WBME-TV

WBME-TV
WBME-TV
WYTU-LP
WDJT-MeTV Logo.png
Racine/Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Branding Me-TV Milwaukee
Slogan Milwaukee's home for classic TV
Channels Digital: 48 (UHF)
Virtual: 49 (PSIP)
Subchannels 49.1 Me-TV
49.2 Bounce TV
49.4 WYTU-LD/Telemundo
Translators Analog:
WYTU-LP 63 (UHF)
(analog simulcast service)
Affiliations Me-TV/Independent classic television service
Owner Weigel Broadcasting
(TV-49, Inc.)
First air date January 27, 1990
Call letters' meaning W-Be Memorable Entertainment[1]
Sister station(s) WDJT-TV, WMLW-CA, WYTU-LD
Former callsigns WJJA (1990-2008)
Former channel number(s) WDJT-DT3 46 (March 1, 2008-October 30, 2008)
Former affiliations HSN (1990-1995, 1996-2001)
The Military Channel (1995-96)
Shop at Home (2001-2008)
Jewelry Television (2006-2008)
Transmitter power 500 kW
Height 300 m
Facility ID 68545
Transmitter coordinates 42°51′21.6″N 87°50′44.2″W / 42.856°N 87.845611°W / 42.856; -87.845611
Website www.metvnetwork.com

WBME-TV, virtual channel 49 (digital channel 48), is a television station licensed to Racine, Wisconsin, and serving Milwaukee and the surrounding areas of southeastern Wisconsin. The station has the branding Me-TV Milwaukee and is one of the three flagship and charter stations of the Me-TV network, carrying classic television sitcoms and dramas from between the 1950s and 1990s. WBME is currently owned by Weigel Broadcasting as part of that company's Milwaukee cluster of full power and low power television stations, including WDJT, WYTU-LP and WMLW-CA, and is carried on channel 19 on southeastern Wisconsin Time Warner Cable systems.

The concept, which has been a major success on sister station WWME-CA (channel 23) in Chicago, Illinois, launched as an early competitor of Equity Broadcasting's Retro Television Network, which was unsuccessful in Milwaukee during a 17 month run on WITI's DT2 subchannel due to that RTV iteration having to substitute lower-profile programming rights for those held by Weigel locally. WITI now carries Tribune Broadcasting's Antenna TV instead. Me-TV has been just as successful in Milwaukee on WBME, out-rating daytime programming on Sinclair Broadcast Group's two stations, WVTV (Channel 18) and WCGV (Channel 24) as of September 2011 [2].

WBME transmits digitally from Weigel's tower in Lincoln Park on Milwaukee's northeast side. The station's analog transmitter was located in the southeastern Milwaukee County suburb of Oak Creek close to the Racine County line.

The station (as WJJA) had carried various home shopping networks for many years, and was known for being 100% owned and operated by a minority group from the time of the station's launch until Weigel bought the station in 2007.[3]

Contents

History

As WJJA

Channel 49 signed on the air on January 27, 1990 as WJJA, an affiliate of the Home Shopping Network. The station was founded by Joel Kinlow, a minister in Milwaukee who also owns Elm Grove-based WGLB (1560) (the WJJA calls stood for Joe, Joel, and Arvis, all members of the Kinlow family). By 1995, WJJA had dropped HSN for The Military Channel (an operation unrelated to the current Discovery Networks channel of the same name). Kinlow dropped them the next year, and returned to HSN, eventually affiliating with Shop at Home in 2001.

When CBS-affiliated WITI switched to Fox in 1994, Kinlow decided not to affiliate with CBS when approached by the network with an offer to become an affiliate. Kinlow claimed he wanted to maintain his staff while continuing to give broadcasting experience and training to many different people beyond those usually hired to operate a television station. He felt the station could accomplish this better without the responsibilities and obligations of serving as a major network affiliate. The CBS affiliation eventually wound up on WDJT.

Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, WJJA continued to air Shop at Home, while also airing E/I programming, local church services, public domain sitcoms, and other programs relevant to local residents of Racine and Milwaukee, mostly in the mornings.

On May 16, 2006, Shop at Home parent company E.W. Scripps announced that the network would be suspending operations, effective June 22, 2006.[4] However, the network's liquidation sale ended one day early on June 21, and WJJA switched to Jewelry Television in the meantime. SAH resumed on June 23 after Jewelry Television purchased some assets relating to SAH, and began to air a split schedule of programming, with JTV in the mornings and afternoons, and SAH during evenings.[5] Shop at Home eventually closed again in March 2008, and WJJA's last month under Kinlow ownership featured a 24/7 JTV schedule.

