WBSF, virtual channel 46 (UHF digital channel 23), branded on-air as CW 46, is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Bay City, Michigan, United States and serving the Flint/Tri-Cities television market. Owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, it is operated under a shared services agreement (SSA) by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, making it a sister station to Saginaw-licensed NBC affiliate WEYI-TV (channel 25, owned by Howard Stirk Holdings and operated by Sinclair under a separate SSA) and Flint-licensed Fox affiliate WSMH (channel 66, owned by Sinclair outright). However, Sinclair effectively owns WBSF as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. WBSF and WEYI share studios and transmitter facilities on West Willard Road in Vienna Township along the Genesee–Saginaw county line (with a Clio mailing address). Master control and some internal operations based at WSMH's studios on West Pierson Road in Mount Morris Township (with a Flint mailing address).
WBSF can also be seen in high definition on WEYI's second digital subchannel (UHF channel 30.2 or virtual channel 25.2 via PSIP). On cable, WBSF is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 15, and on Charter Spectrum channel 17.
A permit was issued by the FCC for a new station on channel 46 in Bay City to Vista Communications Group in late 2003. The station was expected to be the WB network affiliate for the Flint/Tri-Cities market.
On October 1, 2004, the station's construction permit was approved. In 2004, Barrington launched WBSF on cable and on WEYI's second digital subchannel. On February 2, 2005, the FCC transferred the permit to Acme Television then to Barrington Broadcasting.
Station on airEdit
With the merger of The WB and UPN to become The CW, WBSF became the area's network affiliate in September 2006 when the channel began broadcasting over the air. Because of this, a chance existed that WKBD (which along with WBKP are the only other over-the-air CW affiliates in Michigan) would be dropped from this market's cable systems as both WBSF and WKBD would be CW affiliates. However, in the case of Midland, two CBS affiliates do coexist on the same cable system. This occurred on Charter's Tri-Cities systems which replaced WKBD with MyNetworkTV affiliate WNEM-DT2 that became the new home of Pistons basketball that year. As a result of the network change, WBSF rebranded from "Mid-Michigan's WB" to "CW 46 Mid-Michigan". However, its call letters were not changed as the "B" in the calls also stands for Bay City which is the station's city of license. "S" and "F" stand for Saginaw and Flint, respectively. WBSF signed-on its analog channel on September 13, 2006 although it continues to be seen on WEYI-DT2. As such, it is the only full-power television station to be built and signed-on by Barrington Broadcasting although Barrington acquired its construction permit from ACME Communications before construction began.
In June 2008, WBSF received its Construction permit for its digital facilities with the station switching from analog to digital broadcasting on June 12, 2009.
On February 28, 2013, Barrington announced that it would sell its entire group, including WBSF and WEYI, to Sinclair Broadcast Group. However, due to FCC duopoly regulations, since Sinclair already owns Fox affiliate WSMH, Sinclair will transfer the license assets of WBSF to Cunningham Broadcasting and of WEYI to Howard Stirk Holdings (owned by conservative talk show host Armstrong Williams). WSMH will take over the operations of both WBSF and WEYI through local marketing agreements when the deal is completed. The sale was completed on November 25.
|TV stations in Michigan|
| WKBD, Detroit|
|TV stations in the Mid Michigan region, including Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland|
| WNEM 5 (CBS)|