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WFTC, virtual channel 9 (UHF digital channel 29), is a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated television station licensed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, which serves the Twin Cities television market. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, and is the sister station to Fox owned-and-operated station KMSP-TV (channel 9). The two stations share studio facilities located on Viking Drive in Eden Prairie, and a transmission tower in Shoreview. WFTC also rebroadcasts its signal on full-power satellite station KFTC in Bemidji (with transmitter near Lake Bemidji State Park) and several low-power stations across Minnesota.
|WFTC: Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota
KFTC: Bemidji, Minnesota
|City||WFTC: Minneapolis, Minnesota
KFTC: Bemidji, Minnesota
|Branding||Fox 9 Plus|
WFTC: 29 (UHF)
KFTC: 26 (UHF)
WFTC: 9 (PSIP)
KFTC: 26 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||9.1 Fox (simulcast of KMSP-TV)
9.2 MyNetworkTV (WFTC)
|Affiliations||MyNetworkTV (O&O; 2006–present)|
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(Fox Television Stations, LLC)
|First air date||WFTC: October 1982
KFTC: June 20, 1999
|Call letters' meaning||Fox Twin Cities
(for the station's owner, previously for former Fox affiliation)
WFBT (1982–1984), KITN-TV (1984–1994)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
WFTC: 29 (UHF, 1982–2009)
KFTC: 26 (UHF, 1999–2009)
WFTC: 21 (UHF, until 2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1982–1988)
|Transmitter power||WFTC: 1000 kW
KFTC: 4.5 kW
|Height||WFTC: 389 m (1,276 ft)
KFTC: 156 m (512 ft)
|Facility ID||WFTC: 11913
|Public license information:||/ KFTC Profile
/ KFTC CDBS
The station signed on air in October 1982 as WFBT (for "Family Bible Television"). Channel 29 originally maintained a schedule offering reruns of classic family-oriented series and Christian-based religious programming. It first operated from studio facilities located on Aspen Lane North in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. On May 6, 1984, the station was sold to the Beverly Hills Hotel Corporation, headed by prominent arbitrageur Ivan Boesky, who changed its call letters to KITN-TV (which although it actually stood for "Independent Twenty-Nine", colloquially meant "Kitten" as in, "The KITN That Roars!"). At that time, it transitioned into the market's second mainstream independent station, airing syndicated programs such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Batman and Star Trek: The Original Series. It also acquired broadcast rights to the NHL's Minnesota North Stars, as well as University of Minnesota college football games. In 1985, BHHC sold the station to Nationwide Communications, the broadcasting subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Insurance.
As a Fox affiliate, then becoming a UPN stationEdit
In 1988, KMSP-TV ended its affiliation with Fox, disappointed with the network's weak programming offerings that were bogging down the station's otherwise successful general entertainment lineup. Fox then shifted its affiliation to KITN, which adopted the moniker "Fox 29". The station again changed its call sign to WFTC on October 1, 1994 (for "We're Fox Twin Cities"), with the additional change using the "W" first-letter identifier over the "K", allowed for by its transmitter location on the eastern side of the Mississippi River. The station later relocated its operations to a new studio located on Broadway Street Northeast in Minneapolis. With the Fox network gaining rights to NFL games (and with it, Minnesota Vikings games) in 1994, channel 29 succeeded WCCO-TV as the unofficial home station of the team. It would hold this role until the end of the 2001 NFL Season. Until 1998, it served as the de facto Fox affiliate for almost all of Minnesota; the state's other two markets, Duluth and Rochester, did not have Fox affiliates of their own until KXLT-TV signed on in Rochester in 1998, and KQDS-TV debuted in Duluth one year later. Most areas in western Minnesota received Fox programming from Fargo, North Dakota's KVRR or Sioux Falls, South Dakota's KTTW.
As part of its liquidation of its broadcasting interests, Nationwide Communications sold the station to Clear Channel Communications in 1993 (it was the last remaining television station under Nationwide's ownership, the company having sold its other three stations, all of which were affiliated with ABC, to Young Broadcasting the year before). In 2001, Clear Channel traded the station to Fox Television Stations for KMOL-TV (now WOAI-TV) in San Antonio and KTVX in Salt Lake City. Both stations were acquired by Fox through its purchase of Chris-Craft Industries' broadcast properties, which included then-UPN affiliate KMSP-TV. WFTC became the third station in the area to be owned-and-operated by a major network, but since KMSP had higher ratings and a stronger signal than WFTC, Fox switched the affiliations of the two stations on September 8, 2002: Fox programming returned to KMSP, while WFTC affiliated with UPN.
