Radio-TV Broadcast History

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Fort Wayne, Indiana
Branding 21 Alive (general)

Indiana's NewsCenter (newscasts) Fort Wayne CW (on DT2)

Slogan A Network of

Indiana's NewsCenter

Channels Digital: 24 (UHF)
Subchannels 21.1 ABC

21.2 The CW

Owner Malara Broadcast Group

(operated through LMA by Granite Broadcasting Corporation) (Malara Broadcast Group of Fort Wayne Licensee, LLC)

First air date September 28, 1957
Sister station(s) WISE-TV
Former channel number(s) 21 (UHF analog, 1957-2009)
Transmitter power 335 kW
Height 224.4 m
Facility ID 73905
Transmitter coordinates 41°6′7.7″N 85°11′3.7″W / 41.102139°N 85.184361°W / 41.102139; -85.184361

The station operates the area's CW affiliate on a second digital subchannel. Known on-air as Fort Wayne CW, this can also be seen on Verizon FiOS channel 6, Mediacom channel 7, and Comcast channel 19. WPTA-DT2 gets all of its programming from The CW Plus.


[hide]*1 Digital programming

  • 2 History
  • 3 News operation
    • 3.1 Newscast titles
    • 3.2 Station slogans
  • 4 News team
  • 5 Notable former staff
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

[edit] Digital programming[]

Channel Programming
21.1 main WPTA programming / ABC HD
21.2 WPTA-DT2 "Fort Wayne CW"

[edit] History[]

The station began broadcasting on September 28, 1957. Founded by Sarkes Tarzian, whose company, Sarkes Tarzian, Inc., then owned Bloomington's WTTV and several other Indiana broadcast stations. Under FCC rules at that time, Fort Wayne and surrounding Allen County did not have a sufficient population base to merit the grant of a third full-power television station license (WANE-TV and WKJG-TV (now WISE-TV) having preceded it onto the airwaves). So Tarzian's application listed WPTA's city of license as the tiny hamlet of Roanoke, just across the Allen/Huntington county line (approximately 14 miles to the southwest of its studios and transmitter at 3401 Butler Road in the Summit City). Many years later the station's license was officially transferred to Fort Wayne, making it one of the few where the original city of license has been so changed.

From the day it signed on the air (and ever since), WPTA has been an affiliate of the ABC television network. It also originally aired seven and a half hours of local, live programming per week. In 1957, WPTA showed a spin-off of American Bandstand called Teen Dance and an afternoon kids show, Popeye and the Rascals. In 1964, a 2,226-square-foot (206.8 m2) addition to its studios was added to accommodate an expanding sales staff.

On April 4, 1973, the station was sold to Combined Communications for $3.6 million. Under new management, WPTA purchased new cameras and switcher. On June 7, 1979, Combined merged with Gannett. On May 12, 1983, Gannett sold WPTA (along with WLKY in Louisville, Kentucky) to Pulitzer Publishing for an undisclosed amount.

The station was sold again to the Granite Broadcasting Corporation on September 25, 1989 for $22.15 million. In 2005, after Granite bought NBC affiliate WISE-TV, it sold WPTA to the Malara Broadcast Group for $45.3 million. A local marketing agreement was established that called for Granite to provide operation services to WPTA as well as for Malara's other new station, KDLH in Duluth, Minnesota. The company jointly files its Securities and Exchange Commission reports with Granite which lead to allegations that Granite uses Malara as a shell corporation to evade the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules on duopolies. The FCC does not allow common ownership of two of the four largest stations in a single market. Fort Wayne has only six full-power stations which is too few to allow duopolies in any case.

After emerging from bankruptcy in Summer 2007, Granite stock was taken over by Silver Point Capital of Greenwich, Connecticut which is a privately owned hedge fund. Silver Point Capital now controls Granite broadcasting according to a Buffalo, New York news article printed on September 16, 2007. According to the same article, Granite will be sold to other parties and many of its stations have been laying off employees or cutting salaries up to 20%.

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. On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming independent. It was also created to compete against The CW.

