Radio-TV Broadcast History

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WKBN-TV digital channel 41 (virtual channel 27) is the CBS-affiliated television station for Youngstown, Ohio. Its transmitter is located at its studios on Sunset Boulevard in Boardman Township (although its mailing address is Youngstown). Owned by New Vision Television, the station's sister to and shares studios with low-powered FOX affiliates WYFX-LP / WFXI-CA and ABC affiliate WYTV (as well as its MyNetworkTV subchannel). WYTV is owned by Parkin Broadcasting, LLC but operated by New Vision Television though a shared services agreement (SSA). Syndicated programming on WKBN includes: The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, Deal or No Deal,and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Youngstown, Ohio
Branding WKBN 27 (general)

27 First News (newscasts) FOX Youngstown (on DT2)

Slogan Where Your News

Comes First

Channels Digital: 41 (UHF)

Virtual: 27 (PSIP)

Subchannels 27.1 CBS

27.2 FOX

Affiliations CBS
Owner New Vision Television

(NVT Youngstown Licensee, LLC)

First air date January 11, 1953
Call letters' meaning taken from former sister

radio station WKBN

Sister station(s) WYFX-LP / WFXI-CA


Former channel number(s) Analog:

27 (1953-2009)

Former affiliations ABC (secondary, 1953-1957)

DuMont (secondary, 1953-1956)

Transmitter power 700 kW (digital)
Height 418 m (digital)
Facility ID 73153
Transmitter coordinates 41°3′24″N 80°38′44″W / 41.05667°N 80.64556°W / 41.05667; -80.64556

Digital television[]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed. Because WYFX and WFXI are low-powered, they don't broadcast digital signals of their own. Therefore, there's one airing in high definition on WKBN-DT2. Both subchannels broadcast at 720p.

Channel Name Programming
27.1 WKBN-DT main WKBN-HD programming / CBS
27.2 WKBN-DT2 FOX Youngstown HD (WYFX-LP)


The station went on-the-air January 11, 1953 as the first UHF station in Ohio and the sixth in the nation, beating WFMJ-TV to the air by 56 days. It was owned by the Williamson family along with WKBN radio (AM 570 and FM 98.9, now WMXY). The radio station was a CBS Radio affiliate, and out of loyalty, the television station has been a primary CBS affiliate from the beginning. It also had secondary affiliations with ABC and DuMont. Shortly afterward, WKST-TV in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvania signed-on and took the ABC affiliation. With DuMont off-the-air three years later, WKBN was solely affiliated with CBS by the end of 1956. [1]

In 1997, the Williamsons sold the station to Gocom which later became Piedmont Television and the station changed its logo and graphics package shortly after. Although WKBN is still a competitive number two to longtime rival WFMJ, it lost the "locally owned-and-operated" edge that WFMJ still maintains to this day with the Maag family. Although most of the Williamsons have moved away from Youngstown, the family still makes major donations to the area. Most notably, Youngstown State University's Williamson College of Business Administration, which is housed in Williamson Hall, is named in their honor. The Williamsons held onto WKBN-AM-FM until 1999. However, WKBN-TV does retain a news and weather sharing partnership with Clear Channel Communications, the current owners of its former radio sisters.

The station gained some national attention when embarrassing photos of then-anchorwoman Catherine Bosley were leaked onto the Internet.

On April 19, 2006, WKBN began airing its digital signal on UHF channel 41. The digital broadcast features CBS programming in high definition (when available) and also carries a simulcast of low-powered sister stations WYFX-LP and WFXI-CA.

On November 15, Piedmont Television announced the sale of WKBN and WYFX to New Vision Television based in Atlanta. [2][3] The sale closed in early March 2007. Shortly afterward, WKBN began operating longtime rival WYTV in a shared services agreement. This called for the consolidation of their news departments and combined web operations for sports and weather. The two stations gradually had their on-air look mirror each other while their own respective web sites are now identical.

A new logo for the stations and their websites debuted in January 2009, and the websites were redesigned. A new on-air image, created by John Christopher Burns Design, premiered on February 24, 2009, replacing graphics which date back to 1997. The "WKBN" lettering in the new logo was inspired from the WKBN sign at its historical studios. [4]

On February 8, 2009, the station did a "dual HD" test airing both college basketball on its main digital signal and the Gatorade Duel (the qualifying race for the Daytona 500) on 27.2 (which simulcasts WYFX) in a possible attempt to broadcast both signals in high definition full-time. WKBN had to compress both signals to the 720p format in order to make it possible. It began broadcasting both channels in high definition full-time the next day making WKBN the eighth station nationally to broadcast two subchannels on the same signal in high definition,[5] and currently the only one in the Youngstown market.

