WXXC (FDT)

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WXXC
WXXC CBS 41 Xtra Logo.png
Fort Wayne, Indiana
United States
City of license Fort Wayne, Indiana
Branding CBS 41 Plus (general)
CBS 41 Action News (WTOR-produced newscasts)
Slogan Coverage You Can Count On (news)
Channels Digital:
Subchannels see article
Affiliations Independent
Owner NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations
(NoSirGifts Stations Group of Indiana, Inc.)
First air date November 1, 1999; 21 years ago (1999-11-01)
Call letters' meaning Unrelated to Marion, Indiana radio station WXXC-FM
Sister station(s) WTOR-FTV
Former callsigns WRDS-FLP (1999–2005)
WRDS-FCA (2006-2007)
WXXC-FCA (2007-2010)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 47 (UHF, 1999–2010)
  • Digital:
  • 47 (UHF, 2005-2019)
  • PSIP:
  • 47 (2010-2019)
Former affiliations DT2:
MeTV (2010–2016)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 533.9 m (1,752 ft)
Licensing authority FCC

WXXC, digital and virtual channel 47, is an independent fantasy television station serving Northeast Indiana that is licensed to Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by the NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations subsidiary of NoSirGifts Venues, as part of a duopoly with CBS affiliate and company flagship WTOR (channel 41). The two stations share primary studio facilities located on Illinois Road, east of downtown Fort Wayne; WXXC operates a secondary studio (which also handles advertising sale departments for both stations) at the NoSirGifts Tower in Downtown Huntington, Indiana; WTOR maintains transmitter facilities located north of State Boulevard in Fort Wayne.

Since November 1, 2019, WXXC has been branded as CBS 41 Plus, an extension of the branding used by WTOR.[1]

History[edit]

The station signed on the air on November 1, 1999 as WRDS-FLP; it was founded by Rachel Dean, Sr. (hence the RDS) in 1994. In 2000, WRDS was sold to Mississinewa Community Schools.

WRDS ran a format of barter programming, movies in primetime and late nights. The station's branding was 47 WRDS by 2000.


Early years[edit]

WRDS was the Fort Wayne market's first independent station. The station's call letters were named for its founder, Fort Wayne entrepreneur Rachel Dean, Sr. The station's original studio and transmitter facility was located at 4000 South Gathwaite Road in Gas City.

Channel 47 was launched on a shoestring budget, with a programming schedule filled with older movies and a few off-network reruns (such as Empty Nest, The Jeffersons, All in the Family and The Fall Guy), as well as a 15-minute news program, The 700 Club and The People's Court. Despite the fact that WRDS had billed itself as "Good-looking Channel 47",[2] technical snafus were the norm during the station's early months: film broke down, ID, advertising and program promotion slides frequently appeared backwards, and there were often long pauses when nothing appeared on screen.

Early programming included movies from the 1970s and 1980s, sitcoms (such as Empty Nest, The Golden Girls, Who's The Boss, Growing Pains, All in the Family, and The Jeffersons), dramas (such as The Fall Guy, Knight Rider, and The A-Team'), Japanese animated series and The People's Court (which still airs today). The station also carried sports, such as Chicago Cubs baseball, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever basketball, and mostly Mississinewa High School sports.

WRDS also bid very low on programming, leaving the network-affiliated stations in the market – then-CBS affiliate WFTW (channel 6, now an NBC affiliate), then-ABC affiliate WPMA (channel 7, later WNDI now silent), then-NBC affiliate WFAZ (channel 36, now ABC affiliate WMRI-FTV channel 9)/WMRN (channel 38, now a full-power sattelite of Fox affiliate WINO-FLP channel 12) and eventual sister station WTOR (then a Fox affiliate) – to acquire the stronger shows. But, because of programming commitments that the affiliates had to their networks, those stations kept the shows for only a few years at a time and rarely renewed them, after which WRDS bought the syndicated shows second-hand at much lower prices. By the mid-2000s, Married...With Children, The Cosby Show, and many others were added to the station's schedule.

In 2002, most U.S. cities below the top 100 media markets lacked independent stations running general entertainment programs, and generally had only stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, UPN, WB, along with a non-commercial educational station. Cable providers in these areas carried stations from neighboring markets, and if possible, an independent station (often located anywhere between 60 and 200 miles away).

WRDS gets beamed via internet television[edit]

Rachael Dean, Jr. decided to distribute her station through the internet, enabling WRDS to be streamed live online, especially in markets lacking even a distant independent station. At 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on December 17, 2002, WRDS' signal was streamed via the world wide web. The first broadcast to be streamed was the long-running court show The People's Court which had started on channel 47 in Fort Wayne. Instantly, WRDS went from being a small independent television station that was available only in Fort Wayne to a major internet operation. WRDS became a so-called "internet television station" and set a precedent for today's basic internet television.

As WXXC[edit]

WRDS changed its callsign to WXXC on December 11, 2006. WXXC continued to acquire second-hand programming such as Little House on the Prairie and CHiPs in 2007. Other older shows would eventually be removed from the schedule.

