WJZY, virtual channel 46 (UHF digital channel 25), is a Fox-affiliated television station serving Charlotte, North Carolina, United States that is licensed to Belmont. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with Rock Hill, South Carolina-licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYT-TV (channel 55). The two stations share studios on Performance Road (along I-85) in unincorporated western Mecklenburg County (with a Charlotte mailing address), and transmitter facilities in Dallas, North Carolina, along the Catawba River.
On cable, WJZY is available on Charter Spectrum channel 8, Comporium Communications channel 108 and AT&T U-verse channel 46.
The station first signed on the air on March 9, 1987, originally operating as an independent station. It was the first full-power station to sign on in the Charlotte area since WCTU-TV (channel 36, now WCNC-TV) launched in July 1967. It was originally owned by Metro-Crescent Communications, a locally based group that included then-Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt and longtime Charlotte broadcasters Bob Hilker and Bill Rollins. The station was originally licensed with the callsign WMHU, but prior to the station's official debut, the calls were changed to WJZY in November 1986. According to Rollins, the change was made because no other Charlotte station had a "J" or "Z" in its call letters at the time.
The station spent most of the spring testing its transmitter by airing movies that were presented without commercial interruption. It began full-time operations that summer, running a format of cartoons, westerns, older movies and syndicated drama series. It also aired Baltimore Orioles baseball games. On the day it began full-time operations, WJZY displaced Washington, D.C.'s WDCA—which had been available in the Charlotte area as a regional superstation since cable television arrived in the market in the early 1970s—on area cable systems, taking WDCA's old location on cable channel 8. Less than a year later, the Capitol Broadcasting Company, owner of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, bought WJZY. At that time, classic sitcoms, and more recent off-network sitcoms and movies were added to channel 46's schedule.
WJZY owned a large amount of syndicated programming, but did not have nearly enough time in its broadcast day to air all of it. A solution came with the sign-on of WFVT (channel 55, later WWWB and now WMYT-TV) in September 1994. Capitol Broadcasting entered into a local marketing agreement with WFVT's Indiana-based owner, Family 55. Under this LMA, WJZY bought WFVT's entire broadcast day, and placed much of this extra programming on WFVT.
The station became a charter affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN) when the network launched on January 16, 1995. WFVT joined The WB at the same time, creating one of the first UPN/WB partnerships in the country. For most of UPN's run, WJZY was one of the network's strongest affiliates. At one point, it was tied with UPN's Atlanta owned-and-operated station WUPA as the network's fifth highest-rated station.
Starting in the mid-1990s, the station added more talk and reality shows, and shifted away from incorporating classic sitcoms and movies on its schedule. In 2003, network-supplied children's programs were dropped from the station after UPN discontinued the network's Disney's One Too block (network children's shows eventually returned to WJZY when the station became a CW affiliate in 2006).
WJZY served as the over-the-air home of NBA's Charlotte Hornets from 1992 to 1998, during the height of the team's popularity. It shared flagship status from 1996 onward with sister station WFVT. When the Hornets returned as the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, WJZY served as the team's over-the-air flagship until the telecasts moved to WMYT in 2006. WJZY also occasionally aired Atlantic Coast Conference football and basketball games that were not carried by CBS affiliate WBTV (channel 3). The station began transmitting its network programming in high definition with the launch of its digital signal in September 2002.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that they would shut down The WB and UPN that fall. In place of these networks, the two companies would form The CW, a new network combining the most popular programs from both UPN and The WB with new series produced specifically for the network. On March 1, the Capitol Broadcasting Company announced that WJZY would become the Charlotte area affiliate of The CW, making it the first station outside of the core Tribune Company and CBS Television Stations groups (the latter being a sister company to The CW through CBS Corporation's stake in the network) to agree to carry the new network. WJZY affiliated with The CW upon the network's debut on September 18, 2006. The station changed its branding to "WJZY CW 46," although an earlier plan was to change the branding to "CW 8," in reference to its cable channel position on most Charlotte systems. In addition, sister station WMYT affiliated with MyNetworkTV two weeks earlier on September 5, making Capitol the first company to own a duopoly of CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates in the same market. It would not have been an upset had WMYT been chosen as Charlotte's CW affiliate, however. Network officials were on record as wanting the "strongest" WB and UPN affiliates, and Charlotte was one of the few markets where the WB and UPN affiliates were both relatively strong ratings-wise.
In 2009, the station changed its branding to "Charlotte's WJZY" in an effort to brand itself as a more local station. Late in the afternoon on March 28, 2010, a severe thunderstorm packing strong winds blew down trees causing damage to its transmission building (which houses a 2,000-foot (610 m) tall tower that is used by WJZY and three FM radio outlets (WNKS 95.1; WIBT 96.1, now WHQC; and WPEG 97.9) that is owned by CBC Real Estate, Incorporated. On September 12, 2011, the station's branding reverted to "CW 46".
Sale to Fox Television Stations and switch to Fox
On January 14, 2013, Fox Television Stations entered into an agreement to acquire WJZY and WMYT from Capitol Broadcasting for $18 million (the sale was formally announced on January 28). Although Charlotte's longtime Fox affiliate, WCCB (channel 18), had been one of the network's strongest performers, Fox had been interested in buying a station in a market that had recently ascended to major status (as of the 2012–13 television season, Charlotte ranks as the 25th-largest television market according to Nielsen Media Research). Another likely factor in the purchase was an option by Fox to purchase Raleigh–Durham's WLFL and WRDC from Sinclair Broadcast Group. Had this deal gone through, it would have resulted in then-sister station WRAZ losing its Fox affiliation to WLFL, which had been the original Fox affiliate in the Triangle from 1986 to 1998.
