WLNS-TV, virtual channel 6 (UHF digital channel 25), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Lansing, Michigan, United States and serving the Central Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also operates dual ABC/CW+ affiliate WLAJ (channel 53) under joint sales and shared services agreements with owner Shield Media, LLC. The two stations share studios on East Saginaw Street (along U.S. 127/BL I-69/M-43) in Lansing's Eastside section, and transmitter facilities on Baseline Road near Rives Township's Berryville section, along the Jackson–Ingham county line.
|Branding||WLNS 6 (general)|
6 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Here for You|
|Channels||Digital: 25 (UHF)|
(shared with WLAJ; to move to 14 (UHF))
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group|
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||May 1, 1950|
|Call letters' meaning||LaNSing|
|Former callsigns||WJIM-TV (1950-1984)|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||483.3 kW|
372 kW (CP)
950 kW (application)
|Height||300 m (984 ft)|
289.8 m (951 ft) (application)
|Public license information||Profile|
The station signed-on May 1, 1950 as WJIM-TV and was owned by Harold F. Gross along with WJIM radio (1240 AM), through WJIM, Inc. It is Michigan's second-oldest television station outside Detroit (behind WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids). Gross had started WJIM, the oldest continually operated commercial radio station in Lansing, in 1934; both stations were named after his son Jim. According to local legend, Gross won the original radio license in a card game.
WJIM-TV originally aired an analog signal on VHF channel 6 from a transmitter from the top of a bank in Downtown Lansing before moving to its current location on Saginaw Street (known as "the country house") in 1953. Gross was skeptical of the success of television, so the new facility was designed as a motel complete with a pool in case the station did not catch on. As it turned out, the pool had very little use except for the occasional employee party.
WJIM-TV originally carried programming from all four networks: ABC, DuMont, NBC, and CBS; it was, and always has been, a primary CBS affiliate. ABC disappeared from the schedule in 1958 when WJRT-TV signed-on from Flint. DuMont programming disappeared when the network ceased operations in 1956. NBC disappeared from the schedule in 1959 when WILX-TV signed-on. Thus, at the start of the fall 1959 television season, WJIM-TV was broadcasting only CBS.
The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the station's license in 1973 on allegations that Gross, whose company was by then renamed to Gross Telecasting, Inc., prevented a number of prominent political figures from appearing on WJIM-TV. A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) judge ordered the license revoked in 1981. WJIM kept its license when the initial revocation was reversed by FCC in 1982. The ACLU would eventually agree to a cash settlement in 1984.
The stress of the decade-long licensing dispute made Gross decide to exit the broadcasting business. He sold WJIM-TV to Backe Communications in 1984. The station, per FCC rules at the time (which prohibited TV and radio stations in the same market, but with different ownership from sharing the same call letters) adopted its current call letters, WLNS-TV, on July 16, 1984. WJIM-AM would be sold to Liggett Communications the following year. Backe's ownership of the station was short-lived; in 1986 it sold WLNS to Young Broadcasting.
In May 1994, Detroit CBS affiliate WJBK announced that it would switch its affiliation to Fox as part of a deal between the network and New World Communications. CBS heavily approached WXYZ-TV as a replacement affiliate, but the E. W. Scripps Company renewed the station's affiliation with ABC one month later in exchange for switching the affiliations of three of its sister stations to the network. WDIV was not an option as that station was still in a long-term contract with NBC at the time, while WADL, WXON and WKBD were not interested in affiliating with CBS. As a result, it appeared that CBS would not have an affiliate in Detroit. The network persuaded WLNS-TV to build a translator in Ann Arbor which would serve the western portion of the market. Facing the prospect of having to import WLNS-TV.], Flint affiliate WNEM-TV, and Toledo affiliate WTOL for cable subscribers, CBS agreed to purchase independent station WGPR-TV (now WWJ-TV), which became an affiliate of the network on December 11, 1994. WLNS-TV would serve as the default CBS affiliate for the western portion of the Detroit market until WWJ-TV built a new transmitter in 1999.
WLNS-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 6, 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 digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 59 to UHF channel 36, using PSIP to display WLNS-TV's virtual channel as 6 on digital television receivers.
Young filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early-2009. The company was subsequently taken over by its secured lenders and outsourced most of its operations to Gray Television. WLNS-TV was not part of the management agreement because Gray already owned WILX. Young merged with Media General in November 2013.
Following the other Young stations that launched the Country Network in late November 2010, WLNS-TV added that network to its .2 subchannel in the first quarter of 2011. On January 30, 2012, WLNS-TV changed its 6.2 affiliation to the Live Well Network along with 7 other Young stations.
Spectrum sale and channel sharing agreementEdit
In the 2016 FCC spectrum reallocation auction, Media General sold the over-the-air spectrum of WLNS-TV for $13.6 million, while expecting to negotiate a channel sharing arrangement with another station. GetTV on .2 was dropped by March 6, 2018 in order to prepare for the channel share; this would end up being LMA/SSA partner WLAJ. On June 11, 2018, WLNS-TV discontinued broadcasting from its transmitter in Okemos and began broadcasting from WLAJ's transmitter on channel 25; it continues to appear as channel 6 via PSIP. As a consequence because of the channel share and the need to transmit three television signals in high definition (1080i for WLNS, and 720p for WLAJ's two ABC and CW channels), the 6.3 Ion Television subchannel was discontinued (the 6.2 getTV channel had been discontinued months before).
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|6.1||1080i||16:9||WLNS-TV||Main WLNS-TV programming / CBS|
Traditionally, WLNS-TV had been the most watched television station in Central Michigan regularly beating rival WILX in Nielsen ratings. Sometime in the early 2000s, however, WILX overtook WLNS-TV for the first time.
In July 2011, WLNS-TV began airing all of its news programming from a temporary set in the station's breakroom while a new one was constructed in preparation for its own launch of HD news programing. The brand new set debuted on August 26, 2011 during the 5 p.m. newscast while HD newscasts debuted during the 5 p.m. show on October 26, 2011.
On September 12, 2011, 6 News This Morning expanded to two and a half hours and now begins at 4:30 a.m. As a result the CBS Morning News now airs at 4 a.m. locally. On April 1, 2013, WLNS-TV began simulcasting its weeknight 6 and 11 o'clock newscasts on WLAJ. Their morning newscast started simulcasting (from 5 until 7 a.m.) on WLAJ on April 15 and includes separate, recorded cut-ins during ABC's Good Morning America.In addition to its main studios, WLNS-TV operates a bureau within the Jackson Citizen Patriot newsroom on South Jackson Street in downtown Jackson.
As of 2018, WLNS-TV remains the only news operation with a noontime newscast in the market.
Starting in 1982, WLNS-TV's programming was seen on a low-powered analog repeater, W67AJ (channel 67) in Ann Arbor (which is also part of the Detroit market). This translator broadcast from a transmitter atop the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library in Ann Arbor, but was owned by Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. W67AJ went silent in January 2006, and its license was canceled a year later by the FCC.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2013-04-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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