WXSP-CD, virtual and UHF digital channel 15, is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States. The Class A low-power station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, and is sister to the duopoly of NBC affiliate WOOD-TV (channel 8) and Battle Creek-based ABC affiliate WOTV (channel 41). All three stations share studios on College Avenue Southeast in the Heritage Hill section of Grand Rapids; WXSP's transmitter is located in Walker (along I-96).
Overnights, WXSP-CD airs a live feed of WOOD-TV's Doppler weather radar (known as "Storm Track Live"), along with NOAA Weather Radio broadcast audio. The station may sometimes air NBC or ABC programming whenever WOOD-TV and WOTV preempt such shows for breaking news, local specials, or the annual North American International Auto Show charity preview. However, some of the preempted ABC programs are available on WZZM-TV (channel 13).
Part of WXSP's call letters comes from the word "sports"; incidentally, the station is known for its coverage of local sports in both the Grand Rapids and Detroit areas. It also carries the University of Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans basketball and football teams. These broadcasts give the station more viewership than any other programming on WXSP.
The station signed on the air on July 23, 1986 as W29AD, broadcasting on UHF channel 29. It moved to UHF channel 15 and acquired the W15AM calls on January 12, 1988. In the station's early days, it was a translator for World Harvest Television from WHME-TV in South Bend, Indiana, which is owned by LeSEA Broadcasting. The station eventually switched to LIN TV's Local Weather Station (LWS) format with the call sign WOWD-LP (variation on WOOD-TV). WOWD and its low-power network of repeaters aired 24-hour weather information direct from WOOD-TV's weather center. This was in an early pre-digital format comparable to the now defunct NBC Weather Plus.
The weather programming aired from the mid-1990s until it switched to a general entertainment programming format a few years later. It featured graphic displays of various current conditions and forecasts as well as periodic forecast segments from WOOD-TV's meteorologists. Short commercial breaks would feature local television spots as well as LWS' station identification. A format change took place when it became a UPN affiliate on August 31, 1999, prompting the move of LWS to the early morning hours and the adoption of new calls, WXSP-LP. The call-sign WXSP-CA was acquired after it became a Class A station, which meets stricter requirements than most low-powered television stations.
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created to compete against another upstart network that would launch at the same time that September, The CW (an amalgamated network that was originally consisted primarily of UPN and The WB's higher-rated programs) as well as to give UPN and WB stations that were not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates another option besides converting to independent stations.
CBS affiliate WWMT (channel 3) announced on April 4 that it would affiliate with The CW on a new second digital subchannel. WXSP became available as a MyNetworkTV affiliate partly because then-WB affiliate WZPX-TV (channel 43) was also an i: Independent Television (now Ion Television) owned-and-operated station and ran WB programming on a 22-hour delay (prime-time shows ran at 6 p.m. the night after the original broadcast and the Kids' WB Saturday block aired at 5 a.m. on Sunday mornings). As a result, Southwestern Michigan is one of the largest markets in which The CW was only available via digital subchannel/cable and on an entirely new station. It was reported that WXSP was in discussions to join The CW, but due to the station's heavy reliance upon professional sports during primetime and the network's concerns over pre-empted programming, the two sides could not come to an agreement.
For the final two weeks of UPN's existence, Fox affiliate WXMI (channel 17) aired WWE Smackdown until WWMT-DT2's launch. WXSP joined MyNetworkTV on September 5, while WWMT-DT2 signed on with The CW on September 18. On July 21, 2010, WXSP flash-cut from analog to a digital signal. The call letters were changed to WXSP-CD on August 30. In late-October 2010, LIN TV discontinued the simulcast of WXSP on WOTV-DT2, replacing it with a new digital subchannel network, TheCoolTV (which it discontinued on July 15, 2013). On July 1, 2013, LIN TV ended the simulcast of WXSP on WOOD-DT2, replacing that signal with Bounce TV.
On March 21, 2014, it was announced that Media General would acquire LIN. The deal closed on December 19, bringing WXSP, along with WOOD and WOTV, under common ownership with CBS affiliate WLNS-TV in Lansing.
On January 27, 2016, Media General announced that it had entered into a definite agreement to be acquired by Nexstar Broadcasting Group. The combined company will be known as Nexstar Media Group, and own 171 stations (including WOOD, WOTV and WXSP), serving an estimated 39% of households.
On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media (owners of Fox affiliate WXMI) for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WXMI directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of more than two stations in the same media market, or two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the market. As such, Nexstar was required to sell either WXMI, WOOD and/or WOTV to separate, unrelated companies to address the ownership conflict. A sale of WXSP-CD was not required, as WXSP does not rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Grand Rapids–Kalamazoo–Battle Creek market and does not comply with FCC duopoly rules as it is licensed as a Class A low-power station. On March 20, 2019, it was announced Nexstar would keep both the WOOD-TV/WOTV duopoly and WXSP-CD and sell WXMI to the Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company, as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Scripps and Tegna Inc. in separate deals worth $1.32 billion.
|TV stations in Michigan|
|TV stations in West Michigan, including Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek|
|WWMT 3 (CBS) |
WOOD 8 (NBC)
WZZM 13 (ABC)
WXSP-CD 15 (MNTV)
WXMI 17 (Fox)
WUHQ-LD 29 (Daystar)
WGVU 35 (PBS)
WMKG-CD 38 (TFC)
WOTV 41 (ABC)
WZPX 43 (Ion)
W48CL 48 (3ABN)
WTLJ 54 (TCT)
WLLA 64 (Rel)