WXMI, virtual channel 17 (UHF digital channel 19), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States and serving the Grand Rapids–Kalamazoo–Battle Creek television market. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. WXMI's studios are located on Plaza Drive (near M-37) on the northern side of Grand Rapids, and its transmitter is located southwest of Middleville.
|Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan|
|City||Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|Branding||Fox 17 (general)|
Fox 17 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)|
Virtual: 17 (PSIP)
|Translators||W18ER-D 18 Muskegon|
W36FA-D 36 Hesperia
17 Battle Creek
WXMI-LD 32 Kalamazoo
(sale to Nexstar Media Group pending; to be resold to the E. W. Scripps Company thereafter)
|Founded||June 1, 1981|
|First air date||March 18, 1982|
|Call letters' meaning||We're FoX MIchigan|
(callsign predates network by three years)
|Former callsigns||WWMA-TV (1982–1983)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
17 (UHF, 1982–2009)
The Tube (2006–2007)
|Transmitter power||750 kW|
|Height||334 m (1,096 ft)|
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The station signed on the air on March 18, 1982 as an independent station under the call sign WWMA. The call letters are said to have stood for "We're West Michigan Alternative". The station was originally owned by Heritage Broadcasting Company. Approximately a year after signing on, additional shareholders bought control of the station and changed the callsign to the current WXMI on August 15, 1983. The "XMI" at the time were said to stand for "EXtreme Michigan". In 1987, WXMI signed an affiliation deal to become the market's Fox affiliate; it joined the network on April 9, 1987 when Fox expanded its programming offerings to include primetime programming. In 1989, the station's stock was purchased by a New York-based company headed by Robert Dudley called Odyssey Television Partners.
Nine years later, WXMI was purchased by Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, which traded the station with sister KTZZ in Seattle, Washington to Tribune Broadcasting in 1998 in exchange for FM station WQCD in New York City. In 2008, cartoons were dropped from WXMI's schedule with the discontinuance of 4KidsTV following a dispute between Fox and the block's lessee 4Kids Entertainment; the Saturday morning time period is currently split between the weekend edition of WXMI's morning newscast, and children's programming (either syndicated or from Fox's Xploration Station block) fulfilling the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s E/I guidelines.
Aborted acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group and resale to Standard Media GroupEdit
On May 8, 2017, Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group – which has owned primary CBS/subchannel-only CW affiliate WWMT (channel 3) since 2012 – entered into an agreement to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune. Sinclair was precluded from acquiring WXMI directly, as WXMI and WWMT rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Grand Rapids–Kalamazoo–Battle Creek market in total day viewership (had this not have been the scenario and Kalamazoo-based ABC affiliate WOTV [channel 41]'s total day viewership resulted in one of the stations ranking fifth at the time of the decision, Sinclair could have legally acquired both stations). On April 24, 2018, in an amendment to the Tribune acquisition through which it proposed the sale of certain stations to both independent and affiliated third-party companies to curry the DOJ's approval, Sinclair announced that it would sell KDSM and eight other stations – Sinclair-operated KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City, WRLH-TV in Richmond, KDSM-TV in Des Moines, WOLF-TV (along with LMA partners WSWB and WQMY) in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and WXLV-TV in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, and Tribune-owned and WXMI in Grand Rapids – to Standard Media Group (an independent broadcast holding company formed by private equity firm Standard General to assume ownership of and absolve ownership conflicts involving the aforementioned stations) for $441.1 million.
Three weeks after the FCC's July 18 vote to have the deal reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties, on August 9, 2018, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the DOJ over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell. As the Standard Media purchase was predicated on the closure of the Sinclair–Tribune merger, the termination of the Sinclair sale agreement likely will also cause the sale of WXMI and the six other Tribune- and Sinclair-operated stations to Standard not being completed, with WXMI and WPMT remaining under Tribune ownership.