The acquisition marked a re-entry into North Carolina for Fox, which owned High Point's WGHP from 1996 to 2008 (an acquisition that was related to Fox's 1994 affiliation deal with New World Communications, which sold the station to Fox as multiple ongoing station acquisitions put New World over FCC ownership limits). The deal included a time brokerage agreement clause that would have had Fox take over the operations of WJZY and WMYT, and acquire the duopoly's non-license assets for $8.24 million, if the deal was not closed by June 1. The FCC granted its approval of the sale on March 11, and the deal was consummated on April 17. This made WJZY and WMYT the first commercial outlets in the Charlotte television market to be owned by a major broadcast network, with WMYT becoming the first owned-and-operated station in Charlotte due to its affiliation with MyNetworkTV. However, WCCB's affiliation contract with Fox did not run out until July 1. Until then, Fox Television Stations ran WJZY as a CW affiliate, an irony considering that The CW passed over Fox's UPN affiliates – which later served as MyNetworkTV's core station group – for charter affiliations in key markets (in favor of stations owned by CBS and Tribune), when the network's launch was announced in January 2006.
On April 18, WCCB announced that it would become the new CW affiliate for the Charlotte market on July 1. On May 6, WJZY began airing a promo announcing that it would switch to Fox itself on July 1, which made WJZY the first station in Charlotte to be an owned-and-operated station of one of the "Big Four" networks. Fox also announced that the station would adopt the on-air brand "Fox 46 Carolinas" at that time. To launch the station, Fox chose a regional branding of "Fox 46 Carolinas" to acknowledge WJZY's primary coverage area of 22 counties in North and South Carolina rather than its number, along with giving it distance from any confusion with WCCB's branding of "Fox Charlotte".
The transition from The CW to Fox began soon after Fox took control of the station in April 2013. WJZY dropped all references to The CW and its programming from its on-air branding, and solely branded itself as "WJZY 46" on-air. The station's CW-era Website became a bare-bones "ghost site" soon afterward, when Capitol Broadcasting employees stopped updating it. A new website ("myfoxcarolinas.com") and Facebook page were established for the station in June 2013; upon its launch, the station's new website only contained advertising for the station and Fox primetime programs. By September 2013, a full MyFox Carolinas website was launched through Fox Television Stations' digital partner WorldNow, adding local news coverage. With the switch to Fox, WJZY became the network's third-smallest O&O (ahead of only KTBC in Austin and WHBQ-TV in Memphis) and the smallest in the Eastern Time Zone. WOGX in Ocala/Gainesville, Florida is based in a smaller market, but operates as a semi-satellite of WOFL in Orlando and is counted as part of that station for regulatory purposes.
The switch to Fox also made WJZY the effective "home" station of the National Football League's Carolina Panthers. Through Fox's broadcast rights to the National Football Conference, where the Panthers play, WJZY carries most Panthers regular-season games, including Sunday afternoon games against NFC opponents and road games against American Football Conference teams (WCCB continues to carry the team's preseason games). Charlotte had been the third-largest NFC market (behind the Bay Area and Seattle), and the only one in the Eastern Time Zone, where the local Fox station was not owned by the network. Indeed, Fox Television Stations president Jack Abernathy said that Fox had set its sights on buying a station in Charlotte specifically because it was an NFC market. (The FCC approved Cox Media's sale of KTVU in San Francisco to Fox on October 3, 2014, which make Seattle, New Orleans, and Green Bay the only NFC markets where the Fox affiliate is not an O&O.) It also provides Fox a station in the secondary home market of NASCAR, which maintains its hall of fame in Charlotte, along with Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, which hosts two of the races on the NASCAR on Fox schedule (the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600).
On March 2, 2015, WJZY changed its branding to "Fox 46 Charlotte"; later in 2015, it changed again to "Fox 46 WJZY".
Sale to Nexstar Media Group
On November 5, 2019, Fox Corporation announced that WJZY and WMYT-TV would be acquired by Nexstar Media Group for $45 million in a deal concurrent with Fox's purchase of KCPQ and KZJO in Seattle and WITI in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Nexstar. Nexstar stated that WJZY and WMYT were "geographically complementary" to its existing properties in the Southeastern United States. The sale was completed on March 2, 2020.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|46.1||720p||16:9||WJZY-HD||Main WJZY programming / Fox|
|46.5||480i||16:9||HEROES||Heroes & Icons|
|TV stations in North Carolina|
|TV stations in North Carolina|
|WRPX, Rocky Mount|
|TV stations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area|
|WBTV 3 (CBS) |
WSOC 9 (ABC)
WHKY 14 (Ind)
WCEE-LP 16 (ESTRELLA)
WUNE 17 (PBS)
WCCB 18 (CW)
W21CK-D 21 (3ABN)
WHWD-LD 21 (Daystar)
WDMC-LD 25 (Daystar)
WGTB-CD 28 (Ind)
WNSC 30 (PBS)
WCNC 36 (NBC)
WVEB-LD 40 (Cozi)
WHEH-LD 41 (AZA)
WTVI 42 (PBS)
WJZY 46 (Fox)
WMYT 55 (MNTV)
WUNG 58 (PBS)
WAXN 64 (Ind)