|WTTV: Bloomington, Indiana
WTTK: Kokomo/Indianapolis, Indiana
|Branding||Indiana's Channel 4|
WTTV: 48 (UHF)
WTTK: 29 (UHF)
WTTV: 4 (PSIP)
WTTK: 29 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||4.1/29.1 The CW
4.2/29.2 This TV
(Tribune Broadcasting Indianapolis, LLC)
|First air date||WTTV:
November 11, 1949
WTTK: May 6, 1983
|Call letters' meaning||WTTV:
(after founding owner Sarkes Tarzian)
WTTK: WTTV Kokomo
|Former callsigns||WTTK: WWKI (1983-1987)|
|Former channel number(s)||WTTV:
10 (VHF, 1949-1954)
4 (VHF, 1954-2009)
29 (VHF, 1983-2009)
Digital: 54 (UHF)
The WB (1998–2006)
|Transmitter power||WTTV: 870 kW
WTTK: 550 kW
|Height||WTTV: 318 m
WTTK: 300 m
|Facility ID||WTTV: 56523
WTTV is the CW-affiliated television station serving Indianapolis and Central Indiana. Licensed to Bloomington, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 48 (virtual channel 4.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on State Road 252 in Trafalgar. Owned by the Tribune Company, WTTV is sister to Fox affiliate WXIN and the two stations share studios on Network Place (near 71st Street & I-465) in the northwestern portion of Indianapolis. Syndicated programming on this station includes The People's Court, Everybody Loves Raymond, America's Court with Judge Ross, Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
The station operates a full-time satellite station WTTK, licensed to Kokomo and operating on UHF channel 29 from WXIN's transmitter on West 73rd Street/Westlane Road on Indianapolis' north side. WTTK covers northern portions of the market that receive a marginal to non-existent signal of WTTV (including the cities of Kokomo, Muncie and Lafayette), though there is significant overlap between the coverage areas of both WTTV and WTTK's signals otherwise. On-air references to WTTK are limited to FCC-mandated hourly station identifications during newscasts and other programming.
- Digital television
- Local programming
- See also
- External links
WTTV debuted as Indiana's second television station (just over six months after WFBM-TV, channel 6) on November 11, 1949, originally operating on VHF channel 10. It has made the claim to being Indiana's oldest "continuously operating" television station because WFBM-TV had a transmitter failure which put it off the air for an extended period of time shortly after WTTV went on. The station was founded and owned by Sarkes Tarzian, a Bloomington-based radio manufacturer and broadcaster, and was an NBC affiliate with secondary ABC and DuMont affiliations. In the early years, instead of buying most of the expensive items needed to run a TV station, Tarzian had his own engineers and technicians design and build the items needed. For example an over head microphone boom cost approximately $300. Tarzian employees built one for less than $30. When Tarzian decided to start broadcasting network shows, establishing a coaxial cable link from Cincinnati would prove impractical, so Tarzian built his own microwave rely system from Cincinnati to Bloomington. In 1957, the station activated its current tower in Trafalgar. At 1,132 feet (345 m) above ground level, it is the tallest structure in Indiana. Previously, the station broadcast from a shorter tower near Cloverdale ( ).
As an independent station
WTTV moved from channel 10 to VHF channel 4 on February 21, 1954. It dropped the ABC affiliation two months later after WISH-TV (channel 8) signed on. In 1956, NBC moved its affiliation to WFBM-TV, and WTTV became an independent station. Also in 1956, it moved its main studios to a site at Bluff Road on the south side of Indianapolis, though it retained the original studios in Bloomington as an auxiliary site for many years thereafter. At that point, the station signed on air weekdays at 2 p.m., and showed a test pattern until 4 p.m., when its programming began. The station initially ran old movies and low budget syndicated shows as well as producing some of its own local programming. By the 1970s, WTTV was on the air by 6 a.m. and stayed on the air until at least 2 a.m. In addition to local programming, WTTV aired plenty of movies in the early afternoon and prime time slots. It also aired cartoons both mixed in with locally produced children's shows in the afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m. In the evenings, WTTV aired off-network sitcoms.