Pending sale to ScrippsEdit
On December 3, 2018, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group—which has owned Grand Rapids-based NBC affiliate WOOD-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate WXSP-CD and Battle Creek-based ABC affiliate WOTV (channel 41) since January 2017—announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WXMI directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of more than two stations in the same media market, or two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the market. As such, Nexstar was required to sell either WXMI, WOOD and/or WOTV to separate, unrelated companies to address the ownership conflict. WXSP-CD could either be retained by Nexstar or sold to the new buyer if WOOD/WOTV is sold, as WXSP does not rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Grand Rapids–Kalamazoo–Battle Creek market and does not comply with FCC duopoly rules as it is licensed as a Class A low-power station.
On March 20, 2019, the Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company announced it would purchase WXMI from Nexstar upon consummation of the merger, as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Scripps and Tegna Inc. in separate deals worth $1.32 billion. This would give WXMI sister stations in two other Michigan markets, fellow Fox affiliate WSYM-TV in Lansing and the Detroit duopoly of ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD, in addition to three Wisconsin stations across Lake Michigan, Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV, an NBC affiliate, and the Green Bay duopoly of NBC affiliate WGBA-TV/MyNetworkTV affiliate WACY-TV.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|17.1||720p||16:9||FOX17DT||Main WXMI programming / Fox|
From August 2006 to September 2007, The Tube aired on the station's second digital subchannel. In July 2010, the station reactivated the 17.2 digital subchannel to carry This TV, which moved to 17.3 on December 9 in anticipation of the December 31 launch of Antenna TV.
WXMI shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 17, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19, using PSIP to display WXMI's virtual channel as 17 on digital television receivers.
In addition to its main signal, the station also operates two translators, mainly to provide clear service of the station to lakeshore cities with varying terrain blocking reception of the main signal, and to address interference in farther portions of the market by sister station WGN-TV from Chicago, which also broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 19. Two additional transmitters in the southern part of the market, officially classed as WXMI digital repeaters, serve the direct Kalamazoo area on channel 30 from the tower of WGVU-TV's Kalamazoo satellite WGVK, along with a second repeater licensed to Battle Creek on channel 17 transmitting from the city's south side; all four translators carry WXMI and its subchannel services, and all map via PSIP to channel 17. This means it is possible for a television in the Grand Rapids market receiving an over-the-air signal to map out up to four different WXMI signals in its channel map.
W42CB channel 42 completed a flash-cut to digital-only broadcasting in November 2010. W52DB on analog channel 52 was replaced by a digital signal on channel 17 in December 2010. In late June 2011, W52DB calls became W17DF-D. In mid-March, 2019, W17DF-D moved from channel 17 to channel 18.
|Call letters||Channel||City of license||Transmitter location|
|W18ER-D||18||Muskegon||northeast of city and U.S. 31|
|W36FA-D||36||Hesperia||south of village along M-120|
|WXMI||17||Battle Creek||northeast of I-94 and M-294 interchange|
|WXMI-LD||32||Kalamazoo||WGVK's tower on the west side of Kalamazoo|
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Syndicated programming featured on WXMI includes The Steve Wilkos Show, Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, and Divorce Court. WXMI is an affiliate of the Detroit Lions Television Network which airs pre-season games as well as the weekly syndicated show The Ford Lions Report during the regular season. Since it is outside of the team's local blackout area, it also airs all regular season games produced by Fox.
WXMI presently broadcasts 68½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 11½ hours on weekdays and 5½ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays).
On January 11, 1999, WXMI started its news department and launched the market's first primetime newscast at 10:00 p.m. It originally aired for 35 minutes on weeknights and for a half-hour on weekends. The program would expand to a full hour seven nights a week in 2004. On August 28, 2006, the station premiered the Fox 17 Morning News. Originally a two-hour-long broadcast, it expanded to four hours (running from 5:00-9:00 a.m.) on September 15, 2008. On April 17, 2009, WXMI became the first station in West Michigan to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; at the time, NBC affiliate WOOD-TV and ABC affiliates WZZM (channel 13) and WOTV (channel 41) produced their newscasts in merely widescreen enhanced-definition (CBS affiliate WWMT, channel 3, became the second station in the market to upgrade to HD newscasts on April 16, 2011, followed by WOOD-TV/WOTV on October 22, 2011 and finally, by WZZM on December 3, 2011). On April 20, 2011 during the weekday morning show, the station officially unveiled a new logo, graphics, music package ("The Unexpected" by 615 Music), and set.
