WYOU, virtual channel 22 (VHF digital channel 13), is a television station licensed to Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States, serving as the CBS affiliate for the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre television market. The station is owned by Mission Broadcasting; Nexstar Media Group, which owns Wilkes-Barre-licensed NBC affiliate WBRE-TV (channel 28), operates WYOU under a shared services agreement. WYOU's transmitter is located at the Penobscot Knob antenna farm near Mountain Top. Although most of WYOU's operations are based at WBRE's studios on South Franklin Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre, it has a sales office on Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton that also houses a WBRE news bureau.
History[edit | edit source]
The station was launched on June 7, 1953 as WGBI-TV. It was owned by the Megargee family and its company, Scranton Broadcasters, along with WGBI radio (910 AM, now WBZU; and 101.3 FM, now WGGY). Studios were located in the basement of Scranton Prep High School on Wyoming Avenue in Downtown Scranton. The station remained at this location for many years even after Scranton Preparatory School moved there. Managed for many years by founder Frank Megargee's daughter Madge Megargee Holcomb, Scranton Broadcasters was at one time probably the only broadcasting company in the country run by five women. This included Mrs. Holcomb, her mother Mrs. Megargee, and Frank Megargee's younger daughters: Katharine Megargee Collins, Mary Megargee Griffin, and Jean Megargee Reap.
Despite its link with one of Northeast Pennsylvania's most prestigious broadcasters (the AM station had been founded in 1925), WGBI-TV operated on a tight budget. For example, the Megargees found AT&T's rates for a dedicated network feed line too high for their liking. This forced station engineers to switch to and from the signal of WCBS-TV in New York City whenever CBS programming was on-the-air. As a result, picture quality for network programming left much to be desired. The switchover was a delicate process requiring tight coordination between engineers stationed around the clock at the transmitter site and directors at the studios since no one there could see the WCBS feed.
WGBI went into a limited partnership with the now-defunct Philadelphia Bulletin in 1958 and was renamed WDAU-TV after WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, which was also owned by the newspaper. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that there was so much signal overlap between the two stations that they were effectively a duopoly. Its Grade B signal reaches the Lehigh Valley, which is part of the Philadelphia market. The Bulletin opted to retain WDAU-TV, and sold WCAU-TV to CBS. Even with new ownership, WDAU continued to rebroadcast WCBS' signal for network programming until the 1970s, when complaints about the poor quality of color network programming led it to buy a network feed. The limited partnership was short-lived, as the Bulletin sold its share of WDAU back to the Megargee family in 1959. However, Channel 22 retained the WDAU call sign for three decades even after the Megargees regained full ownership of the station.
Scranton Broadcasters then sold the station to Keystone Broadcasters in 1984. As a result, WDAU severed all remaining ties to the WGBI radio stations (which were retained by the Megargee family until the early 1990s; the stations have since changed their call signs and were eventually acquired by their current owner Entercom). Keystone, in turn, sold the station to Diversified Communications of Portland, Maine in 1986, with the call letters changed to the current WYOU on October 9. Soon afterward, the station moved to facilities on Lackawanna Avenue.
WYOU was purchased by Nexstar Broadcasting as its first station property in 1996. In 1998, Nexstar bought rival WBRE and sold WYOU to Mission Broadcasting, but kept control of WYOU's operations under a joint sales agreement with WBRE as the senior partner. Gradually, most operations were consolidated at WBRE's studios. After vacating the larger Lackawanna Avenue facility, Nexstar opened a smaller news bureau and sales office next door.
WYOU still has a film archive dating back to the 1950s. A 1972 flood ruined the film archive in WBRE's basement.
On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media—which has operated WNEP-TV through a shared services agreement with Dreamcatcher Broadcasting since December 2014—for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WNEP 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. (Furthermore, any attempt by Nexstar to assume the operations of WNEP through local marketing or shared services agreements may be subject to regulatory hurdles that could delay completion of the FCC and Justice Department's review and approval process for the acquisition.) As such, Nexstar will be required to sell either WNEP or both WBRE and WYOU (separately as it would break the grandfathered LMA) to separate, unrelated companies to address the ownership conflict. On January 31, 2019, Nexstar announced that it would retain the WBRE/WYOU duopoly and sell WNEP to another buyer. Since Nexstar will keep the WBRE/WYOU virtual duopoly, the transaction will make them sister stations to MyNetworkTV affiliate WPHL-TV in Philadelphia and CW affiliate WPIX in New York City.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
|TV stations in Pennsylvania|
|TV stations in Northeastern Pennsylvania including Scranton, Wilkes Barre, and Hazelton|
|WNEP 16 (ABC)|