WBDT, virtual channel 26 (UHF digital channel 50), is a CW-affiliated television station serving Dayton, Ohio, United States that is licensed to Springfield. The station is owned by Vaughan Media, LLC; Nexstar Media Group, which owns Dayton-licensed NBC affiliate WDTN (channel 2), operates WBDT under a local marketing agreement (LMA). The two stations share studios on South Dixie Drive in Moraine (with a Dayton mailing address). However, master control and some internal operations for WBDT and WDTN are based within centralcasting facilities at Nexstar sister station and fellow CW affiliate WISH-TV in Indianapolis, Indiana.
|Branding||Dayton's CW (general)|
2 News on Dayton's CW (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Dayton Station|
Working For You (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)|
(shared with WDTN and WKOI-TV; to move to 31 (UHF))
Virtual: 26 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||26.1: The CW (2006–present)|
26.2: Bounce TV
(WBDT Television, LLC)
|Operator||Nexstar Media Group|
|First air date||January 6, 1968|
|Call letters' meaning||WB (previous affiliation) + DayTon|
|Former callsigns||WSWO-TV (1968–1972)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
26 (UHF, 1968–2009)
18 (UHF, until 2009)
26 (UHF, 2009–2018)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1968–1970, 1972, 1980–1998)|
Dark (1970–1972, 1973–1980)
Pax (1998–2004; secondary from 1999)
The WB (1999–2006)
Ion Television (2015–2018)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Height||323 m (1,060 ft)|
329.9 m (1,082 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
WBDT, along with unrelated Richmond, Indiana-licensed Ion Television owned-and-operated station WKOI-TV (channel 43), share WDTN's digital channel from WDTN's transmitter facility on Frytown Road in southwest Dayton.
On cable, WBDT is available on Charter Spectrum channel 13. The station also serves as the default CW affiliate for the Lima market, which had been served by cable-only affiliate West Central Ohio CW until early 2010.
The station began analog operation on UHF channel 26 on January 6, 1968 as independent WSWO-TV, under the ownership of Southwestern Ohio Broadcasting. WSWO-TV ran a local live version of Bozo the Clown (portrayed by announcer Dave Eaton, who was previously with the former WKTR-TV in Kettering, now PBS member station WPTD [channel 16]), as well as other local shows. The station suddenly went dark on March 6, 1970, possibly due to financial difficulties.
WSWO-TV briefly returned to the air on July 2, 1972 under the ownership of Lester W. White, but fell silent again at the beginning of December after White defaulted on a loan. White was later charged with equipment theft from WHIZ-TV in Zanesville, Ohio.
The current incarnation of channel 26 dates from September 7, 1980 when Miami Valley Christian Television (MVCT) returned it to the air as a Christian-oriented station under the call sign WTJC (for Witnessing 'Til Jesus Comes). WTJC aired religious programming during most of its daytime and weekend schedule (including The 700 Club, PTL and Jerry Falwell) although it also aired lifestyle programming such as The Joy of Gardening, cartoons, and children's programming in late weekday afternoon slots (including The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Porky Pig, The Great Space Coaster and New Zoo Revue). There were also family-friendly reruns in early evenings (among them Leave It to Beaver, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and Lassie) and a local newscast. WTJC's Saturday schedule included westerns, sportsmen/hunting/wildlife shows (including Wild Kingdom) and The Lawrence Welk Show.
When WRGT-TV signed on in 1984, MVCT sold most of its secular programming inventory to that station, and switched WTJC to a mostly-religious format (with the exception of a few children's shows, and Saturday morning sporting and hunting shows). Over the next few years, several ministries that bought time on WTJC became involved in scandals. Due to the scandals, donations to the ministries, and to MVCT, declined. The primary owner of MVCT, Marvin Sparks, bought out his partners' shares in 1991 and in turn sold them to Video Mall Communications. WTJC then aired home shopping and paid programming eighteen hours a day, with religious shows the rest of the broadcast day.
In the mid-1990s, Abry Communications (which had purchased WRGT-TV's owner, Act III Broadcasting) approached MVCT with a proposal to manage WTJC for 18 hours a day. MVCT declined and chose instead to sell the station to Paxson Communications in 1995. Paxson kept a similar lineup for WTJC, airing religious programming in early mornings, infomercials for most of the day and worship music overnight. On January 20, 1998, WTJC's call sign was changed to WDPX (for Dayton PaX TV). Accordingly, on August 31 of that year, the station became a charter affiliate of Pax (now Ion Television).