On August 1, 2007, Weigel Broadcasting of Chicago announced its intention to purchase WJJA. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted approval for the transfer in mid-September 2007, though the license and financial transfers between the two parties, along with the poor condition of the station's Oak Creek transmitter tower[6] took months longer to settle before Weigel could take full control of the station.

Me-TV Milwaukee

On April 21, 2008, Weigel took full control of the station, and at 12:30 p.m., Jewelry Television was replaced by a test card and color bars.[7] Later that afternoon, it became the full-power home of Me-TV Milwaukee.[8] Weigel immediately filed to change station's call letters to WBME-TV; this became official on April 29, 2008.[9]

Me-TV was originally launched as a digital subchannel of WDJT on 58.3 on March 1, 2008 at 5 a.m., with an episode of Route 66. Me-TV had full cable coverage throughout the market on Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, requiring a digital cable receiver in order to watch the station as it launched on both cable systems' Channel 201.[10][11] This simulcast continued while technical issues were worked out while WBME transitioned to Weigel's West Allis studios, and Weigel eventually received carriage on both DirecTV and Dish Network on the basic tier of all of those services, as it is allowed to assert must-carry status with those systems. The station had asserted must-carry status with Time Warner years earlier under Kinlow's ownership and is carried on that system on Channel 19, while Weigel and Charter came to an agreement to launch the station on its basic tier in late August 2008; the station airs on that system on Channel 20, or a different position depending on market (such as Channel 19 in Sheboygan).

The station activated a new digital transmitter on the Weigel tower in Milwaukee's Lincoln Park on October 20, 2008.[12] to better serve the entire market, while the analog signal continued to transmit from Oak Creek until the end of analog television service on June 12, 2009. On October 30, the simulcast on WDJT-DT3 ended to make way for This TV, a new classic movie/television show network from Weigel and MGM Television, leaving Me-TV to broadcast exclusively on WBME and WBME-DT.[13] However, the digital signal for WBME is currently running on a lower power until the digital transition irons out,[14] confining the signal to within the inner ring of the Milwaukee metro area.[15]

On November 22, 2010, Weigel announced that they would take the Me-TV concept national and compete fully with RTV and Antenna TV, while complimenting its successful sister network This TV.[16] As of December 15, 2010, WBME-TV carries most of the national feed of Me-TV. However the station since coming under Weigel ownership also carries a public affairs program called Racine & Me, which airs on Sunday mornings at 7 a.m. and is hosted by WDJT anchor Paul Piaskoski and deals with topics and community calendar events relevant to WBME's city of license. The station also carries some different E/I programming such as Green Screen Adventures to meet their E/I thresholds.

A locally-progammed MeToo subchannel is expected to be added sometime in the coming months.[17]

Digital television

Channel Video Aspect Programming
49.1 480i 4:3 WBME-DT/Me-TV
49.2 Bounce TV
49.4 Simulcast of WYTU-LD

- Subchannel 49.3 is currently utilized for the display of a test pattern and future use, and is also also utilized for backup purposes in case of technical problems on other Weigel stations. With WBME switching to the entire national feed of Me-TV on 49.1, they have plans to add their own locally-programmed MeToo subchannel.[17]

As noted above, Weigel has located WBME's digital television transmitter in Lincoln Park, but is currently running that signal on a lower power. After the conversion, WBME-TV continued digital broadcasts on channel 48. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WBME-TV's virtual channels as 49. Weigel delayed the conversion for all of its full-power stations to digital to June 12, 2009 in the wake of the DTV Delay Act, although the possibility WBME would go digital-only earlier than that remained due to the condition of the Oak Creek analog tower. Weigel oddly expressed interest in maintaining WBME's analog tower for an additional month in order to use it to provide nightlight programming after the June 12 date,[18] but WBME's analog service from Oak Creek did end on June 12 as WITI (Channel 6) instead provided nightlight programming.

During its time on WDJT-DT3, Me-TV served as a multicast channel in March 2008 for a NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament game in SDTV besides the one being aired in HD on the DT1 signal.[19] Subsequently, This TV took over simulcasting duties for the 2009 tournament.