CBS affiliate WANE-TV aired UPN on a second digital subchannel. The Fort Wayne affiliate of The WB was cable-only "WBFW" which was part of The WB 100+ and was co-owned with WPTA by Malara Broadcasting. It was announced in March that "WBFW" would affiliate with The CW via The CW Plus (a similar operation to The WB 100+). WPTA decided to create a new second digital subchannel to simulcast "WBFW" and offer access to CW programming for over-the-air viewers. Meanwhile on September 5, WISE-TV moved NBC Weather Plus from its second digital subchannel in order for it to become the area's affiliate of MyNetworkTV. Weather Plus then began airing on a new third digital subchannel of that station. On September 18, The CW debuted on "WBFW" which officially began using the WPTA-DT2 calls and became known on-air as "Fort Wayne CW". On September 28, 2007, WPTA unveiled a 3D version of its current logo to commemorate the station's 50th anniversary but didn't fully switch to it until August 4, 2008.

On January 10, 2009, WPTA went online with a new digital master control center which will service WPTA, WISE, and Granite's other Midwestern stations. After the DTV transition, the station remained on its current pre-transition channel number.[1] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WPTA's virtual channel as 21.

[edit] News operation[]

Indiana's NewsCenter logo.Under the ownership of Combined Communications, WPTA invested more in news production. During that time, Wes Sims and Harry Gallagher were co-anchors with meteorologist Bill Eisenhood and sports anchor Tom Campbell. In July 1978, WPTA constructed a new news set. Also, newscasts that had been in the Eyewitness News format were replaced with the current "Alive" (as "21 Alive") format that remains to this day. WXIA in Atlanta is another former Combined station that currently includes "Alive" in its name. In Summer 1984, WPTA received its first live truck to assist in news production.

After becoming owned by Granite, WISE-TV's news department was promptly folded and combined with WPTA. The company fired those who worked at WISE-TV with the exception of lead anchor Linda Jackson who was integrated into the WPTA operation. That station also began airing a weeknight newscast at 7 which was the first and only one in the state of Indiana. On September 11, 2006, this was replaced with an extra episode of Dr. Phil due to low ratings. In November 2005, after several months of using the "Alive" news brand on both stations, WPTA debuted a new news set in the basement of its studios formerly used to tape public-affairs programs such as Impact. With it came a new branding for the newscasts, Indiana's NewsCenter.

When WPTA took over production of WISE-TV newscasts, it initially saw a significant decrease in ratings. CBS affiliate WANE-TV was the market's news leader for several years after that according to Nielsen Media Research. This was most easily attributed to continued viewer resentment towards WPTA and Granite for their elimination of WISE-TV's news department and arguably its identity and history. However, WPTA management said the changes were part of a long-term plan that it said may need to take up to five years to take hold with viewers.

Part of the plan to win back viewers included new technology such as text messaging, an improved website with more online video, and upgrading its weather equipment to a VIPIR system. The changes started to take hold and ratings began to drastically improve. In the November 2007 sweeps period, WPTA and WANE were nearly neck-and-neck in the Fort Wayne television news ratings race with WANE continuing to show a slight lead. In 2006, WOWO-AM 1190 became a news partner and has since been joined by WDFM-FM 98.1 and WFGA-FM 106.7.

Starting on July 24, 2006, WISE-TV began airing a weeknight 10 o'clock newscast on its second digital subchannel that was an affiliate of NBC Weather Plus. With the change to "My TV Fort Wayne" on that digital subchannel (on September 5) and the addition of "Fort Wayne CW" on WPTA's second digital subchannel (on September 18), the newscast became part of its schedules. On May 18, 2009, WPTA and WISE-TV showed the first local newscast produced in 16:9 widescreen.

Currently, WPTA co-produces local broadcasts with WISE-TV and are essentially the same newscasts with different anchors. Simulcasted shows include weekday mornings (except the first half hour on WPTA), weeknights at 6, and weekends. This station airs separate weekday Noon as well as weeknight 5 and 11 o'clock news. Originally, the was a weeknight 5:30 edition on WISE-TV but this has since moved to WISE-DT2 in favor of The Dr. Oz Show. WISE-DT2 rebroadcasts the entire weekday morning (at 7), Noon (at 1), and weeknight 6 o'clock (at 6:30) shows. There is also a weekday web-cast entitled "Indiana's NewsCenter exPRESS" that is shown online every weekday afternoon at 1. The program is five minutes long and includes news updates from Corinne Rose and weather from meteorologist Chris Daniels. WPTA and WISE-TV operate and share their own weather radar known as "Pinpoint VIPIR HD" at their studios.

