WTSJ-LP, UHF channel 38, is a Azteca-O&O digital television station located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The station is owned by HC2 Holdings. The station's studio facilities are located at 1136 South 108th Street in West Allis, and its transmitter is located at the Milwaukee PBS tower on North Humboldt Boulevard in Milwaukee's Estabrook Park neighborhood.
Early license establishmentEdit
What is now WTSJ-LP has its origins in a construction permit for a low-power television station on channel 55 in Ludington, Michigan, which the Federal Communications Commission granted to Richard L. Bourassa on May 31, 1995 and issued the call sign W55CG. Bourassa sold the station to MS Communications on November 16, 2000. A month later, MS filed for a license to cover the permit, which was granted on February 16, 2001; on May 24, the company obtained a construction permit to move the station to channel 53 in Milwaukee as W53CC. The channel 53 permit was subsequently replaced with one for operation on channel 38 (as W38DT) on April 14, 2004. MS Communications had plans to establish wireless cable networks, but never broadcast anything other than test patterns on its stations.
Bustos era with AztecaEdit
Bustos Media purchased the station from MS Communications for $1,350,000 on June 9, 2006. The previous day, MS shut down the W55CG facility in Ludington in preparation for the completion of the sale. Bustos changed the call letters to WBWT-LP on August 30, 2006, built the channel 38 facility in Milwaukee, began airing a test pattern in September 2006, and officially signed WBWT on the air on December 12. The station originally served as an affiliate of Azteca América and also initially carried a video simulcast of the morning program from sister radio station WDDW (104.7 FM). It expected to add additional local programming to serve Milwaukee's Hispanic community. Time Warner Cable began carrying the station throughout its service area in October 2009 on digital cable channel 807.
Bustos filed for a construction permit with the FCC to build digital transmitter facilities on UHF channel 31 in 2010. In September 2010, Bustos transferred most of its licenses to Adelante Media Group as part of a settlement with its lenders.
Switch to MundoFoxEdit
On July 25, 2012, Adalante announced that it had signed an affiliation agreement to switch its Azteca America affiliates to upstart Spanish-language network MundoFox, which officially launched on August 13. However, WBWT-LP switched to the network two weeks earlier on August 1 during its non-advertised soft launch period. Azteca's national feed was eventually picked up by Time Warner and Charter.
Adalante sold WBWT-LP, along with KBTU-LP in Salt Lake City, to DTV America Corporation for $425,000 on July 16, 2015. On October 20, DTV America changed the station's call letters to WTSJ-LP; the calls stand for the initials of their print media partner, The Spanish Journal, Milwaukee's leading Hispanic-American publication.
DTV America era; going digital, return to Azteca, and additional networksEdit
Around the time of the sale to DTV America, the station launched their digital signal on channel 38 via a flash cut. In addition to MundoMax on 38.1, WTSJ-LP resumed their affiliation with Azteca on 38.2, with both signals transmitting in 720p. With the move of WTSJ-LP to digital operations, it was the last station in the Milwaukee market to end analog operations. Despite ending analog operations, the station continues to utilize LP calls for the time being. Slowly, DTV America began to establish their common template of having multiple subchannel networks on one signal seen in other markets.
In December 2015, Azteca was replaced with Buzzr and the feed converted to 480p.
On May 5, 2016, the station launched a third subchannel for the Katz Broadcasting network Escape in lieu of WTMJ-TV, which through their parent company E. W. Scripps agreed to carry the network in 2015, but was unable to at the time due to a lack of space for new subchannels. In June 2016 the station added QVC's "Plus" feed on Channel 38.4, duplicating the same signal found on WIWN-DT5 in the market.
In late October 2016, WTSJ again resumed carrying Azteca on their main channel, its third affiliation round with the network, as the moribund MundoMax network began to wind down operations; in addition a fifth subchannel carrying The Country Network was added, returning that network to Milwaukee after a year-long absence after WCGV-TV dropped it from their second subchannel for Comet, along with the AccuWeather Channel on an oddly-mapped seventh subchannel (using the national feed without local conditions). Eventually the sixth subchannel was filled by Tuff TV and all three subchannels were sorted into a new mapping, with AccuWeather currently on DT5, followed by Tuff on DT6 and The County Network on DT7.
With WTMJ ending their carriage of Cozi TV at the start of 2017, WTSJ dropped Escape in the month before as WTMJ picked it up in its place, leaving WTSJ-LP3 vacant with a paid programming loop until January 15, 2017, when WTSJ completed the exchange and added Cozi TV. On June 22, 2017, WIWN (channel 68) also began to carry Cozi over their main signal; that station is officially listed by Nielsen as being in the Green Bay market owing to its city of license of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (but has all of their coverage in the Milwaukee market), allowing for the unusual situation of two stations under different ownerships from the same tower carrying the same network. On July 27, 2017, Cozi TV became exclusive to WIWN, with Jewelry Television taking over WTSJ-LP3.
With HC2 Holdings' mid-2017 acquisition of DTV America and the November 2017 acquisition of Azteca, the station is now an O&O of their main network, effectively stabilizing its main channel's programming for the foreseeable future.
Tuff TV suddenly terminated their national operations on August 26, 2018, and currently paid programming runs on that signal. Accuweather was replaced with the Christian Broadcasting Network's new 24-hour news channel on October 1, with WTSJ a charter affiliate of the network.
|TV stations in Wisconsin|
|W23BW-D, Madison||KQEG-CD, La Crosse||WTSJ-LP, Milwaukee||WZCK-LD, Madison-Middleton||WMWD, Madison||WIFS, Janesville||WBME-CD, Milwaukee||WMKE-CD, Milwaukee||WWRS, Mayville||WYTU-LD, Milwaukee||WVCY, Milwaukee|
|W30BU, Green Bay||WIWN, Fond du Lac||WGBD-LD, Green Bay||WMLW, Racine|
|TV stations in Southeastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha|
| WTMJ 4 (NBC) |
WITI 6 (Fox)
WMVS 10 (PBS)
WISN 12 (ABC)
WVTV 18 (CW)
WMKE-CD 21 (Quest)
WVTV-DT2 24 (MNTV)
WVCY 30 (Rel)
WMVT 36 (PBS)
WTSJ-LP 38 (AZA)
WBME-CD 41 (MeTV)
WMLW 49 (Ind.)
WWRS 52 (TBN)
WPXE 55 (Ion)
WDJT 58 (CBS)
WYTU-LD 63 (TLM)
WIWN 68 (COZI)