In June 1999, Paxson sold the station to ACME Communications, which dropped half of Pax’s programming for a primary affiliation with The WB, along with syndicated programming. The previous WB affiliate was low-power station WUCT-LP (now WRCX-LP); WB programming in the Dayton area could also be seen on the WGN cable channel and on Columbus WB affiliate WWHO. On June 9, 1999, ACME also changed WDPX's call sign to the current WBDT. ACME ran the station as a dual WB and Pax affiliate, signing a five-year affiliation deal with Pax upon the sale of the station from Paxson. As a dual WB and Pax affiliate, WBDT aired a mix of syndicated programming, WB network programming, and Pax TV programming (such as Touched by an Angel, Diagnosis Murder, Encounters with the Unexplained, Promised Land, Mysterious Ways, and later Doc and Candid Camera). WBDT maintained a secondary affiliation with Pax until mid-2004 at the latest, airing its primetime lineup on weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon, early Sunday mornings from 1 to 4 a.m., and early Monday mornings from midnight to 4 a.m. In the station's early days as a WB affiliate, Pax's flagship Touched by an Angel continued to air at its regularly scheduled time of 7:00 p.m., leading into WB primetime programming. In 2004, Diagnosis Murder was moved to 1 p.m., while the remainder of Pax's programming was moved to overnights. The station finally dropped the remainder of Pax's programming in September 2004, filling the morning hours previously programmed with the network's programming with off-network sitcoms, talk shows, infomercials, and court shows.
On September 18, 2006, WBDT became the market's CW outlet after The WB and UPN merged. It became a strong affiliate with the new network in terms of primetime ratings—strong enough for The CW to designate WBDT the "#1 CW affiliate" in the nation in March 2007. In that same month, the station became the first in the area (and one of the few in the entire country) to broadcast in a 1080i high definition 16:9 format 24 hours a day, broadcasting on digital UHF channel 18.
On June 4, 2010, it was announced that the LIN TV Corporation (owner of WDTN) would begin to operate WBDT through shared service and joint sales agreements. WBDT was to leave its longtime studios on Corporate Place, off Byers Road in Miamisburg, in October and move to WDTN's facility in Moraine. As of January 27, 2013, the former WBDT studio facility is now occupied by Sinclair Broadcast Group's duopoly of ABC affiliate WKEF and Fox affiliate WRGT-TV (the move made them the last network-affiliated stations in Dayton to have upgraded their local programming, including newscasts, to high definition).
Three months after ACME and LIN TV reached their operations and sales agreements, LIN TV exercised an option to purchase WBDT along with another LIN TV-operated ACME station, fellow CW affiliate WCWF in Green Bay, Wisconsin. LIN TV requested that WBDT's license be assigned to a subsidiary of Vaughan Media (owner of Austin, Texas CW affiliate KNVA, which is also operated by LIN TV). LIN TV holds a 4.5% equity stake in Vaughan Media, but controls most of that company's voting stock, effectively making it a shell corporation for LIN TV. The FCC approved the sale and license transfer in April 2011; the commission also denied objections from area cable operators Time Warner Cable and Buckeye Cablevision, who claimed that retransmission fees for WBDT would increase as a result of the sale. The sale of WBDT was consummated on May 20, 2011.
On March 4, 2011, LIN TV's contract with Dish Network expired, and all TV stations owned or operated by LIN, including both WBDT and WDTN, were pulled from Dish. On March 13, LIN and Dish entered into a retransmission consent agreement, and all affected channels were restored.
On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would purchase LIN Media and its stations, including WDTN and the SSA and JSA with WBDT, in a $1.6 billion merger. The FCC approved the merger on December 12, 2014, but a condition of the deal requires Media General to end the JSA between WBDT and WDTN due to tighter scrutiny such deals are getting by the FCC. Media General received a two-year waiver to end the JSA between WDTN and WBDT. The merger was completed on December 19.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|26.1||1080i||16:9||WBDT-HD||Main WBDT programming / The CW|
WBDT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 26, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 18 to channel 26 for post-transition operations.