During the 1970s, WTTV became a regional superstation available on many cable systems in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, though it disappeared from cable systems outside Indiana in the mid-1980s. Sarkes Tarzian sold WTTV to Teleco in September 1978; the station was then sold to the Tel-Am Corporation in March 1984. Although it was one of the strongest independent stations in the country, it remained an independent station when Fox debuted in 1986; the network opted to affiliate with WTTV's eventual sister station WXIN. By the mid-1980s, WTTV began airing more cartoons and first-run syndicated talk shows during the daytime hours, as well as an increased amount of recent off-network sitcoms during the evening. The station began operating on a 24-hour-a-day schedule by that time as well.
In 1987, Tel-Am purchased WWKI-TV in Kokomo (located 52 miles (84 km) north of Indianapolis), which signed on the air on May 6, 1983, and made that station a full-time satellite of WTTV under the callsign WTTK. WTTV's transmitter is located farther south than the other major Indianapolis stations due to Federal Communications Commission regulations requiring that a station's transmitter site be located no more than 15 miles (24 km) from its city of license (in this case, Bloomington, which is 50 miles (80 km) south of Indianapolis). As a result, the WTTV signal only provided a grade B ("rim-shot") signal to Indianapolis' northern suburbs until the purchase of channel 29. Most of this area only got a clear signal from channel 4 when cable arrived in Indianapolis in the late 1960s. Tel-Am filed for bankruptcy in 1987, and WTTV and WTTK were both sold to Capitol Broadcasting in July 1988 after an attempted sale to locally based Emmis Communications fell through. The station was then sold to River City Broadcasting in 1991.
From UPN to The WB to The CW
On January 16, 1995, WTTV became a charter affiliate of the upstart United Paramount Network. The station was acquired by the Sinclair Broadcast Group following Sinclair's merger with River City Broadcasting in 1996. In order to close on the River City acquisition, Sinclair had to obtain a waiver of the Federal Communications Commission regulations of the time that forbade common ownership of two full-power commercially licensed television stations in the same market as Sinclair already owned WIIB (channel 63), which the company eventually sold to DP Media two years later. The station swapped affiliations with WNDY-TV in 1998 and joined The WB Television Network in 1998, while WNDY-TV took the UPN affiliation. WTTV was dropped from most cable providers outside of the Indianapolis market in the late 1990s, but the station remains available on cable television on the Indiana side of the Terre Haute market.
On April 19, 2002, Sinclair sold the station to Tribune Broadcasting, creating a duopoly with Fox affiliate WXIN when the purchase was completed on July 24 of that year. WTTV merged its operations with those of WXIN at that station's facility on Network Place. Although WTTV was a longer-established station, Tribune chose to keep Fox programming on WXIN due in part to WTTV's weaker signal in the northern part of the Indianapolis market. Additionally, Fox only airs up to two Indianapolis Colts games each year due to the Colts being part of the American Football Conference of the National Football League, so Fox did not consider Indianapolis as important in getting a VHF affiliate.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner announced that the company would merge the operations of The WB with CBS Corporation's UPN (which CBS acquired one month earlier in December 2005 following its split from Viacom), to form a joint venture called The CW Television Network. The network signed a ten-year affiliation agreement with Tribune Broadcasting for 16 of the 19 WB affiliates that the company owned at the time, including WTTV/WTTK. In August 2008, the station changed its on-air branding from "CW 4" to "Indiana's 4" in a corporate effort by Tribune to strengthen the local branding of its stations and reduce the dependence on the use of references to The CW in its stations' branding.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main WTTV/WTTK programming / The CW|
WTTK: THIS TV
WTTV and WTTK shut down their analog signals 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. WTTV's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48, while WTTK's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 54 to UHF channel 29. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.
After WXIN ceased its analog broadcasts on that same date, Tribune began broadcasting WTTK's signal from a newly installed common antenna on the top of WXIN's transmitter tower on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Prior to the digital transition, WTTK operated an analog transmitter on State Route 213, just south of Windfall, Indiana, the site remains under Tribune ownership, though the FCC does not presently have an application on file for use of the transmitter as a backup Digital Auxiliary Service.
