WIVT, virtual and UHF digital channel 34, is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Binghamton, New York, United States and serving the Eastern Twin Tiers of Southern Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, and is sister to Class A NBC affiliate WBGH-CD, channel 20 (which WIVT simulcasts on its second digital subchannel). The two stations share studios and transmitter facilities on Ingraham Hill Road in the town of Binghamton. WIVT can also be seen on Charter Spectrum channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 1200.
History[edit | edit source]
Alfred E. Anscombe, former General Manager of WKBW-AM-TV in Buffalo, secured a construction permit for Binghamton's third television station on April 25, 1961. He named it WBJA-TV[ after his wife Beth J. Anscombe. Initially, the station was allocated to UHF analog channel 56. However, five years earlier, two competing ABC affiliates in Northeastern Pennsylvania (WILK-TV channel 34 in Wilkes-Barre and WARM-TV channel 16 in Scranton) merged to form WNEP-TV, retaining WILK's license but using WARM's old UHF channel 16.
Seeing a chance to use more signal at less cost, Anscombe sought and won a new construction permit for analog channel 34. The new station signed on November 24, 1962 from studios at its transmitter site on Ingraham Hill south of Binghamton. It has always been an ABC affiliate. The Northeastern Pennsylvania-area station now known as WOLF-TV signed on in 1985 using analog channel 56.
Anscombe planned for WBJA to be the first station in a seven-station group; however, only one other station, WEPA-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania (now defunct; its channel 66 allocation was later used by WFXP) was started before the two stations were acquired by Gerald Arthur, Oliver Lazare, and Jules Hessen, a group who also owned WEEE in Rensselaer, in 1966. Pinnacle Communications bought WBJA in 1978 and changed the call letters to WMGC-TV on October 19, reflecting its new "Magic 34" branding. It dropped the branding by the mid to late-1980s, but retained the call letters.
Pinnacle sold WMGC to Citadel Communications in 1986; in 1995, Citadel sold the station, along with WVNY in Burlington, Vermont, to USA Broadcast Group, which was soon renamed U.S. Broadcast Group after a complaint from USA Network. U.S. Broadcast Group put its stations up for sale in 1997; WSKG-TV contemplated acquiring WMGC and operating it as an NBC affiliate to raise money for its public broadcasting operations (at that time, Binghamton had no NBC affiliate of its own, following WICZ-TV's switch to Fox a year earlier), but it was instead purchased by the Ackerley Group, which changed the call letters to WIVT on February 26, 1998. The call letters were derived from Ackerley's station in Syracuse, WIXT (now WSYR-TV).
A few months later, Ackerley nearly lost its investment. On May 31, 1998, a tornado ripped through WIVT's Ingraham Hill studios and blew down its tower. Cross-town rival WBNG-TV (channel 12) had live reports that night literally from the WIVT facilities. The station had a feed restored to cable providers within days but was off-the-air for several months. WIVT became a sister station to WBGH when that station was sold by Smith Television to Ackerley in 2000. Ackerley merged with Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) on June 14, 2002. On April 20, 2007, the company entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Newport Television, a broadcasting group established by Providence Equity Partners; the deal was completed on March 14, 2008.
Newport announced on July 19, 2012 that it would sell 12 of its stations, including WIVT and WBGH, to Nexstar. The sale was completed on December 3. On September 16, 2013, it was announced that Mission Broadcasting would acquire WICZ and low-powered MyNetworkTV affiliate WBPN-LP from the Stainless Broadcasting Company subsidiary of Northwest Broadcasting. Upon the deal's completion, the stations' operations would have been taken over by Nexstar making them sisters to WIVT and WBGH. In March 2015, Mission's purchase of WICZ and WBPN was canceled; as a result, Stainless withdrew the license assignment applications on March 18.
|TV stations in New York|
|WABC, New York City|
|TV stations in Central Southern Tier of New York including Binghamton|
|WBPN-LP 10 (MNTV) |
WBNG 12 (CBS)
WBGH-CD 20 (NBC)
WIVT 34 (ABC)
WICZ 40 (Fox)
WSKG 46 (PBS)