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WWHO, virtual channel 53 (UHF digital channel 46), is a CW-affiliated television station serving Columbus, Ohio, United States that is licensed to Chillicothe. Owned by Manhan Media, Inc., it is operated under a shared services agreement (SSA) by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, making it a sister station to Columbus-licensed ABC affiliate WSYX (channel 6, owned by Sinclair outright) and Fox affiliate WTTE (channel 28, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting and operated by Sinclair under a separate local marketing agreement [LMA]). However, Sinclair effectively owns WTTE as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. The three stations share studios on Dublin Road in Grandview Heights (with a Columbus mailing address); WWHO's transmitter is located in Williamsport, Ohio.
|Branding||The CW Columbus|
|Slogan||Columbus is watching|
|Channels||Digital: 46 (UHF)|
(to move to 23 (UHF))
Virtual: 53 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||53.1: The CW|
|Owner||Manhan Media, Inc.|
|Operator||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Founded||October 29, 1984|
|First air date||August 31, 1987|
|Call letters' meaning||W WatcHing TV in Ohio|
|Sister station(s)||WSYX, WTTE|
|Former callsigns||WWAT (1987–1994)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
53 (UHF, 1987–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1987–1995)|
The WB (1995–2006; secondary from 2000)
UPN (1997–2006; secondary until 2000)
Grit (DT2, 2015–2017)
Pax (1998–1999; secondary)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
540 kW (CP)
1000 kW (application)
|Height||328 m (1,076 ft)|
341 m (1,119 ft) (CP)
286 m (938 ft) (application)
|Public license information||Profile|
WWHO also served briefly as the default CW affiliate (on cable) for the Zanesville media market from March 2008 through early July 2008, after WHIZ-TV discontinued WBZV, its cable-only CW Plus affiliate. The CW Plus has since been reinstated to the Zanesville cable line-up via a Spectrum-provided cable-only CW Plus feed branded as "Zanesville CW 13" in the market, which has no connections to WHIZ-TV. WWHO served as the de facto over-the-air WB affiliate for the Dayton, Ohio media market until 1999, when WBDT (then a primary Pax affiliate) joined The WB; which relegated Pax to a secondary affiliation. WWHO also provided UPN service to much of the Dayton market over the air until 2006, when The CW was launched.
The station began operating on August 31, 1987 as an independent station using the call letters WWAT, named after its owner, Wendell A. Triplett. It filled in a void created when future sister station WTTE joined Fox in 1986. The station originally operated from studios located on River Road (US 23) in Chillicothe. It operated a Columbus translator on W17AI channel 17 (now WDEM, which is still owned by Triplett) until 1992, when WWAT was added to many cable providers in the Columbus market due to cable must-carry legislation. It quickly established itself as a solid competitor to WTTE, despite its signal limitations.
Triplett sold the station to Fant Broadcasting for $2 million in 1994 and changed its calls to WWHO on April 15. At the same time, the on-air name "Who-53" was adopted. At the same time, the station entered a local marketing agreement with NBC affiliate WCMH-TV (channel 4, then owned by the Outlet Company), which included producing a nightly 10 p.m. newscast (the first such in the Columbus market) using WCMH's facilities and resources.
The station remained an independent station until January 11, 1995, when WWHO became a charter affiliate of The WB Television Network. WWHO (then branded on-air as "WB 53") retained this affiliation until the Paramount Stations Group (a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, whose parent company is Viacom) agreed to acquire the station in 1997, along with sister station WLWC in Providence, Rhode Island and sell WVIT in New Britain, Connecticut to NBC in return. At that time the station became a secondary UPN affiliate, as UPN programming was moved from WTTE, primarily a Fox affiliate, to WWHO; while channel 53 retained a primary WB affiliation through the duration of its contract, the station nonetheless soon began calling itself "UPN 53." In the fall of 1998, WWHO began to carry programming in the overnight hours from the upstart Pax TV network (now Ion Television), as Pax struggled to find a full-power affiliate in the Columbus market. This arrangement ended in February 1999, when Pax affiliated with WSFJ-TV (channel 51) in Newark. In 2000, WWHO switched its primary affiliation to UPN, but signed a deal with The WB to retain its programming on a secondary basis through what a Paramount Stations Group executive described as a "program license agreement." The station dropped the channel number from its branding in 2002, becoming "UPN Columbus." On February 10, 2005, it was announced that the Viacom Television Stations Group (the successor to the Paramount Stations Group as a result of Viacom merging with CBS in 1999) was selling WWHO and WNDY-TV (in the Indianapolis market) to LIN Television for $85 million.
