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WSHM-LD is a low-powered, CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, serving the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 (or virtual channel 3.5 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Ridge Road in Wilbraham. Owned by the Meredith Corporation, it is sister to ABC/Fox/MyNetworkTV affiliate WGGB-TV (channel 40) and the two stations share studios on Liberty Street in Springfield.

Although considered a separate station in its own right, WSHM is actually operated as a semi-satellite of WFSB (channel 3) in Hartford–New Haven, Connecticut. WSHM clears all network programming as provided through its parent station, but airs a separate lineup of syndicated programming, as well as separate commercial inserts and its own legal identifications. Master control and some internal operations are based at WFSB's studios on Capital Boulevard in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

HistoryEdit

The station signed-on as W42AU in 1988 airing a low-powered analog signal, on UHF channel 42, from a transmitter on Mount Tom in Holyoke. The station served as the Pioneer Valley's over-the-air repeater of the Trinity Broadcasting Network without any local deviation outside of station identification. In 1994, it moved to UHF channel 67 and became W67DF.

Originally, CBS was seen in the Pioneer Valley on WHYN-TV (now WGGB-TV) from 1953 until 1959. The end of WHYN's CBS affiliation came several months after WFSB (then known as WTIC-TV with no relation to the current station except for the same call sign) became the network's Connecticut affiliate. Due to its strong analog signal on VHF channel 3, the station also became CBS' affiliate of record in Springfield. Later on, WTIC-TV/WFSB would begin to purchase the syndicated territorial rights to programming for both the Hartford–New Haven and Springfield–Holyoke markets in bulk. It also blocked several attempts by WGGB to switch from ABC back to CBS.

In 2003, the Meredith Corporation (having acquired WFSB in June 1997) purchased W67DF in order to set up a separate operation in the Pioneer Valley. Reasons for such a launch ranged from local advertising opportunities, along with being able to assert the Pioneer Valley as a secondary New England Patriots market, allowing Meredith to avert from pre-empting Patriots games in a market such as Hartford–New Haven where split allegiances to the AFC East's New York Jets or Buffalo Bills (along with the NFC East's New York Giants in selected weeks) are maintained. In November of that year, the station joined CBS and adopted the call sign WSHM-LP after officially upgrading to low-powered status. TBN remains available easily through all cable and satellite providers in the area.

It immediately replaced WFSB on Pioneer Valley cable systems. The station became known on-air as "CBS 3" based on the cable channel location in order to encourage longtime WFSB viewers to stay with WSHM after the switch, and to entirely avoid the ignominy of branding with their analog allocation of channel 67; the allocation would only be mentioned on-air in required technical disclosures during rare technical sign-on and sign-off sequences until the end of analog service in late 2010.

Right from the start of its CBS affiliation, it was a semi-satellite of WFSB, being based out WFSB's "Broadcast House", at Constitution Plaza in Downtown Hartford), and clearing its syndicated programming except for those shows already claimed by Springfield's full-power stations commercial stations, WWLP (channel 22) and WGGB-TV (channels 40.1 & 40.2). In August 2006, WSHM changed its logo from one resembling sister station KPHO-TV to a logo resembling (but unrelated to) CBS owned-and-operated KYW-TV in Philadelphia.

On May 25, 2007, WFSB's studios were flooded by a water main break. The flooding knocked out power and phone service to the building which in turn caused WFSB to go dark. WSHM's master control was also affected and the station went black for about an hour mid-afternoon and intermittently throughout the evening. There were some points during the weekend that its "CBS 3 Springfield" IDs were seen on WFSB while that outlet's IDs were seen on WSHM. On June 27, the master control and internal operations of WSHM and WFSB moved to a newly constructed facility (south of Hartford) in Rocky Hill. Since it is a low-powered station, WSHM was exempt from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated switch to digital-only broadcasting on or before June 12, 2009. Back on February 28, 2008, a high definition feed of this station was added to Comcast, replacing WFSB which moved to digital channel 291 and became a standard definition feed. Charter would follow suit two years later. Meredith eventually removed WFSB from those systems due to corporate and network affiliation agreements requiring only WSHM-LD's ratings to account for CBS in the Springfield market.

On June 18, 2014, Meredith announced that it would acquire WGGB from Gormally Broadcasting creating a duopoly with WSHM. FCC broadcast ownership rules normally forbid same-market ownership of two of the four highest-rated television stations (based on monthly total-day ratings), which often constitute stations affiliated with the four major broadcast networks (the Springfield market has only three full-power television stations, too few to allow a duopoly in any normal circumstance). However, the deal is permissible under FCC rules which allow common ownership of full-power and low-power television stations (the respective class designations of WGGB and WSHM) in all markets. This sale was completed on October 31, 2014. Although WSHM and WGGB initially maintained separate facilities, WSHM was eventually consolidated into WGGB's studios in May 2015.

On September 8, 2015, Media General announced that it would acquire Meredith for $2.4 billion, with the combined group to be renamed Meredith Media General once the sale was finalized. Because Media General already owns WWLP, and the Springfield–Holyoke market does not have enough full-power television stations to legally allow a duopoly in any event (WGGB, WWLP and PBS member station WGBY-TV [channel 57] are the only full-power licenses assigned to the market), the companies would have been required to sell either WGGB or WWLP to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as recent changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations that restrict sharing agreements, had the sale gone through. WSHM-LD was the only one of the three stations affected by the proposed merger that could legally be acquired by Meredith Media General, as FCC rules permit common ownership of full-power and low-power stations regardless of the number of stations within a single market, and it was possible the station would be paired with either WGGB or WWLP after the sales were completed. However, on January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General, resulting in the termination of Meredith's acquisition by Media General.


TV stations in New England
WFSB, Hartford/New Haven

WGME, Portland; WABI, Bangor; WAGM, Presque Isle
WBZ, Boston; WSHM-LD, Springfield
WPRI, Providence
WCAX, Burlington

TV stations in the Pioneer Valley region, including Springfield
WSHM-LD 3 (CBS)
WWLP 22 (NBC)
WFXQ-CD 22 (NBC)
WGGB 40 (ABC)
WHTX-LD 43 (UNI)
WDMR-LD 50 (TLM)
WGBY 57 (PBS)
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