WNDY-TV, virtual channel 23 (VHF digital channel 9), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station serving Indianapolis, Indiana, United States that is licensed to Marion. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with Indianapolis-licensed CW affiliate WISH-TV (channel 8). The two stations share studios on North Meridian Street (at the north end of the Television Row section) on the near north side of Indianapolis and transmitter facilities on Walnut Drive in the Augusta section of the city's northwest side (near Meridian Hills).
On cable, WNDY is available on Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum and AT&T U-verse channel 10.
History[edit | edit source]
Early history[edit | edit source]
The station first signed on the air on November 1, 1987 as WMCC. Founded by G. J. Robinson, it originally operated as an independent station; it ran mostly paid programming, but slowly added classic sitcoms, cartoons and older movies. The station's original studios and transmitter were located on East 246th Street/State Road 213 in White River Township. WMCC continued to acquire more recent sitcoms, and added some talk and reality shows during the early 1990s. The station would later relocate its operations to a new studio facility on West 16th Street in Indianapolis.
On December 7, 1994, WMCC was sold for $10 million to Wabash Valley Broadcasting (making it a sister station to WTHI AM-FM-TV in Terre Haute and two Florida television stations), a company owned by the Hulman-George family, the longtime owners of Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the station's license was held by IMS Broadcasting, LLC during this time. The new owners changed channel 23's call letters to WNDY-TV on January 9, 1995 and rebranded the station "INDY-TV"; the station also began using a checkered flag as part of its logo – a nod to the Speedway and its signature Indianapolis 500 race, which covered the left diagonal line of the "W" in the calls. WNDY became a charter affiliate of The WB when the network launched two days later; the station eventually amended its branding to "INDY-TV WB 23" in reflection of the affiliation.
The Hulman-George family decided to sell WNDY-TV in 1997. Spartan Communications – which planned on turning over WNDY's operations to Fox affiliate WXIN (channel 59) under a local marketing agreement with Tribune Broadcasting – agreed to acquire the station in August 1997, only to back out of the deal an hour before it was scheduled to be finalized on October 3. Paxson Communications then made a $28.4 million offer for WNDY, before it was outbid by the Paramount Stations Group (now CBS Television Stations), which purchased the station for $35 million in October 1997; Paramount decided to buy the station after the Sinclair Broadcast Group signed an agreement to switch its UPN affiliates and independent stations to The WB, with UPN-affiliated WTTV (channel 4) and its Kokomo satellite WTTK (channel 29) slated to switch.
WNDY-TV began carrying UPN programming on January 22, 1998; initially, the station aired the network's programming on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, as it remained a WB affiliate. The move followed the expiration of WTTV's contract with UPN a week earlier. The sale to Paramount was finalized on February 4, 1998. Though channel 23's contract with The WB was originally slated to expire in January 1999, WB programming moved to WTTV on April 6, 1998; at that time, WNDY became a UPN owned-and-operated station and changed its branding to "UPN 23". With the switch, the station became the first O&O of a major commercial broadcast network in the Indianapolis market.
The station adopted the "UPN Indiana" branding in September 2003, dropping on-air references to its channel 23 allocation; this was done partly due to the fact that most cable providers in the Indianapolis market carry WNDY on channel 10. A few weeks before the start of the 2003-04 television season, WNDY began displaying a countdown of days until it rebranded as "UPN Indy". It was reported that the "UPN Indy" moniker was ditched in favor of "UPN Indiana" at the last minute to appeal to the larger audience across the state rather than just those living in the Indianapolis area, along with the fact that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had stopped allowing the station to use the trademarked word "Indy". On February 10, 2005, Paramount sold WNDY and Columbus sister station WWHO to the LIN TV Corporation, owners of then-CBS affiliate WISH-TV (channel 8) and 24-hour weather service WIIH-CA (channel 17, now a fill-in translator for WISH), for $85 million; the station rebranded as "WNDY UPN 23" that July.
WNDY had previously been used as the calls for local radio station WBRI (1500 AM), and fictionally as the call sign of the television station in the 1990-91 CBS series WIOU (which predated channel 23's adoption of the WNDY calls by about four years) and for a fictional Chicago radio station in the 1992 Dolly Parton film Straight Talk.
As a MyNetworkTV affiliate[edit | edit source]
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation (which acquired UPN in its split from Viacom one month earlier) and the Warner Bros. Entertainment unit of Time Warner announced that they would dissolve UPN and The WB that September in favor of creating The CW, a new "fifth" network that would combine the programming from its respective predecessors. One month later on February 22, News Corporation announced the launch of another new network called MyNetworkTV; originally operated by its Fox Television Stations subsidiary and its Twentieth Television syndication division, it was designed to give UPN and WB affiliates that would not affiliate with The CW another option besides becoming independent stations. WTTV/WTTK was named as Indianapolis's CW outlet through an affiliation deal with that station's owner Tribune Broadcasting that covered 16 of the company's 19 WB stations at that time; WNDY was named as the market's MyNetworkTV affiliate in a four-station deal with LIN on April 26, 2006. Shortly before becoming a charter affiliate when MyNetworkTV launched on September 5, the station accordingly rebranded as "My INDY TV".
