WYFX-LD is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Mahoning Valley of Northeastern Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Licensed to Youngstown, Ohio, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 19 from a transmitter near the city's Pleasant Grove section. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, WYFX is sister to CBS affiliate WKBN-TV and ABC affiliate WYTV. The latter, however, is actually owned by Vaughan Media and operated by Nexstar through a shared services agreement (SSA) and a joint sales agreement (JSA). All three outlets share studios on Sunset Boulevard near Youngstown's Pleasant Grove section.
|Branding||Fox Youngstown (general)
27 First News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Investigative. In-Depth. In The Valley.|
|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF) &
WKBN-DT 41.2 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|Founded||April 14, 1989|
|Call letters' meaning||Warren and Youngstown's FoX|
|Sister station(s)||WKBN, WYTV|
|Former callsigns||W62BT (1989–2000)
WYFX-LP (2000–2011) W40AM (WLFX)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
62 (UHF, 1998–2011)
|Transmitter power||15 kW
650 kW (WKBN-DT2)
440 m (WKBN-DT2)
Even though WYFX broadcasts a digital signal of its own, its low-powered broadcasting radius does not reach the entire market. Therefore, it is simulcast on the second digital subchannel of WKBN displaying as virtual channel 27.2.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|19.1||720p||16:9||WYFX-HD||Main WYFX-LD programming / Fox|
WYFX-LP, along with repeater WFXI-LP (channel 17) in Mercer, Pennsylvania, were launched in 1998 as the area's first full-time Fox affiliates. (WFXI-LP shared its call letters with the Fox affiliate in Morehead City, North Carolina; both stations were owned by Piedmont Television until 2007, but were otherwise unrelated.) Previously, WYTV showed some Fox Sports events from 1994 until 1998, while Fox's prime-time programming was seen on cable via WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh, or from the network's Cleveland affiliates, first WOIO-TV, then from WJW-TV after WOIO switched to CBS. With digital television in its infancy at the time, WYFX and WFXI were started with their own signals as opposed to future stations WFMJ-DT2 and WYTV-DT2, which were both launched on new second digital subchannels of WFMJ-TV and WYTV respectively. This resulted in WYFX and WFXI having their own licenses with the FCC. Because of duopoly rules at the time, which would be partially repealed only two years later, both stations were launched as low-power stations (though WFXI converted to a class A license in 2002).
The two were originally branded "Fox 40/62", followed by "Fox 31/62" and finally "Fox 17/62" for most of their first ten years. In 2008, the stations started slowly re-branding themselves as "Fox Youngstown" in some advertisements, despite still using the "Fox 17/62" logo. This was done because the on-air branding of "Fox 17/62" would be rendered useless once they would be forced to sign-off their analog signals in 2012. Low-power and class A analog signals have a later deadline for sign-off than the June 12, 2009 sign-off for full-powered analog signals like WKBN. Additionally, WYFX and WFXI are carried on different channel positions on cable.
A new logo was introduced for the start of the 2008-2009 fall season, similar to the old logo except that the "17 / 62" designation, as well as the WYFX calls, are removed. Some advertisements still used the "Fox 17 / 62" branding for some time afterward, but as of October 2008, the stations had all but fully renamed themselves as "Fox Youngstown". A completely redesigned logo would debut in February 2009, matching WKBN's then-newly redesigned logo, and by that point all references to the stations' channel numbers had disappeared.
On February 8, 2009, WKBN did a "dual HD" test airing both college basketball on 41.1 and the Gatorade Duel (the qualifying race for the Daytona 500) on 41.2 in a possible attempt to broadcast both signals in high definition full-time. Previously, WKBN-DT2 was aired in standard definition with special sporting events (such as additional games from the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship) using 41.3 in HD. WKBN had to compress both signals to the 720p format in order to make it possible. That station began broadcasting both channels in high definition full-time the next day making WKBN the eighth station nationally to broadcast two subchannels in high definition on the same signal. This continued until October 4, 2011, when New Vision moved the WYFX-HD transmission to the WYFX-LD antenna.
WFXI-CA was closed down on October 1, 2009, with the license being returned to the FCC the next day. However, current television listings continue to display WFXI-CA. Although WYFX would not normally qualify for must-carry due to being a low-power station, it is carried on all Mahoning Valley cable systems as part of the compensation for carrying WKBN. It is noticeably absent from Comcast systems in New Castle, Pennsylvania, which, despite being considerably closer to Youngstown, is part of the Pittsburgh market.
On May 7, 2012, LIN TV Corporation announced that it would acquire the New Vision Television station group for $330.4 million and the assumption of $12 million in debt. Along with the outright ownership of WYFX-LD and sister station WKBN-TV, the agreement included the acquisition of New Vision's shared services agreement with PBC Broadcasting (whose station licenses would be transferred to Vaughan Media as part of the deal), giving LIN operational control of WYTV. LIN and Vaughan also entered into a joint sales agreement for WYTV. On October 2, the FCC approved the proposed sale to LIN TV. The transaction was completed on October 12, 2012.
On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would purchase LIN Media and its stations, including WKBN-TV, WYFX-LD, and the SSA and JSA with WYTV, in a $1.6 billion merger. The FCC approved the deal on December 12, 2014, but a condition of the deal requires Media General to end the JSA between WKBN-TV and WYTV within two years due to tighter regulations on such deals; Media General is not required to divest itself of WYFX-LD, since low-powered stations do not count against FCC ownership limits. The merger was completed on December 19.
On January 23, 2006, WYFX's First News at 10 on Fox 17/62 (produced by WKBN) became the area's only hour-long prime time broadcast on weeknights while remaining thirty minutes on weekends. After a rebranding occurred in 2008, the title changed to First News on Fox. For a period, WYFX's show competed with another newscast seen at the same time on MyNetwork affiliate WYTV-DT2 that was produced by its parent ABC station.
There is also a two-hour weekday morning show seen on WYFX while WKBN broadcasts The Early Show. Known as First News This Morning on Fox, the program is essentially an extension of the CBS affiliate's show offering a local alternative. On May 6, 2010, WKBN and WYTV upgraded their combined news operation to high definition. Local news seen on Fox affiliate WYFX was also included in the change. There are news and weather sharing partnerships with WNCD-FM 93.3, WAKZ-FM 95.9, WMXY-FM 98.9, WBBG-FM 106.1, WKBN-AM 570, and WNIO-AM 1390.
- Digital TV Market Listing for WKBN
- "Notification of Suspension of Operations". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. September 30, 2009. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
- "Surrender of License, WFXI-CA..." (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 2, 2009. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
- Malone, Michael (May 7, 2012). "LIN Acquiring New Vision Stations for $330 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- "Joint Sales Agreement" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. May 4, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- "LIN Completes New Vision Stations Buy". TVNewsCheck. October 12, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Reid Blackwell, John (March 21, 2014). "MG will combine with LIN TV chain". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- "Television companies to merge". The Vindicator. March 22, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- FCC Okays Media General/LIN Merger Broadcasting & Cable (12/12/2014)
- Media General Completes Merger With LIN Media, Press Release, Media General, Retrieved 19 December, 2014