The downside to this process is that it reduces the HD picture quality WKBN and WYFX can achieve. This quality difference is noticeable when compared to other stations not compressing their signals. Some refer to this as "HD-Lite" Or "Faux HD".

On the other hand, WKBN's powerful signal provides viewers in the eastern half of the Cleveland DMA an alternative to WJW (FOX) and WOIO (CBS) which broadcast on channels 8 and 10, respectively. VHF has proven to be a problem with digital television and frustrated viewers have had better luck picking up WKBN's UHF signal than with WJW and WOIO's VHF signals.

News team[]

WKBN airs five daily newscasts on weekdays. The weekday morning show, 27 First News This Morning, began in 1992. There is a talk show on Sunday mornings, hosted by Dee Crawford, who interviews various people from the area. On December 10, 2007, WKBN and Parkin Broadcasting (owner of WYTV) made the announcement that this station was to start producing WYTV's newscasts. Because of this arrangement, there were several layoffs including WKBN's Joe Bell and Tricia Perry who were veteran reporters at the station for many years. The station also produces weekday morning and nightly 10 o'clock newscasts for WYFX / WFXI.

Unlike most CBS affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, WKBN does not air local news weeknights at 5:30, instead airing syndicated programming. The station has aired reruns of The King of Queens and later Family Feud in the past. Currently, WKBN airs the syndicated version of Deal or No Deal.

On Thursday, May 6, 2010, WKBN (along with sister stations FOX Youngstown and WYTV) made the switch to HD broadcasts starting with the 5pm newscasts. This has been long delayed due to weather, cost, and equipment issues.

On-air staff[]

Current on-air staff[]

First News anchors

  • Jeff Levkulich - weekday mornings from 5-7 A.M. and noon
  • Amy Radinovic - weekday mornings from 5-7 A.M.
  • Dave Sess - weeknights at 6, 10 (on WYFX), and 11 P.M.
  • Dan Martin - weekends at 6 and 11 & weeknight reporter

First News weather team

  • Don Guthrie - chief meteorologist
  • Rich Morgan - weekday mornings and noon
  • Paul Wetzl - weekend meteorologist

First News sports

  • Ryan Allison - sports director, weeknights at 6 & 11
  • Joe Aulisio - assistant director, weeknights at 10
  • Chad Krispinsky - weekends and reporter

First News reporters

  • Greta Mittereder - fill-in morning reporter
  • Dennis Biviano - video journalist, morning show live reporter
  • Gerry Ricciutti - chief reporter seen weeknights at 5 & 6
  • Roxann Sebest - weeknight reporter
  • Miriam Hobbs - weeknight reporter
  • Jennifer Jefcoat - weeknight reporter
  • Jason Vinkler - weeknight reporter
  • Patty Coller - reporter / fill-in weather
  • Dee Crawford - Community affairs director

Former on-air staff[]

Tom Holden (1938–2005)[]

For more than 30 years, Tom Holden was the face of Youngstown television news. Holden joined the WKBN news team in March 1972 as a reporter and sportscaster. He was made anchor of the evening newscasts in 1974, a position he held until shortly before his death. Known as "Hootie" to his friends,[citation needed] Holden was born in Youngstown in 1938. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Youngstown and received a bachelor of science in journalism from Kent State University .[6][7][8] Co-anchor Gina Marinelli[citation needed] once said, "We estimate Tom anchored more than 15,000 newscasts, raising an entire generation of Valley news watchers on his no-nonsense brand of journalism." [7] Holden stepped down from his late news anchor duties in April 2005. [6][7] He died of complications from a blood infection on June 11, 2005. [6]

Catherine Bosley[]

Main article: Catherine BosleyAnchorwoman Catherine Bosley became a full-time night-side crime reporter and back-up anchor at the station in 2000. In 2001, she was named morning show co-anchor at WKBN and became the noon show anchor in 2003. However, that spring, Bosley participated in a wet t-shirt contest while on a vacation with her husband in Key West, Florida. The event was filmed and the film of Bosley stripping and posing nude for the crowd was leaked on the Internet about 10 months later. As a result of the negative publicity, she forcibly resigned from the station.[citation needed] Bosley was then replaced by Amber Nicotra as the morning co-anchor on 27 First News This Morning in January 2004. Bosley is currently an anchor and reporter for WOIO-TV in Cleveland.

