WSMH, virtual channel 66 (UHF digital channel 16), branded on-air as Fox 66, is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Flint, Michigan, United States and serving the Flint/Tri-Cities television market. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates Saginaw-licensed NBC affiliate WEYI-TV (channel 25, owned by Howard Stirk Holdings) and Bay City-licensed CW affiliate WBSF (channel 46, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting) through separate shared services agreements. However, Sinclair effectively owns WBSF as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. WSMH maintains studios on West Pierson Road in Mount Morris Township (though with a Flint mailing address), which also host master control and some internal operations for WEYI and WBSF. WSMH's transmitter is located on Amman Road (near Gary Road) near St. Charles, Michigan. The station is typically carried on channel 8 on most cable systems.
History[edit | edit source]
Flint Broadcasting Limited Partnership requested a station with the call letter WSMH, which were assigned on September 27, 1984. WSMH first went on the air on January 13, 1985 as an independent station with Frederick (Fritz) Mills as general manager. Mills was formerly director of national sales, UPI Media in Chicago. A fire at the transmitter in April 1985 forced the station to go off the air for about one month until repairs could be made. Flint Broadcasting sold the station to Gerald J. Robinson by July 1986. On October 9, 1986, it became a charter Fox affiliate. Sinclair Broadcast Group bought the station in 1996. From 1990 to 1997, WSMH was the Mid-Michigan affiliate of the now defunct syndication package The Disney Afternoon.
On October 28, 2002, the station launched its first newscast, News at Ten, the first using a centralization model for all Sinclair stations.
On September 30, 2006, WSMH began broadcasting The Tube on its secondary subchannel. Channel 66 dropped its local news staff in 2006, opting instead to contract with WNEM to replace its 10 p.m. newscast.
The retransmission agreement between the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Comcast was set to expire on February 5, 2007. An extension was granted twice so the sides could negotiate. During the talks, Comcast stated that it would not pay cash for retransmission rights but was willing to give free commercial time to WSMH in exchange for carriage. On March 9, Sinclair and Comcast signed a new deal to extend retransmission rights for four years to expire on March 1, 2011.
Per a new five-year affiliation agreement reached between Sinclair and Fox on May 15, 2012, WSMH will remain a Fox affiliate until at least December 31, 2017.
In late 2010 and early 2011 with new carriage deals by owner Sinclair, WSMH added two music video networks to its digital subchannels, TheCoolTV on 66.2 and The Country Network on 66.3.
In late August 2012, TheCoolTV was dropped from all 32 Sinclair stations that carried the channel, including WSMH, with no replacement due to non-renewal of affiliation. Sinclair signed an agreement on June 2014 which adds GetTV to 33 TV markets with WSMH adding that channel on channel 66.2 effective July 2.
Effective April 27, 2015, WEYI took over duties of producing the news for sister station WSMH. The station, being operated by Sinclair, may carry sports since August 30, 2015 from Sinclair Networks' American Sports Network. Zuus was replaced on .3 by sci-fi network Comet on October 31, 2015. In December 2015, the station replaced GetTV with Antenna TV.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
|TV stations in Michigan|
|TV stations in the Mid Michigan region, including Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland|
|WNEM 5 (CBS)|