Radio-TV Broadcast History

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Battle Creek / Kalamazoo, Michigan
Branding WOTV 4 (general)

24 Hour News 8 WXSP The X (on DT2)

Slogan My ABC is WOTV 4
Channels Digital: 20 (UHF)
Subchannels 41.1 ABC

41.2 MyNetworkTV

Owner LIN TV Corporation

(WOOD License Company, LLC)

First air date July 24, 1971
Call letters' meaning modified version of WOOD-TV
Sister station(s) WOOD-TV


Former callsigns WUHQ-TV (1971-1992)
Former channel number(s) 41 (UHF analog, 1971-2009)
Transmitter power 255 kW
Height 329 m
Facility ID 10212
Transmitter coordinates 42°34′15″N 85°28′7″W / 42.57083°N 85.46861°W / 42.57083; -85.46861

It primarily serves the southern portion of the West Michigan Designated Market Area (Kalamazoo and Battle Creek) while the market's other ABC affiliate, WZZM-TV, serves the northern portion. That station has a transmitter southwest of Grant. Recently, WOTV has begun billing itself as a full market ABC station including Grand Rapids. It provides at least secondary coverage to nearly all of the West Michigan area.

The station currently identifies as "WOTV 4" in reference to its channel position on area cable systems. Its current logo displays both digits for channel 41, its defunct analog signal, but highlights the numeral four in positive space and displays the numeral one immediately adjacent in negative space (similar to the hidden numeral "11" in the Big Ten Conference logo).


[hide]*1 Digital programming

  • 2 History
  • 3 News operation
    • 3.1 Newscast titles
    • 3.2 Station slogans
  • 4 News team
  • 5 External links

[edit] Digital programming[]

Its signal is multiplexed.



Video Aspect Programming
41.1 720p 16:9 main WOTV programming / ABC HD
41.2 480i 4:3 WXSP-CA "WXSP The X" (MyNetworkTV)

[edit] History[]

The station signed on July 24, 1971 as WUHQ-TV (UHF HeadQuarters). It was owned by Channel 41, Inc. a group of nineteen investors from Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. WUHQ signed-on because the southern portion of the West Michigan market did not receive an adequate signal from WZZM. Originally licensed on VHF channel 9, WZZM swapped channels with WWTV in Cadillac and moved to channel 13 just before signing-on in 1962. As a result, its transmitter is farther north than the other West Michigan stations in order to protect WTVG in Toledo, Ohio. Before channel 41 signed on, viewers in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek watched ABC on either WSJV in Elkhart, Indiana; WXYZ-TV in Detroit or WLS-TV in Chicago.

In the early days, WUHQ could not get ABC to provide a direct network feed. The station was forced to switch to and from WZZM's signal during the times when ABC network programming was being shown. This practice, however, was less than satisfactory as WZZM often pre-empted network programming in favor of locally originated or other programming (such as Billy Graham crusades). In cases where WUHQ had advance notice of such pre-emptions, the station was able to procure filmed copies of the pre-empted network programming for broadcast. However, WZZM sometimes pre-empted a program with no advance notice such as for breaking local news or severe weather reports. When this happened, WUHQ simulcasted WSJV, usually with less than satisfactory results. At times, atmospheric conditions were not suitable enough to simulcast WSJV forcing WUHQ to substitute a film or other non-network programming.

WZZM's owners, Northstar Television, planned to buy WUHQ in 1991 and turn it into a satellite of WZZM. This would have created a strong combined signal with about 40% overlap. Northstar received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to do this but the deal fell through when the company was unable to come up with the funds necessary to close the transaction. Instead, WUHQ's owners entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with LIN Broadcasting, owner of WOTV in Grand Rapids. The deal closed on November 11, 1991. Shortly after, channel 8 changed its call letters back to WOOD-TV and moved the WOTV calls to channel 41. The WUHQ calls are currently used on a low-power independent station in Grand Rapids.

