated and succeeded the national telethon for United Cerebal Palsy, which ran on numerous stations nationwide from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s.

[edit] Sunday Mass[]

The station continues to air a Sunday Mass on Sunday mornings, as it has since signing on under the ownership of the Norbertine Fathers. After the sale of the station from them however, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay began producing the Mass at WBAY's studio. The Diocese provided a presider, choir, liturgical coordinator, and producer while WBAY provided camera operators, a technical director and audio technician.

However as of March 2010, the station has instead begun to carry the Passionist Spiritual Center's nationally-syndicated Mass program instead from Riverhead, New York; it is unknown if financial complications on the Diocese's end forced the ending of a locally produced service.

[edit] News operation[]

[edit] News/station presentation[]

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • Up To The Minute News (1950s)
  • Information 30/Update 30 (1960s-1970s)
  • TV-2 News (1970s-1987)
  • Action 2 News (1987-present)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • 2 Power (late 1970s-early 1980s)
  • Northeast Wisconsin's News Leader (1987-2000; news slogan)
  • Making a Difference (1993-2000; general slogan)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (2000-present)

[8] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.===[edit] News team===

[edit] Current on-air staff[]


  • Jeff Alexander - weekdays at 4 p.m.; also reporter
  • Kathryn Bracho - weekday mornings; also health reporter
  • Molly Hendrickson - weekend mornings; also weekday reporter
  • Bill Jartz - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Marcie Kobriger - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also weekday reporter
  • Cami Rapson - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Kevin Rompa - weekday mornings and noon
  • Sarah Thomsen - weekdays at 4 p.m.; also reporter

StormCenter 2

  • George Graphos (NWA Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weekdays at 4, weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Steve Beylon (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings
  • Brad Spakowitz (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - Meteorologist; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.
  • Justin Zollitsch (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon

Action 2 Sports

  • Chris Roth - Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • John Gillespie - Sports Anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.
  • Michelle Tuckner - Sports Anchor; fill-in, also Packers field reporter


  • Natalie Arnold - Fox River Valley reporter
  • Kristin Byrne - general assignment reporter
  • Chris Hrapsky - general assignment reporter
  • Sara Kronenberg - general assignment reporter
  • Emily Matesic - general assignment reporter
  • Matt Smith - general assignment reporter
  • Jason Zimmerman - general assignment reporter

[edit] Past staff[]

  • Adam Aaro (now at KTVZ in Bend, OR)
  • Jerry Burke (retired)
  • John Campbell - sports director (now at KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • Paul Daniel
  • Gary Horcher (now at KIRO-TV in Seattle, WA)
  • Tim Hunt
  • Doug Higgins (now at WLUK)
  • Jenn Karlman
  • Sula Kim (now at WVEC in Norfolk, VA)
  • Lisa Manna (now at WTMJ in Milwaukee)
  • Judy Markee (now at WWMT in Kalamazoo, MI)
  • Chuck Ramsay (retired)
  • Elizabeth Ries (now at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul)
  • Orion Samuelson (1950s, now at WGN in Chicago)
  • Hazel Sanchez (now at WCBS in New York City)
  • Mary Smits
  • Ben Tracy (now correspondent for the CBS Evening News)
  • Mick Trevey (now at WTMJ in Milwaukee)
  • Michelle Tuzee (now at KABC in Los Angeles)
  • Lorene Wagner (later worked for WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, then WSYX in Columbus, OH)
  • Larry Wentz (now at KCAU-TV in Sioux City, IA)
  • Tom Zalaski (now at WFRV)
  • Steve Danehy

[edit] References[]

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[edit] External links[]