Switch to MyNetworkTVEdit
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner announced that UPN and The WB would shut down and be replaced by a new network that would carry programs from both networks, The CW. Despite affiliating with most of CBS Corporation's UPN stations and Tribune Broadcasting's WB stations, Fox's UPN affiliates were not included in the new network. Although The CW did not sign its Twin Cities' affiliate until May 2006 (when KMWB-TV (which changed its calls to WUCW by the network's launch) was announced as the network's local affiliate-through an affiliation deal by its parent, Sinclair Broadcast Group), WFTC joined other Fox-owned UPN stations in scrubbing all UPN branding the following day, becoming branded as simply "WFTC 29". It also stopped promoting UPN programming outside of network hours. On February 22, less than a month after the announcement of The CW, Fox announced that it would (in conjunction with its syndication division Twentieth Television) launch a new network called MyNetworkTV, with WFTC and the other Fox-owned UPN stations (plus included in this deal is a Fox-owned independent station in Dallas-Fort Worth) as the nuclei. On June 2, 2006, WFTC officially changed its branding to "My 29", following its impending switch to the newly launched Fox-owned network.
Although MyNetworkTV announced its launch date to be September 5, UPN continued to broadcast on stations across the country until September 15, 2006. While some UPN affiliates that switched to MyNetworkTV aired the final two weeks of UPN's programming outside its regular primetime slot, the Fox-owned stations (including WFTC) dropped the network entirely on August 31, 2006. On September 9, 2006, WFTC began carrying the 4Kids TV lineup for the first time since 2002, when the station was a Fox affiliate airing what was then Fox Kids. The station will continue to air the Weekend Marketplace infomercial block on Saturday mornings while sister station KMSP will air Xploration Station starting in the fall of 2014.
|Channel||Station||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|9.1||WFTC||720p||16:9||KMSP-HD||Simulcast of KMSP-TV|
|9.2||WFTC-HD||Main WFTC programming / MyNetworkTV|
|9.9||720p||16:9||KMSP-HD||Main KMSP-TV programming / Fox|
In November 2009, a standard definition simulcast of KMSP was added to WFTC's second subchannel and given a virtual channel number of 9.2. In turn, a standard definition simulcast of WFTC was placed on KMSP's second subchannel and given a virtual channel number of 29.2. This ensures reception of both stations even in cases where the ATSC channel on which KMSP or WFTC operates is not actually receivable.
On August 27, 2012, WFTC began carrying programming from Bounce TV on a new digital subchannel on 29.3, as part of an affiliation deal between the network and Fox Television Stations' MyNetworkTV O&Os.
On June 19, 2014, KMSP-TV announced plans that, effective June 24, 2014, they will broadcast their 9.1 virtual channel via RF channel 29 to take advantage of its broader coverage area and allow viewers with UHF-only antennas to receive the station in high definition. KMSP and WFTC unified all of their over-the-air channels as virtual subchannels of KMSP. As a result, the PSIPs of WFTC changed to channel 9. KMSP also continues to broadcast on RF 9 (VHF), mapping to both 9.4 and 9.9, the latter of which is in high definition.
On February 5, 2009, WFTC's Bemidji-based satellite station KFTC began broadcasting its signal in digital only. WFTC shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 29, 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 21 to former UHF analog channel 29 for post-transition operations, while KFTC (which did not receive a companion digital channel prior to the digital transition) flash-cut to digital on its former analog channel assignment of UHF channel 26.
Syndicated programs seen on WFTC include The Simpsons, The Wendy Williams Show, Judge Judy,The Real, and Access Hollywood among others. The former also air first run episodes on Sundays in addition to reruns on the weekdays. The station also broadcasts Fox's Saturday morning infomercial block Weekend Marketplace in lieu of KMSP. The station has a locally produced show that airs weeknights at 11:00 p.m. called On The Fly hosted by former KDWB DJ Tony Fly and FOX 9 Morning Traffic Anchor Kelsey Soby.
Clear Channel started a news department for the station shortly before selling the station to Fox. As a Fox affiliate, WFTC launched an hour-long primetime newscast at 9:00 p.m. in 2001, where it faced competition from KMSP's established hour-long news program. After Fox assumed control of the station, the station's news department was integrated with that of KMSP, and its late newscast was moved to 10:00 p.m. and shortened to 30 minutes. Though this move protected new sister station KMSP, WFTC now faced stiff competition from late evening newscasts on KARE, KSTP-TV and WCCO-TV. Channel 29's 10 p.m. newscast was eventually cancelled due to low ratings, airing its final edition on June 30, 2006; the timeslot was then replaced by syndicated programming. The 10:00 news program was then moved to KMSP as part of an expanded late news block. Some members of WFTC's on-air staff were retained by KMSP's news department.
In addition to KFTC channel 26 in Bemidji, WFTC is rebroadcast on a network of eight translators in central and southern Minnesota. All of them broadcast in digital.
|City of license||Callsign||Channel|
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- News Corp. Unveils My Network TV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KMSP
- RabbitEars TV Query for WFTC
- "Bounce TV Adds 3 Fox-Owned Stations". TVNewsCheck.com. 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
- "RESCAN: How to get FOX 9 over-the-air on UHF". Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- My29TV.com - WFTC-TV official website
- MyFoxTwinCities.com - KMSP-TV official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFTC
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K29IF-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K34JX-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K43MY-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K48DV-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K49AJ-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K50HZ-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K51KT-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KFTC
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WFTC-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KFTC-TV
- RabbitEars.info website - WFTC
- RabbitEars.info website - KFTC
- WFTC video clip from September 11, 2001