On May 18, 2007, LIN TV announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in the sale of the company. On October 2, 2008, cable provider Bright House Networks pulled WISH-TV, WNDY and WIIH-CA from its Indianapolis area system as it and LIN had been unable to reach a new agreement for the stations regarding compensation for their carriage. WNDY and WISH were restored by Bright House as part of an agreement that was reached 20 days later on October 26.
On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would merge with LIN Media in a $1.6 billion deal. The merger was completed on December 19.
Sale to Nexstar[edit | edit source]
On September 8, 2015, Media General announced that it would acquire the Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corporation for $2.4 billion with the intention to name the combined group Meredith Media General if the sale were finalized. However, on September 28, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group made an unsolicited cash-and-stock merger offer for Media General, originally valued at $14.50 per share. On November 16, following opposition to the merger with Meredith by minority shareholders Oppenheimer Holdings and Starboard Capital (primarily because Meredith's magazine properties were included in the deal, which would have re-entered Media General into publishing after it sold its newspapers to BH Media in 2012 to reduce debt) and the rejection of Nexstar's initial offer by company management, Media General agreed to enter into negotiations with Nexstar on a suitable counter deal, while the Meredith merger proposal remained active; the two eventually concluded negotiations on January 6, 2016, reaching a merger agreement for valued at $17.14 per share (an evaluation of $4.6 billion, plus the assumption of $2.3 billion debt).
On January 27, Meredith formally broke off the proposed merger with Media General and accepted the termination fee of $60 million previously negotiated under the original merger proposal; Media General subsequently signed an agreement to be acquired by Nexstar, in exchange for giving Meredith right of first refusal to acquire any broadcast or digital properties that may be divested (a clause that Meredith did not exercise). Because the FCC required Media General and Nexstar to divest stations in markets where both groups had television properties, the WISH-WNDY duopoly gained new sister stations in nearby markets within Indiana: the Evansville virtual duopoly of ABC affiliate WEHT and fellow CW affiliate WTVW, and the Terre Haute virtual duopoly of NBC affiliate WTWO and ABC affiliate WAWV-TV. CBS affiliate WANE-TV in Fort Wayne was the only existing sister station of WISH and WNDY that became part of the combined group, as Media General and Nexstar each sold certain Indiana stations they already owned (Nexstar's Fox affiliate WFFT-TV in Fort Wayne and Media General's two other Indiana-based CBS affiliates, WTHI-TV in Terre Haute and WLFI-TV in Lafayette) to Heartland Media to alleviate conflicts with FCC ownership rules. The transaction was approved by the FCC on January 11, 2017; the sale was completed on January 17, at which point the existing Nexstar stations and the former Media General outlets that neither group had to sell in order to rectify ownership conflicts in certain markets became part of the renamed Nexstar Media Group.
On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media—which has owned Fox affiliate WXIN (channel 59) since July 1996 and CBS affiliate WTTV since July 2002—for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WXIN and WTTV/WTTK directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of more than two stations in the same media market, or two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the market. (Furthermore, any attempt by Nexstar to assume the operations of WXIN and WTTV/WTTK through local marketing or shared services agreements may be subject to regulatory hurdles that could delay completion of the FCC and Justice Department's review and approval process for the acquisition.) As such, Nexstar will be required to sell two of the stations (including one ranking in the top four in ratings; WTTV and WTTK counting as one station) to a separate, unrelated company to address the ownership conflict, potentially creating two new duopolies.
|TV stations in Indiana|
|TV stations in Central Indiana, including Indianapolis, Bloomington and Muncie|
|WTTV 4 (CBS) |
WRTV 6 (ABC)
WISH 8 (CW)
WTHR 13 (NBC)
WREP-LD 15 (Youtoo)
WIIH-CD 17 (GetTV)
WDNI-CD 19 (TLM)
WFYI 20 (PBS)
WNDY 23 (MNTV)
WSOT-LD 27 (NRBTV)
WUDZ-LD 28 (Buzzr)
WTTK 29 (CBS)
WTIU 30 (PBS)
WSDI-LD 30 (Quest)
WHMB 40 (FBC)
WCLJ 42 (Ion Life)
WALV-CD 46 (MeTV)
WBXI-CD 47 (Start TV)
WIPB 49 (PBS)
WIWU-CD 51 (Rel)
WXIN 59 (Fox)
WIPX 63 (Ion)
WDTI 69 (Daystar)