WJZ-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 13, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station licensed to Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation. WJZ-TV's studios and offices are located on Television Hill in the Woodberry section of Baltimore, adjacent to the transmission tower it shares with several other Baltimore broadcast outlets.
On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 23. In outlying areas of the market and on Verizon FiOS, DirecTV and Dish Network, it is carried on channel 13.
History[edit | edit source]
Early history[edit | edit source]
Baltimore's third television station started on November 1, 1948 as WAAM. The station was originally owned by Radio-Television of Baltimore Inc., whose principals were Baltimore businessmen and brothers, Ben and Herman Cohen. Channel 13 was originally an ABC affiliate, the network's fifth outlet to be located on the East Coast. Until 1956, it carried an additional primary affiliation with the DuMont Television Network. On the station's second day of operations, WAAM broadcast the 1948 presidential election returns and various entertainment shows, remaining on the air for 23 consecutive hours. Channel 13 has been housed in the same studio facility, located near Druid Hill Park on what is now known as Television Hill, since the station's inception; the building was the first in Baltimore specifically designed for television production and broadcasting. As a DuMont affiliate, WAAM originated many Baltimore Colts games for the network's National Football League coverage.
The Westinghouse Electric Corporation purchased WAAM from the Cohen brothers in May 1957. Westinghouse then took control of the station in August of that year, and changed its callsign to WJZ-TV the following month. The WJZ call letters had previously resided on ABC's flagship radio/television combination in New York City, which changed its calls to WABC-AM-FM-TV in 1953. However, Westinghouse's history with that set of call letters went back even further, as it was the original owner of WJZ radio, the flagship station of NBC's Blue Network, which would eventually become ABC.
All of Baltimore's television stations had fairly short transmission towers in the medium's early years; channel 13's original tower was located next to the station's studios. But in 1959, the three stations—WJZ-TV, WBAL-TV (channel 11) and WMAR-TV (channel 2)—banded together to build the world's first three-pronged candelabra tower. Constructed behind the WJZ-TV studios and opposite the original channel 13 tower, it was the tallest free standing television antenna in the United States at the time of its completion. The new tower significantly improved channel 13's signal coverage in central Maryland, and also added new viewers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
Later ABC years[edit | edit source]
WJZ-TV nearly lost its ABC affiliation in 1977, when the network briefly pursued WBAL-TV just as ABC became the most-watched broadcast network (in primetime) in the United States for the first time. However, WBAL-TV declined the ABC affiliation offer due to ABC's last-place network evening newscast offerings of the time (a situation that would improve in ensuing years), keeping ABC on channel 13.
Switch to CBS[edit | edit source]
In 1994, ABC agreed to an affiliation deal with the broadcasting division of the E. W. Scripps Company, which resulted in three of Scripps' television stations becoming ABC affiliates. ABC agreed to the deal as a condition of keeping its affiliation on Scripps' two biggest stations, WXYZ-TV in Detroit and WEWS in Cleveland. Both stations had been heavily courted by CBS, which was about to lose its longtime Detroit and Cleveland affiliates to Fox. One of the stations that was tapped to switch was Baltimore's then-CBS affiliate, WMAR-TV. ABC was reluctant to include WMAR in the deal; it had been a ratings also-ran for over 30 years while WJZ-TV was one of the strongest ABC affiliates in the nation. However, not wanting to be relegated to UHF in two markets with few viable choices for a new affiliate, ABC opted to end its 46-year affiliation with channel 13 and move its affiliation to channel 2.
Group W felt betrayed by ABC after so many years of loyalty, as channel 13 had been ABC's longest-tenured affiliate at the time (a distinction that now belongs to WJLA-TV). As a safeguard, it began to shop for an affiliation deal of its own. Eventually, Westinghouse agreed to a long-term affiliation contract with CBS, resulting in WJZ-TV and its sister stations in Philadelphia and Boston switching to CBS (Westinghouse's two other television stations, in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, were already CBS affiliates; the affiliation switch in Philadelphia was delayed due to a complex ownership deal that resulted in WCAU becoming an NBC owned-and-operated station). The affiliation switch, the second in Baltimore television history, occurred early on the morning of January 2, 1995. As a result, channel 13 became the third station in Baltimore to affiliate with CBS. The network had originally affiliated with WMAR-TV in 1948 before moving to WBAL-TV in 1981. Westinghouse then bought CBS on November 24, 1995, making WJZ-TV a CBS owned-and-operated station. Notably, this marked the first time that CBS had wholly owned a station in the Baltimore/Washington corridor; it had been minority owner of WTOP-TV in Washington (now WUSA) from 1950 to 1955.
WJZ-TV has used its current stylized "13" logo, using a font face exclusive to Group W, since 1967. In 2002, the CBS eye was added, and in 2018, the station switched to a silver and gold-colored version (resembling logo styles used by its sister stations) with the WJZ call letters displayed below in squares (similarly to Boston sister WBZ-TV).
|TV stations in Maryland|
|TV stations in Greater Baltimore|
|WMAR 2 (ABC) |
WBAL 11 (NBC)
WJZ 13 (CBS)
WMPT 22 (PBS)
WUTB 24 (MNTV)
WMJF-CD 39 (Ind)
WWDD-LD 40 (Daystar)
WBFF 45 (Fox)
W45DN-D 46 (IBN)
WNUV 54 (CW)
WFPT 62 (PBS)
WMPB 67 (PBS)
WQAW-LP 69 (AZA)