In September 2009, Granite began airing a weeknight pre-taped 10 p.m. newscast on Detroit's MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD. The broadcast is produced by WPTA using its weeknight news team aided by Detroit-based reporters. This came about due to WPTA becoming a control hub for Granite stations as well as WMYD's loss of the broadcast rights to Detroit Pistons games. [2] Previously, that station had been airing a weeknight prime time newscast produced by the Independent News Network.

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • Eyewitness News (mid 1970s-1978)
  • 21Alive Newsroom (1978-mid 1990s)
  • 21Alive News (mid 1990s-2005)
  • Indiana's NewsCenter (2005–present)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • "Together on 21 Alive" (1985–1986, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Your Number One News" (1986–1995)
  • "More people get their news from 21Alive News than from any other local news source." (variation on ABC's closing slogan on news programming, used until the change to Indiana's NewsCenter)
  • "A Network of Indiana's NewsCenter" (2005–present)

[edit] News team[]

Its nightly 11 o'clock news open.Anchors

  • Ryan Elijah - weekday mornings and host of Impact
    • "In Your Corner" segment producer
  • Mary Collins - weekday mornings
  • Corrine Rose - weekdays at noon and reporter
    • Indiana's NewsCenter at Noon Extra host
  • Melissa Long - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11
  • Linda Jackson - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 10, and 11
  • Eric Olson - weekends and "Your Country" segment producer

Pinpoint VIPIR HD Meteorologists

  • Curtis Smith (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Chris Daniels - weekday mornings and noon
  • Jason Meyers (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekends and fill-in
    • special weather assignments

Sports (all are seen on The Score)

  • Dean Pantazi - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
  • Tommy Schoegler - weekends and sports reporter
  • Kent Hormann - sports reporter


  • Jeff Bowman - weekday morning multimedia video journalist
  • Eric Clabaugh - multimedia video journalist
  • John W. Davis - multimedia video journalist
  • Dave Leval - automotive industry based in Detroit
  • Art Ginsburg - "Mr. Food" segment producer
  • Jeff Neumeyer
  • Jennifer Blomquist
  • Megan Trent
  • Brien McElhatten
  • Natalie Hess
  • Laura Donaldson

[edit] Notable former staff[]

  • Brent Trantum - meteorologist (now Brent Cameron at WSVN-TV)
  • Marti Wright - anchor and reporter (from 1981–2000)
    • resigned after DWI in Auburn, Indiana
  • Victor Locke - Assistant News Director and anchor (from 1983–2004)
    • now voiceover announcer at as well as former News Director, anchor, and reporter at KSUT-FM 91.3
  • Keith Edwards - anchor (from 1983–2007)
    • now retired
  • Tacoma Newsome - reporter (now at WAGA-TV)
  • Sandra Jones - reporter (now at WTVR-TV)
  • Christine Zak - reporter (now retired)
  • Janette Luu - weekend anchor (until 2005)
    • now at CKXT-TV
  • Heather McMichael - anchor and reporter (now at WDAF-TV)
  • Greg Johans - sports anchor (in 1980s)
    • now retired
  • Michael Morrissey - meteorologist (until 2006)
    • now in public relations at Fort Wayne company
  • Jessica Toumani - reporter (until 2008)
    • now at KABB-TV
  • Nicole Pence - reporter and fill-in anchor (until 2008)
    • now at WLEX-TV
  • Jay Walker - weather reporter
  • Jane Hersha - reporter
  • Ron Huston - anchor/reporter 1976-87 (changed name to Lynn Huston 1987 when hired at WTVH-TV Syracuse, N.Y.)
  • Carl Smith - reporter
  • Chris Erick - reporter
  • Jim Likens - reporter

[edit] References[]

  1. ^ CDBS Print
  2. ^ "Good evening, Detroit". KPC Media Group, Inc..,-Detroit&catid=51:latest&Itemid=6.

[edit] External links[]