Wstm 2009.png

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Syracuse, New York
Branding NBC 3 (general)
NBC 3 News (newscasts)
CW 6 (on DT2)
Slogan Live. Local.
Channels Digital: 24 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
Subchannels 3.1 NBC
3.2 The CW
3.3 local weather
Owner Barrington Broadcasting
(Barrington Syracuse License, LLC)
First air date February 15, 1950
Call letters' meaning Syracuse
Times Mirror
(named when it
owned the station)
Sister station(s) WSTQ-LP, WTVH
Former callsigns WSYR-TV (1950-1980)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
3 (VHF, 1950-2009)
Digital: 54 (UHF)
Former affiliations NBC Weather Plus
(on DT3)
The Tube (on DT4)
Transmitter power 210 kW
Height 393 m
Facility ID 21252
Transmitter coordinates 42°56′42.9″N 76°7′5.9″W / 42.94525°N 76.118306°W / 42.94525; -76.118306

WSTM-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for Central New York State licensed to Syracuse. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 24 from a transmitter on Sentinel Heights Road in LaFayette. The station can also be seen on Verizon FiOS channel 3 and Time Warner channel 4. There is a high definition feed offered on Verizon FiOS digital channel 503 and Time Warner digital channel 863. Owned by Barrington Broadcasting, it is sister to low-powered CW affiliate WSTQ-LP.

WSTM operates CBS affiliate WTVH (owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation) through joint sales and shared services agreements. All three share studios on James Street/NY 290 in the Near Northeast section of Syracuse. Syndicated programming on this channel includes: Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Ellen, and Dr. Phil. WSTM and WSTQ split coverage of New York Yankees games produced by the YES Network for MyNetworkTV affiliate WWOR-TV.


Digital programming

Due to its low-powered status, WSTQ does not operate a digital signal of its own. However, it is carried in standard definition on WSTM's second digital subchannel to serve that purpose. WSTM-DT3 aired NBC Weather Plus which ceased operation on December 1, 2008. However, there continues to be a local weather channel known as "CNY Central" that can also be seen on Verizon FiOS digital channel 460 and Time Warner digital channel 864. [1] At one point, WSTM-DT4 aired The Tube, a 24-hour music channel. After the network ceased broadcasting, the subchannel became vacant.

Channels (virtual/physical) Programming
3.1/24.1 main WSTM programming/NBC HD
3.2/24.2 WSTQ-LP "CW 6"
3.3/24.3 WSTM-DT3 "CNY Central"


The station began operations on February 15, 1950 with the call sign WSYR-TV. It was owned by Advance Publications (the Newhouse family's company) along with the Syracuse Post-Standard, Syracuse Herald-Journal, and WSYR radio (AM 570 and FM 94.5 now WYYY). It was Syracuse's second television station signing-on a year and three months after WHEN-TV (now WTVH). It originally had facilities at the Kemper Building in Downtown Syracuse. In 1958, WSYR-AM-FM-TV moved to new studios on James Street.

Unlike most NBC affiliates in two station markets, this channel did not take a secondary ABC or DuMont affiliation. WSYR-TV doubled as the NBC affiliate for Binghamton until WINR-TV (now WICZ) signed-on in 1957. It also operated a satellite station in Elmira until 1980. That station was first known as WSYE-TV and is now WETM-TV. That channel is now owned by Newport Television and fed via centralcasting facilities of a Syracuse cross-town rival, which ironically now holds the WSYR-TV call letters. It still remains affiliated with NBC.

The Newhouse family largely exited broadcasting in 1980 and sold WSYR-TV to the Times Mirror Company. Since the company was not interested in the radio stations, it changed the television station's calls to WSTM-TV (for Syracuse Times Mirror) and kept the James Street studios. Under Times Mirror ownership, WSTM was sister to fellow NBC affiliate WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama (which later became network owned-and-operated and is now owned by Media General) as well as later Fox O&O's KTVI in St. Louis, Missouri, KDFW in Dallas-Fort Worth, and KTBC in Austin, Texas (KTVI is now owned by Local TV). In 1986, Times Mirror sold WSTM to SJL Broadcast Management, a broadcast holding company controlled by George Lilly. SJL then sold WSTM to Federal Broadcasting in 1992. That company was bought out by Raycom Media in 1997. The WSYR-TV calls returned to Syracuse after Clear Channel Communications purchased WIXT (formerly WNYS-TV) as part of the Ackerley Group acquisition in 2000. The company changed WIXT's calls to match WSYR-AM which it had owned for several years.