From 1950 until 1990, WTTV operated an in-house news department and carried a nightly 10 p.m. newscast. It was one of the few independent stations outside the top-10 markets that had a functioning news department. In 1991, shortly after River City bought the station, WTTV shuttered its news department. Instead, WRTV began airing a 10 p.m. newscast the ABC affiliate produced for WTTV called 6News at 10, the news open began with a WTTV station ID. The newscast was canceled when Tribune bought the station, so as to not compete with WXIN's 10 p.m. newscast. Since becoming a sister station to WXIN, the Fox affiliate has aired its 10 p.m. newscast on WTTV during Fox network telecasts of MLB playoff games that run into the 10 p.m. slot. There is no News at Ten logo in place of the Fox 59 News branding, unlike its Hartford, Connecticut, sister station.
Other than that, WTTV had not aired any newscasts full-time until March 31, 2008, when it began simulcasting WXIN's four-hour morning newscast; the simulcast continued until September 18, 2009 (with only the 6-9 a.m. portion being simulcast from January 2-March 28, 2008); the simulcast of WXIN's morning newscast returned on October 12, 2009, and continued until September 10, 2010, when it moved to WTTV's second digital subchannel, WTTV had only simulcast the 4:30-6 a.m. portion of the newscast this time around. The only locally produced programming on WTTV/WTTK close to a news product was Indy's MarketPlace (or Indiana's Market), which aired weekdays at 8 and 11:30 a.m.; the program ended on September 10, 2010.
Besides simulcasts and default carriage of WXIN's newscasts in the event of Fox Sports programming delays, WTTV has not carried traditional local newscasts produced specifically for the station since the 2002 cancellation of the WRTV-produced newscast; it is presently one of only five Tribune-owned stations not carrying daily newscasts (alongside WNOL/New Orleans, WCCT/Hartford-New Haven, WDCW/Washington, D.C. and WSFL/Miami) of any kind. However, WXIN's morning newscast was simulcasted weekday mornings from 4-10 a.m. and weekend mornings from 6-9 a.m. on WTTV digital subchannel 4.2 and WTTK digital subchannel 29.2, which otherwise carry programming from This TV. The simulcast ended September of 2013.
- Capital News Beat (1969–1971)
- Channel 4 News (1971–1974)
- News 4 Indiana (1974–1979)
- The Ten O'Clock News/The Nine O'Clock News (standard time), (1979–1988)
- The Indiana Nightly News (1988–1989)
- TTV4 News (1989–1990)
- 6 News at Ten on TTV4 (1991–1998)
- 6 News at Ten on WB 4 Indiana (1998–2002)
- Fox 59 News on Indiana's WB 4 (October 2003-September 2006; during MLB Playoffs)
- Fox 59 News on CW 4 (October 2006-August 2008)
- Fox 59 News on Indiana's 4 (August 2008-September 18, 2009, and October 12, 2009–September 10, 2010)
- Fox 59 News at 10 on Indiana's 4 (during MLB Playoffs only and Fox Sports/live network telecasts expected to run past 10 p.m.)
- Fox 59 Morning News (2008–2013; aired on WTTV 4.2/WTTK 29.2)
- "The Indiana Television Station" (1986–1989)
- "4 The Good Times" (late 1980s)
- "TTV4, The New Channel 4" (1989)
- "The Heart of Indiana" (1989–1995)
- "Live Indiana." (2008–present)
Notable former on-air staff
- Hilliard Gates - longtime Indiana University Men's basketball announcer and reporter (deceased)
- Frank Edwards - host of Stranger Than Science, a locally produced program on UFOs and the paranormal from 1955 to 1959 and 1961 to 1962 (died 1967)
- Barbara Stock - host of the talk show Mid-Morning (best known as Susan Silverman on the detective drama Spenser: For Hire)
- Sammy Terry (real name: Bob Carter) - late night horror movie show host (Died 6-30-13)
The station also referred to itself as "Indiana's Sports Station" for many years, having been the Indianapolis television broadcaster of Big Ten basketball – with a focus on Indiana University and Purdue University – since the 1950s, via both in-house productions and later syndication deals with Raycom Sports and ESPN Plus. In fact, many cable systems in Indiana began carrying WTTV simply for the Hoosiers and Boilermakers game telecasts. WTTV also presented other Big Ten football and men's basketball matchups on Saturdays, until the station lost rights to the Big Ten after the athletic conference launched the Big Ten Network in August 2007. Since then, WTTV has aired Saturday afternoon telecasts of college basketball games from the Big East Conference (presumably due to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's large following in the area).