On September 21, 2009, WXMI debuted an hour-long newscast at 6 p.m. that competes against half-hour newscasts on WWMT, WOOD-TV, and WZZM and their national network evening newscasts. On March 7, 2011, the station debuted an hour-long lifestyle program at weeknights 5 p.m. called The One Seven; the final broadcast of the program aired only five months later on August 19, 2011. It was hosted by Michele DeSelms and Tim Doty and featured lifestyle segments, art, entertainment stories, cooking segments and some local news. The program was replaced by a traditional hour-long local newscast at 5:00 p.m. (which debuted without any promotion) on August 22, 2011. On March 2, 2013, WXMI debuted weekend morning newscasts, running for four hours from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The station added a nightly 11 p.m. newscast on June 2, 2014; a promo for the new newscast references the shift from the common Fox affiliate news tagline of "at 10 (o'clock) it's news, at 11 (o'clock) it's history," with the additional wording "we changed our mind." A 4 p.m. newscast debuted on September 8, 2014.
Notable former on-air staffEdit
- "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For $1.32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- Stephen Battaglio (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Cynthia Littleton (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group Sets $3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media". Variety. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Todd Frankel (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, giving it control over 215 local TV stations". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings, LLC. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Liana Baker; Jessica Toonkel (May 7, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast nears deal for Tribune Media". Reuters. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (May 8, 2017). "The New Sinclair: 72% Coverage + WGNA". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- Harry A. Jessell (April 24, 2018). "Sinclair Spins Off 23 TVs To Grease Trib Deal". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- "Sinclair Enters Into Agreements to Sell TV Stations Related to Closing Tribune Media Acquisition" (PDF) (Press release). Sinclair Broadcast Group. April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- "Sinclair Revises TV Spinoff Plans For Tribune Deal, Announces Deals For Several Stations". All Access. April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- "Station Trading Roundup: 7 Deals, $571.7M". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. May 1, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- "Form of Transition Services Agreement". Federal Communications Commission. April 30, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- "Tribune Terminates $3.9 Billion Sinclair Merger, Sues Broadcast Rival". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. August 9, 2018.
- Mark K. Miller (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Kills Sinclair Merger, Files Suit". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- Christopher Dinsmore (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Media pulls out of Sinclair Broadcast merger". Baltimore Sun. Tronc.
- Edmund Lee; Amie Tsang (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Ends Deal With Sinclair, Dashing Plan for Conservative TV Behemoth". The New York Times. The New York Times Company.
- Jon Lafayette (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Ends Deal with Sinclair, Files Breach of Contract Suit". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
- Brian Fung; Tony Romm (August 9, 2018). "Tribune withdraws from Sinclair merger, saying it will sue for 'breach of contract'". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC.
- "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
- Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- Peter White; Dade Hayes (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
- Gerry Smith; Nabila Ahmed; Eric Newcomer (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Bloomberg News.
- Arjun Panchadar; Sonam Rai (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
- Jon Lafayette (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
- Adam Jacobson (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
- Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- Mark K. Miller (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For $1.32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- Nabila Ahmed; Anousha Sakoui (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar to Sell Stations to Tegna, Scripps for $1.32 Billion". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, L.P.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WXMI
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- CDBS Print
- (PDF) http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/Auth_Files/1298659.pdf. Retrieved December 17, 2010. Missing or empty
- "FCC TV Query Results W17DF-D". Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- WXMI-TV Fox 17 adds 6 p.m. newscast starting Sept. 21, MLive.com, September 10, 2009.
- Fox-17's 'One Seven' co-hosts Michelle DeSelms and Tim Doty ease into new afternoon show, The Grand Rapids Press, March 18, 2011.
- Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey (May 22, 2014). "FOX 17 announces plans to air news at 11 p.m. in West Michigan". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- "NBC Sports Bay Area's Ahmed Fareed Named National Studio and Event Host for NBC Sports". NBC Sports Pressbox. 5 February 2019.
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