On March 5, 1996, WSTM General Manager Charles Bivins died after collapsing at the Syracuse Track and Racquet Club. He was 48 and had previously suffered a mild heart attack two years earlier. Bivins was also a visiting professor at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications teaching television programming. In 2003, Raycom Media purchased Syracuse's low-powered UPN affiliate WAWA-LP from Venture Technologies Group, LLC for an undisclosed amount of money. The station had its call letters changed to WSTQ-LP (derived from WSTM) and given the on-air branding of "UPN 6, The Q". Raycom used "6" to reflect its cable slot as a result of the station becoming offered on the basic lineup of Time Warner on July 1.

Before the purchase of WAWA, Time Warner had refused to carry the channel. The same "must-carry" rules that kept the station off the cable system eventually got WSTQ on. The must-carry rules give full-powered stations the option of "retransmission consent" or requiring compensation from cable systems as a condition of carrying a station's signal. In this case, full-powered WSTM can require cable systems like Time Warner to offer low-powered WSTQ on their systems as a condition of carrying this channel.

On March 27, 2006, Raycom Media announced the sale of WSTM and WSTQ to Barrington Broadcasting. The sale was finalized that August. On March 2, 2009 as a result of low ratings and slow advertising sales, it was announced that WTVH would enter into joint sales and shared service agreements with WSTM. [2] [3] [4] Initially, the station continued to operate out of its own Jame Street studios a block away but was eventually merged into this station's facilities. WTVH was also integrated into WSTM's website. [5]

On June 14, 2009 two days after the digital transition, its digital signal began broadcasting on UHF channel 24. [6] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continue to display WSTM-DT's virtual channels as 3. On September 6, 2009, WTVH's transmitter was damaged after a power failure. While Granite Broadcasting worked to fix the signal, WSTM's third digital subchannel carried that station. [7] On September 12, the signal was restored. [8]

Through cable coverage, this station serves as the de-facto NBC affiliate for the Watertown and Ithaca/Finger Lakes region of New York State. WSTM provides some news coverage of these areas. Interestingly, the channel also carries substantial news stories from Utica and Herkimer County even though that area has its own affiliate WKTV that produces local news. WSTM's analog signal reached parts of Southeastern Ontario and was carried on Cogeco systems in Kingston until February 2009 when it was replaced with Buffalo's WGRZ-TV. [9] It is still (after customer protest) carried on Time Warner systems in Ogdensburg and Gouverneur along with replacement WPTZ.

News operation

News open seen every night at 11.

Local news offerings on this station were originally ten minutes long and was not expanded to thirty minutes until the 1960s. For the past two decades, WSTM's newscasts have been second overall in the viewership ratings behind dominant WSYR. As of July 2008, that station remains number one in Central New York for the whole day-part. However, it is in a tight battle with WSTM for weekday mornings and weeknights at 11. WSYR makes up for this with huge leads during the week at noon, 5, 5:30, and 6. In two periods during its history, this station have used the popular Action News branding. The station's on-air slogan, "Live. Local. Latebreaking.", has been used since 1998.

In 1996, the station began producing a prime time newscast at 10 for Fox affiliate WSYT through a news share agreement. Airing every night for half-hour, this was known as Fox 68 News at 10. Original anchors were Chuck Plumpton and Betsy Sykes with Wayne Mahar providing weather forecasts. A sports anchor, Joe Brown, was added later. He was replaced by Joe Zone (now at WFSB) and Amy Kellogg replaced Betsy Sykes on the news anchor desk. Further shuffling of the staff moved Joe Zone to news anchor and Jon Herz was hired as Sports Director. In 2000, WSTM declined to renew its agreement to produce WSYT's news programming and that channel partnered with WTVH to keep the broadcasts on-air.

When WSTQ became a sister station, WSTM began producing a weeknight prime time newscast called Action News at 10 on UPN 6, The Q. This was expanded to seven days a week on January 8, 2005. On January 22, WSTM expanded its own news operation with the addition of a weekend morning show. The WSTQ show was renamed Action News at 10 on CW 6 on September 18, 2006 to correspond with that station's network switch from UPN to The CW.