WTTV was also previously the flagship station for preseason games of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, which have since moved to WNDY. WTTV traditionally produced statewide boys' and girls' high school basketball tournament finals and high school football championship games; however, after the Indiana High School Athletics Association converted its basketball tournament from a single-class to a multi-class format in 1997, WTTV chose not to renew those rights citing ratings declines; a new agreement with the IHSAA returned these events to WTTV in the fall of 2010.
WTTV also served as the television flagship for the Indiana Pacers from the team's days in the original American Basketball Association (except for a period in the mid-1980s, when those rights were held by present-day sister station WXIN). WTTV lost rights to the Pacers beginning in the 2006-2007 season, when the NBA team moved their local game telecasts to regional sports network and Midwest subfeed Fox Sports Indiana.
In August 2008, WTTV debuted Hoosier High School Sports Overtime, a weekly half-hour program devoted to Indiana high school athletics that airs Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m., it is hosted by WXIN sports anchor Jeremiah Johnson. In November of that year, the station also began running Hoosier High School Sports Classics, a two-hour program that features rebroadcasts of past Indiana high school football and basketball state championship games, interspersed with present day interviews of coaches and athletes that were involved; it aired on Sundays from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Other locally produced programming
From the 1960s to the early 1980s, WTTV was known in Central Indiana for its local programming, including children's shows Janie (previously Popeye and Janie) and Cowboy Bob's Corral (previously Chuckwagon Theatre, both starring Bob Glaze as Cowboy Bob). Horror movies during this timeframe were presented late nights by Sammy Terry, a ghoulish vampire character portrayed by Bob Carter. The station frequently ran local advertising included Dave Mason Buick, "Old Dave needs the money", who was often shown in the stands during coverage of the Marion County fair. In the late 1980s, the station produced a film noir-styled mystery show titled Hide & Sneak, that was related to a scratch-off game distributed at local supermarkets. Solving the mystery presented in one of the skits led to prizes. Each episode aired only once, however, because of its time-sensitive nature.
In 2008, Clear Channel-owned radio station WFBQ formed a partnership with the Tribune Company to produce a television broadcast of the nationally syndicated radio program The Bob & Tom Show (hosted by Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold) taken from that day's radio broadcast that would air on WTTV and Chicago-based cable superstation WGN America, in an effort by Tribune to bring back programming distributed by the company on its stations. The program debuted on November 3, 2008, with WGN America dropping the program on September 10, 2010.
- "TV Comes to Small Town." Popular Mechanics, August 1952, pp. 128-132/228.
- Tribune to Acquire WTTV-TV (WB4), Indianapolis; Purchase Creates Company's Fourth Duopoly
- '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.
- Tribune TV Stations to Lead Affiliate Group of New Network, Tribune Company corporate website, January 24, 2006.
- CDBS Print
- CDBS Print
- WTTV February 2008 News Promo Montage
- PACERS ANNOUNCE FOX SPORTS Partnership, NBA, August 15, 2006.
- "Radio's Bob & Tom are off their nightly TV show". Radio-Info.com. September 21, 2010.
- Indianas4.com - Official WTTV-TV Website
- Indianapolis.ThisTV.com - Official This TV Indianapolis Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTTV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTTV-TV
- Listing 1026127 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database
- WTTV Television Tower at Structurae
- Tribune Company: Press Release: Tribune Completes Acquisition of WTTV-TV (WB4), Indianapolis - July 24, 2002
- Official Website of Cowboy Bob's Corral
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTTK
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTTK-TV
- Listing 1030684 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database
- Listing 1026126 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database