On February 10, 2005, LIN Television announced its intention to bring 10 p.m. news, which had disappeared from WWHO following its acquisition by Paramount Stations Group, back to the station. This half-hour newscast was produced by WBNS-TV, and debuted on September 1, 2005, concurrent with a rebranding of the station as "UPN 53 WWHO." Unlike WCMH in previous years, WBNS chose to use its own station branding on the newscast rather than WWHO's, including WBNS' normal "10TV News HD" graphics beginning in 2007 (despite the fact WWHO's newscast was not broadcast in HD until mid-2008).
The rebrand proved to be short-lived, as UPN and The WB merged to form The CW in 2006. WWHO was the obvious choice as Columbus' CW affiliate since it already carried both UPN and WB programming. However, when the first list of affiliates outside the core group of CBS-owned UPN affiliates and Tribune-owned WB affiliates was announced, WWHO wasn't on the list. After some delay, LIN eventually agreed to affiliate four of its WB and UPN affiliates, including WWHO, with The CW, making WWHO the largest The CW affiliate owned by LIN. (WSYX, the area's ABC affiliate (and sister station to WTTE), launched a new digital subchannel featuring programming from MyNetworkTV in September of that year.)
On July 31, approximately one month before The CW officially debuted, WWHO rebranded with a new logo and slogan, "The CW on WWHO-TV." Once more, the station's channel number was de-emphasized. However, the station today goes by "The CW Columbus."
On December 31, 2008, WBNS ceased production of WWHO's 10 p.m. newscast. Currently, WWHO repeats the WSYX ABC 6 News at 11 weeknights at midnight.
In November 2011, it was reported that the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owner of WSYX and who also effectively owns WTTE, was in talks to purchase WWHO from LIN for an estimated $7 million. This deal, if it were approved, would have given Sinclair control of four of the six largest network affiliations in the Ohio capital. This deal never materialized, however, and LIN filed instead to sell the station to Manhan Media. The sale was granted on December 20, 2011. In February 2012, after consummating the sale, Manhan Media entered into a shared services agreement (SSA) with Sinclair, making WWHO a sister station to WSYX and WTTE. (Manhan Media's owner, Stephen P. Mumblow, subsequently started Deerfield Media to acquire the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assets, including the licenses, of several stations that are being divested by Sinclair in the wake of its purchase of stations from Newport Television. However, Sinclair will retain control of those stations through joint sales and shared services agreements.) In a way, the SSA also reunited WWHO with WLWC, which Sinclair owned outright until April 2013 when that station was sold to OTA Broadcasting, LLC. Although Sinclair now controls WWHO, it initially continued to operate from separate studios several blocks east of the WSYX/WTTE studios; by October 2013, WWHO had moved in with WSYX/WTTE.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|53.1||720p||16:9||WWHO-DT||Main WWHO programming / The CW|
WWHO was one of only two full-power television stations in the Columbus market (the other being WTTE) that honored the original DTV transition date of February 17, 2009. The station shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 53, at 11:59 p.m. on that date, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 46, using PSIP to display WWHO's virtual channel as 53 on digital television receivers, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
For approximately two weeks after the official shutoff, an information card could be seen on channel 53 directing viewers to WWHO's new location, as well as contact information regarding the DTV switchover. Analog channel 53 is now dark.
- Feran, Tim (February 18, 2012). "Owner of WSYX will manage local CW affiliate". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "WWHO homepage". UPN 53. Paramount Stations Group. Archived from the original on March 7, 2000.
PLEASE NOTE: UPN 53 carries WB primary and UPN secondary, so our schedule is different than the national UPN site. UPN 53 is a dual-affiliate, carrying both WB and UPN programming.
- Schneider, Michael (February 22, 2000). "Sharing the wealth". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
With Paramount's WWHO Columbus and WLWC Providence about to make a long-planned switch from the WB to UPN…
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2006-04-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Sinclair Buying Freedom For $385 Million, TVNewsCheck, November 2, 2011.
- Sinclair Inks Shared Services Deal for WWHO Columbus, Broadcasting & Cable, March 8, 2012.
- Hagey, Keach (October 20, 2013). "Sinclair Draws Scrutiny Over Growth Tactic". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
A modest brick building surrounded by parabolic dishes here by the Scioto River sports three signs: WSYX, WTTE, WWHO.
- "RabbitEars TV Query for WWHO". www.rabbitears.info.
- "List of Digital Full-Power Stations" (PDF). 29 August 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2013.