In early January 2009, Weigel added its Telemundo Spanish language affiliate, WYTU-LP (Channel 63) to WBME's digital signal as subchannel 49.4. Although WYTU-LP has it own digital signal on Channel 17, it has a limited range as a low power television station to the inner ring of the Milwaukee suburbs, and placing the station on WBME's full-power signal will expand its coverage area to the entire market terrestrially. Weigel has plans to add other subchannels to WBME's signal like has been done with WCIU, as the station's classic television schedule absolves it completely from carrying high definition programming (equally it is unknown if either of WYTU's channels, either 63 or 49.4, will be converted to carry the Telemundo schedule in high definition).[20]

On December 31, 2009, Weigel switched WYTU-LP to WBME's schedule on analog channel 63.[21]

On August 8, 2011, the backers of Bounce TV and Weigel announced that both WBME and WWME will be charter affiliates of the network, which is targeted to African-American viewers. It launched on September 24 with the network's preview reel before its September 26th premiere on 49.2.[22] The channel was added to Charter systems in the area on October 5, 2011.

In some areas of the market on days with strong tropospheric propagation across Lake Michigan, the signal of WHME-TV of South Bend, Indiana, which is also on digital channel 48, can overwhelm WBME's lower power signal, while WBME causes interference with the former station. WHME has thus filed a tentative construction permit with the FCC to move back to their former analog channel, 46.

References

  1. ^ Golembiewski, Dick (2008-04-29). "A Brief History of Milwaukee Television (the Analog Years)". Milwaukee TV Horror Hosts. http://www.milwaukee-horror-hosts.com/MilwTV.html. 
  2. ^ Lafayette, Jon (7 September 2011). "Me-TV Signs With Stations in New Markets; New affiliates bring coverage to 60% of U.S.". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/473299-EXCLUSIVE_Me_TV_Signs_With_Stations_in_New_Markets.php. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Malone, Michael (2008-04-25). "Weigel Broadcasting Closes on WJJA Milwaukee". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6555209.html. 
  4. ^ "Scripps ceasing Shop At Home operations" (Press release). The E. W. Scripps Company. 2006-05-16. http://pressreleases.scripps.com/release/854. 
  5. ^ Cuprisin, Tim (2006-06-22). "Without Couric, 'Today' flies high". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=439839. 
  6. ^ Kirchen, Rich (2008-03-07). "Channel 49's tower condition delays sale". The Business Journal of Milwaukee. http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/10/story14.html. 
  7. ^ Cuprisin, Tim (2008-04-21). "A new WJJA-TV". Inside TV & Radio. JSOnline. http://blogs.jsonline.com/cuprisin/archive/2008/04/21/a-new-channel-19.aspx. 
  8. ^ Cuprisin, Tim (2008-04-21). "Me-TV for a wider audience". Inside TV & Radio. JSOnline. http://blogs.jsonline.com/cuprisin/archive/2008/04/21/me-tv-for-a-wider-audience.aspx. 
  9. ^ Cuprisin, Tim (2008-04-24). "'Sopranos' star may have information on murder of Wisconsin woman". Inside TV & Radio. JSOnline. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=743463. 
  10. ^ Cuprisin, Tim (2008-02-29). "The launch of Me-TV". Inside TV & Radio. JSOnline. http://blogs.jsonline.com/cuprisin/archive/2008/02/29/the-launch-of-me-tv.aspx. 
  11. ^ Cuprisin, Tim (2008-02-10). "TV goes all-local on the storm, but with limited visibility of wider world". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=715509. 
  12. ^ "Service Area Map". Federal Communications Commission. http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/FMTV-service-area?x=DT1206470.html. 
  13. ^ JS Online: Rebooting may help when mystery bugs bedevil Time Warner channels
  14. ^ http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/tvradio/48201562.html
  15. ^ http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/tvradio/33618449.html
  16. ^ Weigel Broadcasting Taking Me-TV National, Chicago Tribune, November 22, 2010
  17. ^ a b Updates on Me-TV National Network, Plus Local Me-TV/Me-Too; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 13, 2010), Sitcoms Online, December 10, 2010
  18. ^ FCC APPENDIX – List of Stations Eligible for Analog Nightlight Program, pg. 17
  19. ^ Cuprisin, Tim (2008-02-10). "Channel 58's new 'sub-channel' a sign of the coming digital revolution". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=716524. 
  20. ^ http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/tvradio/37312544.html
  21. ^ http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/article_709da9fc-f59d-11de-95ca-001cc4c002e0.html
  22. ^ Lieberman, David (9 August 2011). "Bounce TV Goes To Weigel Broadcasting in Chicago And Milwaukee". Deadline Hollywood. http://www.deadline.com/2011/08/bounce-tv-goes-to-weigel-broadcasting-in-chicago-and-milwaukee/. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 

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