WETM-TV is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Elmira, New York, United States, serving the Western Twin Tiers of Southern Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 18 from a transmitter on Hawley Hill in Big Flats. The station can also be seen on Charter Spectrum channel 3 and in high definition on digital channel 1203. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, WETM has studios on East Water Street in downtown Elmira.
The station first signed-on September 30, 1953, as WECT-TV, operated by El-Cor Television, a joint venture of the Corning Leader and the Elmira Star-Gazette. The station only operated for less than a year on a test basis before ending transmission on May 26, 1954. After an aborted attempt to restart, El-Cor surrendered the station's license on September 23, 1954. On September 10, 1956, the station began operating using the same facility and equipment under the ownership of Newhouse Broadcasting as WSYE-TV, a semi-satellite of NBC affiliate WSYR-TV (now WSTM-TV) in Syracuse. It is Elmira's oldest surviving station, signing on shortly after WTVE which went dark after Hurricane Hazel blew through the Elmira area in 1954 and took out its tower. Originating early on from WSYE's original studios on Hawley Hill was a ladies' informational program called The Dana Near Show.
In 1980, Newhouse sold its entire television division, including WSYE and WSYR, to the Times Mirror Company. The new owners changed the call letters to WSTM-TV and WETM-TV respectively. Times Mirror gradually cut the last ties between the two stations while establishing WETM as a full-fledged station in its own right. It sold WETM to Smith Broadcasting in 1986. Under Smith's ownership, a reversal of the station's origins took place with the April 1996 launch of a cable-only Binghamton version of WETM through a local marketing agreement with Time Warner Cable. Set up in the wake of established NBC affiliate WICZ-TV defecting to Fox, the arrangement saw Time Warner Cable sell Binghamton-market advertising and replace syndicated programs that aired on other Binghamton stations with programming acquired by WETM for the Binghamton market, while WETM sold regional advertising seen in both markets. In 1997, Smith bought Binghamton low-power station WBGH-LP and made it an over-the-air semi-satellite of WETM; WBGH eventually split off except for simulcasting WETM's newscasts. WETM became the first outlet in the Elmira market with an internet presence starting in 1998.
In 2000, Smith Broadcasting entered into a management agreement with The Ackerley Group to operate WETM. Clear Channel Communications inherited the management agreement when it purchased Ackerley in late 2001. In 2004, Smith Broadcasting sold WETM outright to Clear Channel after the death of Smith Broadcasting founder Robert Smith. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Providence Equity Partners. Newport announced on July 19, 2012 that it would sell twelve of its television stations (including WETM) to Nexstar Broadcasting Group. The sale was finalized on December 3, 2012. On July 26, the station was knocked off-the-air by widespread power outages caused by a confirmed tornado that struck downtown Elmira during the afternoon. By the next day around mid-morning, WETM had a feed restored to Time Warner Cable.
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|TV stations in Southwestern New York State, including Elmira and Corning|
| WETM 18 (NBC) |
W26CV-D 26 (ABC)
WSKA 30 (PBS)
WENY 36 (ABC)
WJKP-LD 39 (MNTV)
WYDC 48 (Fox)