WROC-TV, virtual channel 8 (UHF digital channel 45), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Rochester, New York, United States. Owned by the Nexstar Media Group, WROC-TV has studios on Humboldt Street in downtown Rochester, and its transmitter is located on Pinnacle Hill in Brighton, New York.
WROC-TV is Rochester's oldest television station, signing on June 11, 1949, as WHAM-TV, an NBC affiliate on channel 6. It was owned originally by Stromberg-Carlson, a telephone equipment manufacturer, along with WHAM radio. The station was also affiliated with the now-defunct DuMont Television Network.
WHAM-TV moved to channel 5 on July 24, 1954, as part of a revision of upstate New York's VHF allotments resulting from the Federal Communications Commission's Sixth Report and Order of 1952. However, WHAM-TV on channel 5 dealt with interference issues from CBLT, a CBC Television station from Toronto, after that station moved from its original channel 9 allocation to channel 6 in 1956. CBLT was replaced on channel 9 by CFTO-TV in 1960, and that channel relocation would later play an indirect role in the station's second frequency shift, eight years later.
Stromberg-Carlson merged with General Dynamics in 1955. General Dynamics was not interested in owning broadcast outlets, and put the WHAM-TV outlets on the market. In 1956, WHAM-TV was sold to Transcontinent Broadcasting, which owned WGR radio and WGR-TV in Buffalo. The new owners changed the call letters to the current WROC-TV. In 1961, Transcontinent sold the station to Veterans Broadcasting Company, which subsequently sold its half of what is today WHEC-TV (channel 10) to the Gannett Company, then based in Rochester. (The WHAM-TV callsign is now used on Rochester's ABC affiliate, channel 13, previously known as WOKR. Other than the shared callsign, that station is unrelated to the earlier WHAM-TV.)
Under Veterans' ownership, WROC-TV moved to channel 8 on September 8, 1962, as part of another channel allocation change, this one being a switch involving Rochester and Syracuse. The FCC moved WROC-TV's former channel 5 east to Syracuse, and it was taken by Meredith Corporation-owned WHEN-TV (now WTVH), which was previously on channel 8. The move also allowed a new station on channel 9 to enter the Syracuse market; it signed-on as WNYS-TV (later WIXT-TV and now WSYR-TV) the following day.
Veterans Broadcasting merged with Rust Craft Broadcasting in 1964. Rust Craft was sold to Ziff Davis in 1979. Ziff Davis then sold WROC-TV and sister stations in Saginaw, Michigan, Augusta, Georgia and Steubenville, Ohio to Television Station Partners LP in 1983. Television Station Partners sold WROC-TV, along with the WEYI-TV and WTOV-TV, to Smith Broadcasting in 1996. Nexstar purchased WROC-TV in 1999.
Under the stewardship of Television Station Partners, WROC-TV made another switch: In April 1989, NBC announced it would end its 40-year partnership with channel 8 and move its Rochester affiliation to then-CBS station WHEC-TV. This move was the result of the station's poor performance and constant preemptions of NBC network programming (NBC was very intolerant of preemptions at this time, and was the number one network at the time, adding to NBC's aggravation with channel 8). WROC-TV agreed to terms to affilate with CBS in May, and channel 8 soon began airing CBS's Saturday morning children's programs (with the notable exception of Pee-wee's Playhouse) and daytime game shows Family Feud and Now You See It, all of which had been preempted by WHEC-TV. Channel 8 began airing the full CBS schedule on August 13, 1989.
For many years, WROC-TV was one of three Rochester area stations offered on cable in the Ottawa–Gatineau and Eastern Ontario regions. The Rochester area stations were replaced with Detroit stations when the microwave relay system that provided these signals was discontinued. Until January 2009, WROC-TV was also available in many Central Ontario communities such as Belleville, Cobourg, and Lindsay.
On July 9, 2012, WROC-TV replaced Louisville's WLKY on Time Warner Cable systems in that station's region, when WLKY's owners, Hearst Television, pulled its stations off Time Warner Cable's systems in a retransmission dispute. However, Nexstar complained that Time Warner Cable has used their signals outside their markets without permission, while Time Warner Cable was within its rights to use their signals as replacements until a deal with Hearst is reached. WROC-TV, for its part, made the best of its predicament, naming the administrator of a Facebook group of tongue-in-cheek Louisvillean WROC-TV fans its fan of the week and making a handful of other shout-outs to its emerging Louisville fanbase. The substitution of WROC-TV in place of WLKY lasted until July 19, 2012, when a deal was reached between Hearst and Time Warner.
|TV stations in New York|
| WCBS, New York City|
|TV stations in the Greater Rochester, New York area|
| WGCE-CD 6 (Heartland) |
WROC 8 (CBS)
WHEC 10 (NBC)
WHAM 13 (ABC)
WXXI 21 (PBS)
WUHF 31 (Fox)
WBGT-CD 46 (MNTV)