WBVC (The CW Plus)
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"WBVC" is the CW-affiliated television station for the Northern Lower and Eastern Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. The call sign is fictional as it is a cable-only station. It broadcasts exclusively on cable as part of The CW Plus, which is a special CW feed that broadcasts on cable and/or over the air on a digital signal. The station is operated by Charter Communications and can be seen on Charter Spectrum channel 61 in Cadillac, Cheboygan, Gaylord, Manistee, Petoskey, Sault Ste. Marie, Traverse City, and surrounding areas. It is also seen on cable channel 17 in Big Rapids, Evart, Ludington, and Reed City and cable channel 13 in Grayling and Roscommon. DirecTV customers get The CW via its Green Bay affiliate WCWF, while Dish Network does not offer a CW affiliate. AcenTek in Mesick, which is one of very few non-Spectrum cable systems in the Traverse City market, gets The CW via Kalamazoo's WWMT-DT2.
|Branding||Northern Michigan CW 61|
|Slogan||Northern Michigan's Home of The CW|
|Affiliations||The CW (via The CW Plus)|
|Call letters' meaning||The WB TraVerse City
|Former affiliations||The WB (1995–2006, via The WB 100+)|
The station began in 1998 as a WB affiliate. It was part of The WB 100+ which was a similar operation to the current CW Plus service. WBVC was identified on-air as "Northern Michigan's WB 61" and the call sign was used in a fictional manner because it only aired on cable. WGTU provided promotional and advertising services for this station which was based at that channel's studios on East Front Street in Downtown Traverse City. Prior to the cable-only WBVC, Northern Michigan received The WB programming on cable from WGN in Chicago, which carried WB programming nationally until 1999.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation (the latter of which took over UPN after the split of Viacom into two companies occurred in December 2005) announced that they would shut down The WB and UPN in September 2006 and merge those two networks' resources to create The CW, a new television service whose initials represented the names of both of those respective companies. UPN aired in a delayed arrangement on Fox affiliates WFQX-TV/WFUP. On July 25, a new logo for WBVC appeared on WGTU's website. At that time, there were no announcements posted about its future as a CW affiliate. However, that changed a few weeks before the new network started. The CW began broadcasting on September 18. On that date, WBVC became known on-air as "Northern Michigan CW" and WFQX dropped its secondary affiliation with UPN. After the station was added to a new second digital subchannel of WGTU, it began to use the WGTU-DT2 call sign in an official manner.
On September 19, 2007, there was an application filed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by Max Media to sell WGTU to Tucker Broadcasting for $10 million. After approval in April 2008, Tucker entered into a shared services agreement with Barrington Broadcasting that resulted in WPBN operating WGTU. After the closing of the deal with Tucker Broadcasting, The CW subchannel went dark and the programming service became exclusively available via cable with no local affiliate selling advertising. It resumed using the fictitious WBVC call letters.