WUTB, virtual channel 24 (UHF digital channel 46), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Owned by Deerfield Media and operated by the Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group through a shared services agreement, it is part of a virtual triopoly with Fox affiliate and Sinclair flagship WBFF (channel 45) and CW affiliate WNUV (channel 54, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting and operated by Sinclair under a separate local marketing agreement). However, Sinclair effectively owns WNUV as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. All three stations share studios, offices and transmitter facilities on 41st Street off the Jones Falls Expressway in the Woodberry neighborhood of north Baltimore.
On cable, WUTB is carried on Comcast Xfinity channel 24. On Verizon Fios, it is carried on channel 9 (509 HD). In most outlying areas of the market, the station is carried on channel 10.
Prior history of channel 24 in Baltimore
The channel 24 allocation in Baltimore was originally occupied by WMET-TV, which began broadcasting on March 1, 1967 as the first UHF station in Baltimore and was touted as "Baltimore's fourth television station" in a March 3 article in the Baltimore Evening Sun. It was a low-budget and low-powered station that was sister to WFAN in Washington, D.C. Both stations were owned by United Broadcasting (which is unrelated to the United Television that was owned by Chris-Craft Industries, which later owned channel 24). The original channel 24 was headquartered in the former Avalon Theatre on Park Heights Avenue. In 1972, both stations ceased broadcasting due to financial difficulties.
Family Broadcast Group signed on a new television station on UHF channel 24 on December 24, 1985 under the callsign WKJL-TV. The call letters stood for Where the Kingdom of Jesus Lives. The station originally maintained a religious programming format, and initially broadcast for about six hours a day with Christian-based religious shows and an hour or two of low budget westerns and movies.
In January 1986, the station quickly expanded to an 18-hour broadcast day featuring five hours of religious programming and twelve hours of family-oriented secular programs. The station began broadcasting 24 hours a day in June 1986 airing programming from the Home Shopping Network during the overnight hours. HSN announced its purchase of the station in September 1986. By November, the station aired HSN programming about 15 hours a day. It later began running HSN programming 24 hours a day and changed its call letters to WHSW on January 23, 1987. The sale to HSN was finalized on January 11, 1986.
On January 18, 1998, WNUV dropped its affiliation with UPN in favor of joining The WB; this resulted in Chris-Craft Industries (which at the time had jointly owned UPN, along with Viacom) buying channel 24, and effectively making it a UPN owned-and-operated station. On January 20, 1998, the station's call letters were changed to the current "WUTB". Chris-Craft ran the station out of then-sister station WWOR-TV's facilities in Secaucus, New Jersey and fed the station's programming to its transmitter site in Baltimore; this included WWOR's local news coverage of the September 11 attacks. On July 25, 2001, Fox Television Stations purchased WUTB and the other Chris-Craft stations. In November 2002, rumors began surfacing that the station would become a Fox affiliate as a result of the purchase, but the network's existing Baltimore affiliate WBFF made a deal to keep its affiliation with that network.
MyNetworkTV era, sale to Sinclair
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and the Warner Bros. Entertainment unit of Time Warner announced that they would shut down The WB and UPN and merge some of their programming on a new network called The CW. Unenthused with being passed over for affiliations with The CW in several key markets outside of Baltimore in favor for stations owned by CBS Television Stations (sister company to both UPN and The CW) and Tribune Broadcasting (whose WB stations served as that network's core affiliate group through Tribune's partial ownership of The WB), Fox Television Stations' UPN affiliates immediately began pulling UPN branding and promotions from on-air use; WUTB immediately dropped its "UPN 24" branding and became known on-air as "WUTB 24".
The CW announcement again touched off speculation that Fox would pull its affiliation from WBFF and move it to WUTB. On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new broadcast television network called MyNetworkTV. This new network, which would be sister to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and News Corporation's syndication division, Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give stations affiliated with UPN and The WB that were not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates another option besides becoming independent stations, as well as to compete against The CW. It was later announced that WNUV would become Baltimore's CW affiliate with WUTB joining MyNetworkTV. On August 11, WUTB adopted the standard MyNetworkTV logo and gradually rebranded itself as "My 24". It became a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station when the network launched on September 5, while WNUV affiliated with The CW on September 18, 2006.
On May 15, 2012, as part of a five-year affiliation agreement extension between Fox and Sinclair Broadcast Group's 19 Fox affiliates (including company flagship WBFF) that will run through 2017, Fox included an option for Sinclair to purchase WUTB, exercisable from July 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. In exchange, Fox received an option to buy any combination of six Sinclair-owned CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates (two of which were standalone stations affiliated with the latter service) in three of four markets: Raleigh (WLFL and WRDC), Las Vegas (KVCW and KVMY), Cincinnati (WSTR-TV) and Norfolk (WTVZ). The WUTB option would create a virtual triopoly with WBFF and CW affiliate WNUV, which Sinclair manages under a local marketing agreement with owner Cunningham Broadcasting. On November 29, 2012, Sinclair exercised its option to purchase WUTB through Deerfield Media for $2.7 million.
In January 2013, Fox announced that it would not exercise its option to buy any of the Sinclair stations included in the purchase option. On May 6, 2013, the FCC granted its approval of WUTB to Deerfield Media, which was formally consummated on June 1. Sinclair began operating WUTB under a local marketing agreement, making it a sister station to WBFF and WNUV; the sale made CBS-owned WJZ-TV the only network-owned station in the Baltimore market, and the LMA resulted in Sinclair having some form of operational control over three of the Baltimore market's six full-power commercial stations (WMAR-TV, WJZ-TV and WBAL-TV are the only remaining stations in the market not controlled by Sinclair). At some point in time after the sale closed, Sinclair moved WUTB's operations from its studios on Seton Drive in Baltimore near the city and county line, to the Woodberry facility shared by WBFF and WNUV. Following the acquisition, WUTB's branding was changed to "MyTV Baltimore", with its logo redesigned to match that of other Sinclair-owned MyNetworkTV affiliates that brand using their region instead of a channel number.
|TV stations in Maryland|
|TV stations in Greater Baltimore|
|WMAR 2 (ABC) |
WBAL 11 (NBC)
WJZ 13 (CBS)
WMPT 22 (PBS)
WUTB 24 (MNTV)
WMJF-CD 39 (Ind)
WWDD-LD 40 (Daystar)
WBFF 45 (Fox)
W45DN-D 46 (IBN)
WNUV 54 (CW)
WFPT 62 (PBS)
WMPB 67 (PBS)
WQAW-LP 69 (AZA)