Initially, WBDT aired a standard definition simulcast of its HD programming on its DT2 subchannel. After several months, this subchannel was dropped. On September 26, 2011, WBDT began airing Bounce TV on DT2, becoming a charter affiliate of the network. On November 30, 2015, WBDT added a third subchannel to carry Ion Television (the network was also added by other Media General stations); the station had carried Pax, the forerunner of Ion Television, as a secondary affiliate, ending in 2004. On February 1, 2018, Ion Television was moved to sister station WDTN's DT3 subchannel, replacing the Justice Network; WBDT's third subchannel was dropped.
On April 14, 2017, it was reported that WBDT's over-the-air spectrum had been sold in the FCC's spectrum reallocation auction, fetching $27.3 million, with the FCC listing the station as set to go off the air. However, Joe Abouzeid, president and general manager of the station, characterized the auction as an "engineering exercise" and stated that the station would not go off the air or move to a new channel.
In spite of the station manager's earlier denial, WBDT began sharing sister station WDTN's digital channel on June 29, 2018. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 26.
On September 16, 2002, the nationally syndicated morning show, The Daily Buzz, premiered from WBDT's studios. The program, then produced by then-parent ACME Communications, remained based at the station until its August 2004 move to the facilities of former sister station WKCF in Lake Mary, Florida near Orlando.
On August 18, 2007, WDTN began to produce a nightly half-hour primetime newscast for WBDT known as 2 News at 10 on Dayton's CW. On the 26th day of its broadcast, this show achieved higher ratings than WRGT-TV's nightly primetime news (produced by WKEF) in Dayton's metered market households.
On July 21, 2012, WDTN began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The WBDT shows were included in the upgrade.
On January 7, 2013, WBDT began airing a weekday news program from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., called 2 News Today on Dayton's CW. Since the cancellation of The Daily Buzz, the station also simulcasts the 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. WDTN edition as well. On September 9, 2013, WBDT expanded the primetime 10:00 p.m. WDTN-produced newscast to an hour.
- "Ohio UHF owner accused of receiving stolen gear", Broadcasting, 12/11/1972
- "LIN, ACME Share Services in Three Markets", from broadcastingcable.com, 6/4/2010
- "LIN and ACME in 3 new SSA Deals", from tvnewscheck.com, 6/4/2010
- "LIN Buys Pair of Acme Stations", from broadcastingcable.com, 9/2/2010
- LIN Seeks OK for Dayton, Green Bay Duops", from tvnewscheck.com, 9/21/2010
- FCC Letter DA-11-648, released 4/8/2011
- "LIN TV Corp. Announces First Quarter 2011 Results," press release from LIN Media dated 4/27/2011
- CDBS Print
- "DISH Network may drop WDTN". Dayton Business Journal. 2011-03-01.
- "Channel 2, CW could go dark for Dish subscribers, DaytonDailyNews.com/services/archive, March 2, 2011".
- "WDTN, Dayton's CW go dark for Dish Network subscribers". Dayton Daily News. 2011-03-06.
- "NBC, CW remain blocked in dispute, DaytonDailyNews.com/services/archive, March 8, 2011".
- "Dish Network and Lin Media agree, restore channels". Dayton Daily News. 2011-03-13.
- "Dish Network, Lin Media reach agreement". Dayton Business Journal. 2011-03-14.
- "NBC, CW restored for Dish customers, DaytonDailyNews.com/services/archive, March 15, 2011".
- Reid Blackwell, John (March 21, 2014). "MG will combine with LIN TV chain". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- FCC Okays Media General/LIN Merger Broadcasting & Cable (12/12/2014)
- Media General Completes Merger With LIN Media Archived 2014-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, Media General, Retrieved 19 December 2014
- RabbitEars TV Query for WBDT
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- CDBS Print
- Amelia Robinson (2011-09-26). "New TV network launches today". Dayton Daily News.
- Gnau, Tom (April 14, 2017). "2 Dayton-area TV stations sell spectrum to FCC for $47.3 million". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
- Filby, Max (June 6, 2018). "TV antenna not working? Local channels start changing frequencies soon". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- "Modification of a Licensed Facility for DTV Application". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. March 23, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- Pendleton, Marc F. (March 21, 2016). "Dragons partner with CW". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
- WBDT Expanding 10 P.M. News To 1 Hour TVNewsCheck, September 4, 2013.