WUTR is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Utica, New York, United States and serving Central Upstate New York's Mohawk Valley. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 30 (or virtual channel 20 via PSIP) from a transmitter at its studios on Smith Hill Road in Deerfield (official address is Utica). The station can also be seen on Charter Spectrum channels 7 and 1200 in both standard and high definition. Owned by Mission Broadcasting, WUTR is operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by the Nexstar Media Group. This makes it sister to Fox affiliate WFXV (channel 33) and low-powered MyNetworkTV affiliate WPNY-LP (channel 11) and the three stations share studios.
WUTR signed on for the first time on February 28, 1970, as the second television station in the market, owned by Roy H. Park Communications. Park originally sought an affiliation with CBS, but the network turned the offer down due to objections from WHEN-TV (channel 5, now WTVH) in Syracuse. WHEN-TV claimed it would have faced substantial revenue losses had WUTR aligned with CBS; WHEN-TV had long claimed Utica–Rome as part of its market coverage area. However, a rivalry between the Syracuse-based Park and then-WHEN owner Meredith Corporation may also have been a factor. As a result, WUTR joined ABC (taking that affiliation from NBC affiliate WKTV, channel 2) and was the only affiliate with the network owned by Park at that time. WUTR was also the only Park TV station located outside Park's native Southern U.S. (although Park maintained his operations in Ithaca, New York, in the state's Southern Tier region).
Until the 1980s, WUTR was the default ABC affiliate for much of the Watertown market. It operated translators in Watertown and in Massena. The translators were shut down after WJCK (now WWTI, which later spent several years as a sister station to WUTR) began operations in 1985 on the Watertown translator allotment. After Roy Park died in 1993, the future of the group was put into doubt as his estate sold much of the group to corporate investor Gary Knapp. Knapp sold the remnants of the Park group to Media General in 1996.
With WUTR being one of the smallest of Park's stations and the sole station the group had in the Northeast, Media General spun it off in mid-1997 to the Ackerley Group (then-owner of ABC affiliate WIXT, now WSYR-TV, in Syracuse). With the purchase, Ackerley began to build a regional strategy called the "Central New York Station Group" (CNYSG) which eventually covered most of Upstate New York and acquired stations in markets the company did not initially enter. In October 2001, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) announced its buyout of Ackerley closing on its purchase in 2002. Though initially no changes took place, market concentration concerns with Clear Channel's radio cluster in the Utica market put WUTR's future under the company in doubt.
Given the option between potentially selling WUTR or the four-station "Sports Stars" sports radio simulcast, Clear Channel reduced budgets and redistributed resources to other stations in the CNYSG. In December 2003, Clear Channel announced it would sell WUTR to Nexstar Broadcasting Group subsidiary Mission Broadcasting; the sale was completed on April 1, 2004. At that time, Nexstar (owner of WFXV and WPNY) took over operations of WUTR under local marketing and joint sales agreements, and the three stations were eventually consolidated into WUTR's studios in Deerfield. The station's broadcasts became digital-only, effective March 16, 2009.
For a time in December 2010, WUTR was available in the Burlington, Vermont/Plattsburgh, New York area on Time Warner Cable systems. Due to an ongoing retransmission dispute, the provider dropped that market's ABC affiliate WVNY and added WUTR in its place. Rival WKTV, which at the time was co-owned with WVNY, was replaced with Nexstar-owned WBRE-TV from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Time Warner Cable's systems in Utica for the same reason. Eventually, the dispute was resolved and both stations were returned to the cable system. (In November 2012, Mission would acquire WVNY from Smith, placing that station in the same family as WUTR.)
On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it has entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape, Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including WUTR and WFXV.
|TV stations in New York|
| WABC, New York City|
|TV stations in the Mohawk Valley, including Utica and Rome, New York|
| WKTV 2 (NBC)|