WFSB, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 33), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Hartford, Connecticut, United States and serving the Hartford–New Haven television market. The station is owned by the Meredith Corporation. WFSB's studios are located on Capitol Boulevard in Rocky Hill, and its transmitter is located on Talcott Mountain in Avon, Connecticut.
Most of WFSB's programs are seen in Springfield, Massachusetts, over a low-power semi-satellite station, WSHM-LD (channel 3.5). That station is based at the facilities of sister station WGGB-TV (channel 40) in Springfield, although some master control and other internal operations are hubbed through WFSB.
WFSB signed on the air on September 21, 1957 as WTIC-TV, owned by the Hartford-based Travelers Insurance Company, along with WTIC radio (1080 AM and 96.5 FM). As Connecticut's second VHF station, WTIC-TV was one of the most powerful stations in New England, not only covering the entire state but a large chunk of western Massachusetts and providing secondary coverage to much of the southern sections of Vermont and New Hampshire. During its first year on the air, Channel 3 was an independent station, as ABC was affiliated with the state's other VHF outlet, WNHC-TV (channel 8, now WTNH) in New Haven; while CBS and NBC had owned-and-operated stations on the UHF band in the market, WHCT-TV (channel 18, now Univision affiliate WUVN) in Hartford and WNBC (channel 30, now WVIT) in New Britain, respectively. With no network affiliation, WTIC-TV devoted much of its airtime to movies, syndicated programs, and three daily newscasts (including one at 10 p.m.).
In 1958, CBS was looking to sell WHCT-TV. The network's ratings had been alarmingly low in the market because television manufacturers were not required to have UHF tuners at the time. Many viewers northeast of Hartford got a better signal for CBS programming from WNAC-TV (now WHDH) in Boston or WPRO-TV (now WPRI-TV) in Providence, Rhode Island, while those southwest of Hartford with an outdoor antenna were able to watch the network via New York City flagship station WCBS-TV. Network head William S. Paley decided that it was better to have CBS air its programming on a VHF station, even if it was only an affiliate. WTIC-TV was the obvious choice due to its massive coverage area. Paley quickly negotiated an affiliation deal, and channel 3 became the network's new affiliate in the fall of 1958. WTIC radio had been with NBC Radio for over thirty years. Soon after the affiliation switch, channel 3 surged to the top of the ratings, and has remained there more or less ever since.
The switch to WTIC-TV for CBS had repercussions in Springfield, Massachusetts, as it forced WHYN-TV (channel 40, now sister station WGGB-TV) to drop its original CBS affiliation, which it replaced with ABC (previously, some ABC programs had been seen on WWLP). Over the years, WTIC-TV repeatedly blocked WHYN's attempts to switch back to CBS.
In 1962, the WTIC stations moved to Broadcast House, a state-of-the-art facility in the Constitution Plaza development in Downtown Hartford. A decade later, in late 1972, Travelers Insurance decided to exit broadcasting. The announcement was made to the staff at an employee meeting held in Studio A on January 15, 1973. While the WTIC radio stations were spun off to a company formed by station management called 1080 Corporation, WTIC-TV was sold to The Washington Post Company. The sale of all three stations was closed on March 8, 1974 and the Post's broadcasting division, Post-Newsweek Stations, changed Channel 3's call letters on that date to the current WFSB in honor of broadcasting division president Frederick (Fritz) Sessions Beebe (Frederick S. Beebe). To get the WFSB call letters, the Post had to convince Framingham State College in Framingham, Massachusetts to give up those call letters, which were used on the college's low-power FM radio station, whose call letters were changed to WDJM-FM as a result of the switch. The WTIC call letters returned to Connecticut television in 1984 when Arch Communications, owned by the son of the then-owner of WTIC radio, launched a new independent station on channel 61.
In the late 1980s, Post-Newsweek moved its corporate offices from Washington, D.C. to space located alongside Broadcast House making the station the company's flagship. This was part of a strategy move by the Post to give its various sub-corporations their own independent identities, which worked well at first. By the mid-1990s, however, WFSB found itself in a shrinking market without any significant growth opportunities. In June 1997, Post-Newsweek sold the station to the Meredith Corporation in exchange for WCPX-TV (now WKMG-TV) in Orlando, Florida. The sale closed that October although the Post-Newsweek group maintained its base in Hartford until 2000, when the company relocated to its then-largest station, WDIV-TV in Detroit.
Meredith announced on March 20, 2015 a multi-station affiliation agreement for three of Katz Broadcasting networks with WFSB putting Escape on .2 and Laff on .3.
|TV stations in New England|
| WFSB, Hartford/New Haven|
|TV stations in Hartford/New Haven|
| WFSB 3 (CBS) |
WTNH 8 (ABC)
WUVN 18 (UNI)
WRDM-CD 19 (TLM)
WCCT 20 (CW)
WEDH 24 (PBS)
WHPX 26 (Ion)
WVIT 30 (NBC)
WTXX-LD 34 (AZA)
WHCT-LD 38 (AZA)
WUTH-CD 47 (UMas)
WRNT-LP 48 (RTV)
WEDN 53 (PBS)
WCTX 59 (MNTV)
WTIC 61 (Fox)
WEDY 65 (PBS)