After becoming operated by WSTM, WTVH shut down its news department and merged it with this channel. It resulted in the elimination of forty jobs at that station. Michael Benny was retained to solo-anchor the weeknight newscasts on WTVH from its separate studios using other personalities from WSTM for all other content. The system set up by the other station to use all videotaped footage (including interviews) shot by WSTM was filled with problems with staffers from this station walking to WTVH's old studios to deliver raw video to be edited for its newscasts.

In October 2009, Barrington Broadcasting began to produce separate weeknight newscasts on WTVH from a new secondary set at WSTM's facilities. Although that station retains separate branding, music, and graphic aspects of the weeknight shows that air from 5 to 6:30 and 11 to 11:35, coverage is essentially the same. Outside of those broadcasts, all newscasts on WSTM are now simulcasted on WTVH except for its weekend morning show. There may be pre-emptions or delays on one channel due to network obligations especially on weekends. Neither station have attempted to offer news shows outside traditional time slots to compete with WSYR (such as weekdays at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., or weeknights at 4 and 7) despite a plan originally announced. [5][10] However, WSTQ's weeknight newscast was expanded to an hour on August 30, 2010.

Viewership on WTVH has steeply declined since becoming operated by WSTM with the rumor mill turning wildly that it will eventually stop broadcasting local newscasts altogether. Meanwhile, WSYR has seen a noticeable increase in viewership as a result of being the only other over-the-air local news department in the area. There is a cable-only news channel known as YNN Central New York, but it serves a much wider area than the Syracuse broadcast stations.

WSTM was the first in Syracuse to use weather radar in 1985 and launched its own system in 2000. This consisted of its own radar at the transmitter site in a network with WHEC-TV/SUNY Brockport in the Rochester area as well as WIVB-TV in Buffalo. However, WIVB and WSTM have since shut down their individual radars. During current weather segments, WSTM features three live NOAA National Weather Service radars in Montague, Binghamton, and Buffalo. On-air this is known as "Live Triple Doppler" and the radar beams are superimposed over the on-screen image.

In mid-December 2010, WSTM became the first in the market to offer local newscasts in 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen with the shows on WTVH and WSTQ being included. However, only the digital cable feed of WSTQ is aired in enhanced definition since its over-the-air low-powered analog and digital (on WSTM-DT2) signals remain in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition. Although not truly high definition, the broadcasts match the aspect ratio of HD television screens. Rival WSYR upgraded to full high definition on January 29, 2011.

Newscast titles

  • Camera Headlines (1950s)
  • TV-3 Total News (1970s)
  • Action News
  • Channel 3 News (1980s-1993)
  • TV-3 Action News (1993-1996)
  • Action News 3 (1996-2010)
  • NBC 3 News (2010-present)

Station slogans

  • Hello Syracuse, Central New York, Channel 3 Loves You (early-mid 1980s, used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • The News Station (1984-1993)
  • In Touch with Central New York
  • More News, More Often (1993-?)
  • Central New York's News Leader (2000-2006)
  • Live. Local. Late-breaking. (2006-present)

News music packages

News team


  • Megan Coleman - weekday mornings and noon
  • Jackie Robinson - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11 p.m.
  • Matt Mulcahy - Managing Editor seen weeknights at 5, 6, 10, and 11 p.m.
  • Laura Hand -weekday noon news anchor Monday through Wedenday and weekend mornings
  • Lisa Spitz - weekday noon news anchor Thursady and Friday and weekend evenings

Meteorologists (all have AMS Seal of Approval)

  • Wayne Mahar - Chief seen weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11
  • Peter Hall - weekday mornings and noon
  • Matt Stevens - weekend mornings and Monday through Tuesday at 10
  • Mike Brookins - weekend evenings and Wednesday through Friday at 10


  • John Evenson - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11 (also Orange VIP Pass host)
  • Niko Tamurian - weekend evenings and sports reporter (also "CNY Central Athlete" and "My School" segments producer)
  • Brian Mueller - sports reporter
  • Alex Dunbar - sports and news reporter (also photographer)
  • Dave Cumes - Orange VIP Pass host and heard on W256AC-FM 99.1/WTKW 99.5/WTKV-FM 105.5

Multimedia journalists

  • Michael Benny - WTVH Managing Editor and "Talk at 10" contributor
  • Stacy Johnson - "Money Talks News" segment producer
  • Susan Arbetter - WCNY-TV Capitol Correspondent
  • Jim Kenyon - Chief Investigative
  • Chris McGrath - producer
  • Brandon Roth
  • Jessica Cain
  • Caitlin Nuclo


  • Chris Shepherd

Notable past personnel


External links

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