Other former staff[]

Ode Aduma
New York City-born Ode (pronounced oh-day) Aduma (born 1943) came to Youngstown in 1952. After a career as a fashion artist at Strouss' Department Store, he joined the station in 1971 as a field reporter in the days when reporters had to shoot their own video. Aduma's distinctive and polished voice on voice-over news stories made him more known than his face with his distinctive outcue, "For Newswatch 27, I'm Ode...Aduma." Nonetheless, Aduma gradually gained more face time over the years, as he eventually became host of Sundays with Ode, a locally-produced public affairs program aired Sunday mornings. Aduma continued to host the program until his retirement in 2005 [1].
Gina Marinelli
Gina Marinelli joined Tom Holden as co-anchor on WKBN evening newscasts in 1992. She came to WKBN in 1986 as an intern in the radio newsroom. She was hired after receiving a degree in telecommunications from Youngstown State University. Marinelli was on leave when WKBN announced in March 2005 that Holden would step down from the 6 and 11 P.M. newscasts and instead co-anchor the noon and 5 P.M. news. Gina was reassigned to the noon newscast with Holden and added reporting duties at 5 and 6 o'clock. Marinelli left WKBN in July 2005 for WYTV, where she co-anchored 33 News at 5 and 5:30 P.M. with Angee Shaker. Whitney Ward was hired to replace her at WKBN. When WYTV merged staffs with WKBN in December 2007, Marinelli was laid off.
Karen Rowe
Karen Rowe was hired as the very first First News at 5:30 co-anchor along with Bob Black in 1992. She left the station in 1995 to take an anchor position in Indianapolis at WRTV before going to Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV in 1997. She left television news to become a full-time mother in 1998.
Robb Schmidt
Former WKBN news anchor and sports director Robb Schmidt now works at Youngstown State as the assistant athletic director. Schmidt is also the play-by-play announcer for YSU basketball.
  • Joe Bell - reporter (departed 2007)
  • Bob Black - 5:30PM co-anchor; now at WFMJ in Youngstown
  • Catherine Bosley - Morning co-anchor/noon anchor; now at 19 Action News at WOIO in Cleveland
  • Jennifer Brindsi - Weekend anchor/reporter (2000-2005)
  • Jim Cvetkovic - Weekend anchor/reporter then Noon & 5PM anchor (departed 2007)
  • Tom Holden - Evening co-anchor (1972-2005); died June 11, 2005
  • Nicole Livas- Morning anchor-530PM co anchor (1993-1997) (departed 1997) now anchor at WAVY and WVBT Norfolk
  • Amber Nicotra - Morning co-anchor (2004-2008, now at WTAE in Pittsburgh)
  • John Paul - reporter (departed 2007 for WSBT)
  • Tricia Perry - reporter (departed 2007)
  • Jackie Preston - Morning reporter, then co-anchor (departed 2009)
  • Cristin Severance - Weekend anchor (departed 2006 for WINK in Florida; now at WEWS reporting for the Ohio News Network)
  • Valerie Smock - reporter (departed 2010, now at WNWO in Toledo)
  • Wilson Stribling - Weekday morning anchor (departed 1997; now Asst. News Director at WLBT in Jackson, Miss.)
  • Niki Weirich - Morning reporter, then 10 P.M. anchor (departed 2008 for WYTV in Youngstown)
  • Whitney Ward - Weeknight anchor (departed August 13, 2010, now at KEPR in Yakima/Tri Cities, WA)

News/station presentation[]

Newscast titles[]

  • Newswatch 27 (??-1994)
  • 27 First News (1994-present)

Station slogans[]

  • We've Got the Touch, You and 27 (1983–1984; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • 27 Cares (1986–1996)
  • Where The News is First (1994-1997)
  • The Address is TV-27, Welcome Home (1997-2000; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Where Your News Comes First (1997–present)
This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.==References==
  1. ^ "History of WKBN/WYFX". Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  2. ^ "WKBN, sister station sold to New Vision Television". Vindicator. November 16, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  3. ^ "New Vision Television Announces Agreement to Acquire WKBN-TV, CBS Affiliate and WYFX-TV, Fox Affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio from Piedmont Television Holdings, LLC, Inc.". November 15, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lavery, Tom (February 9, 2009). "WKBN tests dual HD signal" (blog). Pittsburgh Radio & TV Online. Eric O'Brien. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  6. ^ a b c Barron, Sean (June 13, 2005). "Beloved longtime news anchor dies". Vindicator. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  7. ^ a b c "Popular Northeast Ohio TV Anchor Dies". (WEWS-TV (NewsChannel 5)). June 12, 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  8. ^ Vargin, Pete (June 23, 2005). "Remembering Tom Holden". The Jambar (Youngstown State University). Retrieved 2009-04-16.

External links[]