WZRB, virtual and UHF digital channel 47, is an Ion Television owned-and-operated television station licensed to Columbia, South Carolina, United States. The station is owned by Ion Media Networks. WZRB's offices and transmitter are located on Cushman Drive (near US 1) on the northeast side of Columbia. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 13 in both standard and high definition.
The station first signed on the air on January 1, 2005, as the sixth commercial television station to sign on the air in the Columbia television market. Founded by St. Louis-based Roberts Broadcasting, it originally operated as a UPN affiliate. Prior to WZRB's sign-on, Sumter-licensed WB affiliate WBHQ (channel 63, now WKTC) carried UPN programming on a secondary basis, airing its primetime schedule on a two-hour delay.
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. WZRB became Columbia's CW affiliate when the network launched on September 18, 2006; WKTC took the MyNetworkTV affiliation, and joined that network when it launched two weeks earlier on September 5.
Sale to Gary Chapman and switch to Ion
On December 2, 2013, Roberts filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to sell WZRB to Radiant Light Ministries, a subsidiary of religious broadcaster Tri-State Christian Television; however, on December 11, the United States bankruptcy court gave initial approval for a plan by Roberts' creditors to instead transfer WZRB and its sister stations, WRBU in St. Louis and WAZE-LP in Evansville, Indiana, to a trust overseen by former LIN Media CEO Gary Chapman with Ion Media Networks (a creditor in Roberts' Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings) as its beneficiary, with Roberts' attorney subsequently stating that Ion would purchase the three stations.
On February 10, 2014, WZRB became an Ion Television affiliate, carry the network's programming for the majority of its broadcast day, resulting in the removal of WZRB's syndicated programming inventory in the process. For the first month of its tenure as an Ion O&O, CW programming—including primetime shows—continued to air on the station as a secondary affiliation, pre-empting one hour of Ion's daytime lineup and the first two hours of its primetime schedule (although the Vortexx children's block on Saturday mornings, was aired one hour earlier than the network's recommended timeslot nationwide, at 6:00 a.m. in order to accommodate Ion programming that started at 11:00 a.m.). This was a departure from the standard Ion programming structure (in which stations carry only Ion programming with limited to no local content and no acquired programming outside of that offered by the network); as a result, it marked the first time since 2008, the end of a two-year period in which Ion Media Networks ran MyNetworkTV programming on select i/Ion owned-and-operated stations, that the company had carried another network's programming on its stations. This arrangement proved to be only temporary, as existing MyNetworkTV affiliate WKTC took the CW affiliation on March 17, 2014, resulting in WZRB beginning to carry the entire Ion Television schedule.
Aborted sale to Brian Brady; sale to Ion Media Networks
On January 29, 2015, Cedar Creek Broadcasting (a company controlled by Brian Brady, who also owns several other broadcasting companies such as Northwest Broadcasting) agreed to purchase WZRB and WRBU from the trust for $6 million; following the deal's completion, Ion would have continued to provide services to the stations, and they would continue to be Ion affiliates. On May 9, 2017, the Broadcast Trust informed the FCC that the sale to Cedar Creek Broadcasting had been terminated. One month later on June 20, 2017, Ion Media Networks announced that it would purchase WZRB and WRBU from the Chapman-owned/Ion-managed trust for an undisclosed amount. The sale was completed on October 19, 2017.
|TV stations in South Carolina|
|TV stations in the Midlands of South Carolina, including Columbia|
|WIS 10 (NBC) |
WLTX 19 (CBS)
WOLO 25 (ABC)
WRJA 27 (PBS)
WRLK 35 (PBS)
WZRB 47 (Ion)
WKDC-LD 50 (Daystar)
WACH 57 (Fox)
WKTC 63 (MNTV)