In 1996, WOTV boosted its transmitter power to five million watts, making it the most powerful station in West Michigan and giving it at least grade B coverage throughout the entire market. AT&T bought WOOD-TV and the LMA with WOTV in 1994. LIN TV Corporation reacquired WOOD-TV from AT&T in 1999 and bought WOTV outright in 2002. As of December 2006, all WOTV operations have been consolidated into WOOD-TV's building in Grand Rapids. Reporter Gerry Barnaby, who joined channel 41 in 1993, left the station at end of the year. WOTV's studios on West Dickman Road (M-96) in Battle Creek was donated to a city entity, Battle Creek Unlimited, and the equipment was donated to the Calhoun County Vocational Educational Center.

Both WOTV and WZZM have had a unique history of having one ABC affiliate pre-empt network programming during Labor Day weekend for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon while another airs the preempted ABC programming. In recent years, WOTV has aired the MDA Telethon while WZZM has aired ABC programming preempted by the telethon. It was the other way around in previous years, however. Also, Bill Steffen is the only current news personality to appear on the telethon on both stations.

On May 18, 2007, LIN TV announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in the sale of the company.

On June 12, 2009, WOTV's digital signal remained on channel 20 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.

[edit] News operation[]

Its news open simulcasted from WOOD-TV.Early in the station's history, WUHQ began a news operation that was the breeding ground for some of the most famous news personalities. However, it had no luck whatsoever against WOOD-TV and WWMT due to the limited viewer base. Even with Kalamazoo -- the market's second largest city -- there simply were not enough viewers in that part of the market for the station to make any headway in the ratings. On February 9, 1991, one of the station's news anchors, Diane Newton King, was murdered in her home near Marshall. Her husband, Bradford King, was convicted of first-degree murder and is currently serving a life sentence. The case received national attention in 2004 when it was aired on Court TV's Forensic Files. The case was also profiled on A&E's City Confidential in an episode titled "Bad News in Battle Creek".

LIN TV finally decided to shut down WOTV's news operation, branded as 41 News, in August 2003. Since then, the station has simulcasted or aired specially produced newscasts from WOOD-TV's 24 Hour News 8 operation. Currently, WOTV simulcasts the second half of that station's Daybreak on weekday mornings and every night at 6. Maranda (real name Lori Cook) is WOTV's Children and Family Services Manager and host of Where You Live. Prior to joining WOTV, she hosted a children's show on Fox affiliate WXMI. Jordan Carson is the "F4CE (Face) of 4" on-air and website personality. Bill Steffen is Chief Meteorologist at WOOD-TV who does weeknight prime time weather updates on WOTV. Prior to joining WOOD-TV, he was Chief Meteorologist at WZZM from 1985 to 2001.

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • TV-41 News (1970s-1980s)
  • News Check 41 (1980s)
  • News 8 on TV-41 (early 1990s-1992, used during simulcasts from WOOD-TV)
  • 41 News (1992-2003)
  • 24 Hour News 8 (2003-present, used during simulcasts from WOOD-TV)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • "Let The One Shine In" (1977, localized version of ABC ad campaign, used by WUHQ instead of ABC's "Still The One" slogan while using the same music)
  • "The 41 And Only" (early-1980s)
  • "West Michigan's 24-Hour News Source" (early 1990s)
  • "News That's Close to Home" (mid-1990s)
  • "News From Where You Live" (1990s-August 2003)
  • "My ABC is WOTV 4" (2003-present)
    • After its news department was shut down, this slogan was adopted to promote ABC programming paired with the market's leading newscast, 24 Hour News 8, as well as encourage people to watch ABC on WOTV instead of WZZM. The "Phrase That Pays" is a regularly-scheduled contest built around the slogan.

[edit] News team[]

All newscasts on WOTV are simulcast with WOOD-TV; see WOOD-TV's article for the members of the news team.

[edit] External links[]