WGGB-TV is an ABC/Fox/MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, serving the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 40 from a transmitter on Mount Tom in Holyoke. The station is owned by Meredith Corporation (as such, it is the only ABC affiliate owned by the company) and is sister to low-powered CBS affiliate WSHM-LD (channel 3.5). The two stations share studios on Liberty Street in Springfield.
History[edit | edit source]
The station signed on April 14, 1953 as WHYN-TV, broadcasting an analog signal on UHF channel 55. It was the second television station to launch in the Springfield market, debuting one month after NBC affiliate WWLP (channel 22). WHYN-TV was founded by Hampden-Hampshire Corporation, the owners of WHYN radio (560 AM and 93.1 FM); the stations were in turn jointly owned by the owners of the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram and the Northampton-based Daily Hampshire Gazette. In 1954, a 50% interest in Hampden-Hampshire Corporation was purchased by the employees beneficial funds of the Springfield Republican and Daily News and the Springfield Union for $250,000.
WHYN-TV originally operated as a primary CBS affiliate with a secondary affiliation with DuMont; it lost DuMont when that network folded in 1956. During the late-1950s, it was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. It moved to channel 40 on September 30, 1957 in order to give the station a closer dial position to other UHF stations in the region. However, in 1958, WTIC-TV (channel 3, now WFSB), a station in the nearby Hartford market that had previously been an independent station, switched to CBS, prompting WHYN to petition the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unsuccessfully for a VHF channel; in 1959, channel 40 became an ABC affiliate. WTIC-TV then became the CBS affiliate of record in Springfield; over the years, channel 3 would block several attempts by channel 40 to switch from ABC back to CBS.
Guy Gannett Broadcasting Services (not to be confused with the Gannett Company) announced in October 1966 that it would purchase the WHYN stations for $4 million; the acquisition was completed in 1967. The WHYN radio stations were sold off in 1979; Guy Gannett retained WHYN-TV, and on December 31 the station took its present WGGB-TV call letters.
Most of Guy Gannett's television stations, including WGGB, were acquired by the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1998. In late-July 2007, Sinclair sold WGGB to locally based Gormally Broadcasting for $21.2 million. The sale closed on November 2, resulting in WGGB being the only locally owned television station in the market. In addition to WGGB, Charter systems offer fellow ABC affiliate WCVB-TV from Boston on channel 23 (Comcast does not offer such access).
On June 18, 2014, the Meredith Corporation (owner of WFSB in Hartford) announced that it would acquire WGGB creating a duopoly with low-powered CBS affiliate WSHM-LD. Although FCC broadcast ownership rules normally forbid same-market ownership of two of the four highest-rated television stations (based on monthly total-day ratings), which often constitute stations affiliated with the four major broadcast networks (the Springfield market has only three full-power television stations, too few to allow a duopoly in any normal circumstance), the deal is permissible under FCC rules which allow common ownership of full-power and low-power television stations (the respective class designations of WGGB and WSHM) in all markets. The sale was completed on October 31, 2014. This reunited WGGB with MyNetworkTV affiliate KSMO-TV in Kansas City, Missouri, which Meredith acquired from Sinclair in 2005.
On September 8, 2015, Media General announced that it would acquire Meredith for $2.4 billion, with the combined group to be renamed Meredith Media General once the sale was finalized. Because Media General already owns WWLP, and the Springfield-Holyoke market does not have enough full-power television stations to legally allow a duopoly in any event (WGGB and WWLP are the only full-power licenses assigned to the market), the companies would have been required to sell either WGGB or WWLP to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as recent changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations that restrict sharing agreements had the sale gone through. WSHM-LD was the only one of the three stations affected by the merger that could legally be acquired by Meredith Media General, as FCC rules permit common ownership of full-power and low-power stations regardless of the number of stations within a single market. However, on January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General, resulting in the termination of Meredith's acquisition by Media General.
WGGB-DT2[edit | edit source]
WGGB-DT2, branded as Fox 6 for its primary cable channel slot, is the Fox-affiliated second digital subchannel of WGGB-TV, broadcasting in high definition on virtual and UHF channel 40.2.
WGGB-DT2 first became active under Sinclair's ownership as part of their nationwide deal with music video network The Tube (a 24-hour digital music channel) from 2005 until the end of 2006, when multiple issues, including The Tube's refusal to add E/I programming at their end, had the Tube pulled from all of Sinclair's stations (and eventually went dark at the end of October 2007). It never attained any cable carriage under that guise, and the subchannel was vacated for over a year.
Meanwhile, the market did not have a Fox affiliate of its own, with Springfield being the largest television market in the United States to hold this distinction. For most of Fox's first two decades, WTIC-TV in Hartford was Fox's affiliate of record for the Pioneer Valley. Depending on the location, cable companies carried either WTIC (which was available over the air in extreme southern portions of the market) or WFXT from Boston (which was owned by the network at the time), while WXXA-TV from Albany, New York was (and still is) also available over-the-air in the market's western reaches. At one point, new Class A station WFXQ-CD, owned by WWLP owner LIN Media, had been rumored as attempting to affiliate with the network (hence the station's call letters).
On March 31, 2008, WGGB (by then locally owned by Gormally Broadcasting) officially launched WGGB-DT2 as Springfield's first in-market Fox affiliate. Almost immediately, WTIC was substituted on Comcast systems with WGGB's Fox subchannel on cable channel 6 (thus giving the subchannel its branding), and as a result, moved to the digital tier on channel 292. Charter eventually followed suit as well placing WTIC on digital channel 261. Comcast eventually removed WTIC to make way for smaller subchannel networks from local stations (including WSHM-LD's Cozi TV subchannel and WWLP-DT2 after they acquired The CW affiliation), along with Fox's preference for only a market's own Fox affiliate to be carried on a pay-TV system.
When WGGB-DT2 signed-on for the second time, it also added Fox's secondary programming service MyNetworkTV as a secondary affiliation. It is seen in a delayed manner from 12:35 a.m. until 2:35 a.m. early Tuesdays through Saturdays. Outside of default network promotional advertising (which makes no mention of it being programmed by MyNetworkTV), the service airs unbranded on WGGB-DT2. New Haven, Connecticut-based MyNetworkTV affiliate WCTX lost all of their carriage in the Springfield market as a result, though Boston's WSBK-TV remains readily available in the majority of the state, including on Comcast in the Pioneer Valley, carrying MyNetworkTV in pattern, though only in standard definition on cable and satellite systems outside of the Boston market.
|TV stations in New England|
|WTNH, Hartford/New Haven|
|TV stations in New England|
|WTIC, Hartford/New Haven|
|TV stations in New England|
|WCTX, New Haven|
|TV stations in the Pioneer Valley region, including Springfield|
|WSHM-LD 3 (CBS) |
WWLP 22 (NBC)
WFXQ-CD 22 (NBC)
WGGB 40 (ABC)
WHTX-LD 43 (UNI)
WDMR-LD 50 (TLM)
WGBY 57 (PBS)