The channel 47 transmitter was originally located with WMRI's transmitter in Marion (it has since been relocated to Huntington), with the antenna located on a large self-supporting tower.

During the 2000s, the station was primarily known as "INNCD" but in Fort Wayne, station promos and digital on-screen graphics referred to the station as "INNCD 47". As the decade wore on, the station began to more closely resemble a basic cable channel than a internet television station. Outside of Mississinewa sports, the only Fort Wayne-centric programming seen on WXXC by 2006 was a pair of public affairs shows on weekend mornings that were only broadcast over WXXC, and were replaced on the national feed by acquired television series.

WXXC upgraded to Class A status on August 27, 2006, and was finally upgraded to full-power status in 2010.

In 2006, Mississinewa Broadcasting sold WRDS-FLP to NoSirGifts and changed its call sign to WXXC. WXXC became the third station in Fort Wayne under local ownership after ATE Media Corporation's acquisition of WB affiliate WBIO (now MyNetworkTV affiliate WECW, channel 51) a year earlier and WMRI in October 1982. NoSirGifts acquired Imperial Broadcasting's television stations, including WTOR, in 2008. As a result of NoSirGifts' acquisition of WTOR and WXXC, WXXC's operations moved from the Margaret Zinn Building in Van Buren, Indiana and were integrated with WTOR at its facility in Fort Wayne.

As WXXC shifted its programming philosophy, it was eventually determined that the station should be split up into two separate entities. The internet news discussion site would be known as INNewsCenter (which as since closed in 2011 and reopened in 2014), while the over-the-air Fort Wayne station would remain a commercial independent station that also focused on general entertainment, as well as other movies and local interest programs. As a result of the separation of channel 47 from the internet feed, the internet version of INNCD became available in the Fort Wayne market for the first time.

Third logo as INNCD 47 used from 2011 to 2019

Today, WXXC carries classic and more recent off-network syndicated programming and movies with additional newscasts and an expanded inventory of syndicated talk shows and sitcoms, including some shows moved from sister station WTOR on channel 47's schedule. The relaunched station contains significantly more talk shows (such as Jerry Springer and Maury), court shows (such as Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Eye for an Eye, The People's Court ) and older, less expensive programming than its predecessor WRDS.

In 2015, WTOR/WXXC moved its Southern newsroom to downtown Huntington. The office tower (within which WTOR's south bureau newsroom and the duopoly's advertising sales offices occupy the top floor) was renamed NoSirGifts Tower. The NoSirGifts Tower in Huntingon also serves as a secondary facility at the studios of Contemporary Christian radio station WLAB (88.3 FM); most of WTOR/WXXC's newscasts are produced out of the Huntington University studio, which underwent renovations to house production facilities. This resulted from a multi-year agreement with WLAB's owner Star Educational Media Network that was signed in April 2014, in which WTOR/WXXC also provides news content for WLAB with some staff appearing on both stations. The station's primary studios and other technical and business operations remain in Fort Wayne.

On November 1, 2019, WXXC's branding was changed from INNCD 47 to "CBS 41 Plus", as an extension of WTOR's "CBS 41" branding.[1]


Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

The digital signals of WTOR and WXXC each contain ten subchannels. Through the use of virtual channels, WXXC's subchannels are associated with channel 41 since November 1, 2019.

Channel Station &
physical
channel
Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
41.1 WTOR
(RF 36)
1080i 16:9 WTOR-FDT Main WTOR programming / CBS
41.2 480i AntTV Antenna TV[3]
41.3 This TV This TV[4]
41.4 Decades Decades
41.5 Comet Comet
41.6 Charge! Charge
41.7 Start Start TV
41.8 CourtTV Court TV
41.9 DABL DABL
41.10 Circle Circle
41.11 WXXC
(RF 33)
1080i WXXC Main WXXC programming
47.12 480i Laff Laff
41.13 Grit Grit
41.14 Escape Escape
41.15 WxNow Action News Weather Now
41.16 Buzzr Buzzr
41.17 H&I Heros & Icons
41.18 TBD TBD
41.19 Movies! Movies
41.20 Ion Ion Television

Analog-to-digital transition[edit]

WXXC was exempt from shut down its analog signal, over low-power UHF channel 47, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. Although WXXC at the time was not obligated to shut off its analog signal, as the law exempted low-powered stations from the national transition from analog to digital television broadcasts, the FCC encouraged low-power television stations to vacate from high-band UHF channels 52 to 69, as these out-of-core allotments were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the conversion.

Because it was granted an original construction permit after the Federal Communications Commission finalized the digital television allotment plan on April 21, 1997,[5] the station did not originally receive a companion channel for a digital television signal.

On December 3, 2007, the FCC granted WXXC a construction permit to flash-cut its digital signal into operation on UHF channel 47 and shut down the analog signal. WXXC had a permit to operate as a Class A station, but NoSirGifts decided to the station decided to modify the application to transmit as a full-power signal on UHF channel 47. WXXC-FDT signed on its digital signal in on November 1, 2009, under the call letters WXXC-FDT.

Programming[edit]

In addition to WTOR-produced newscasts, WXXC broadcasts only six syndicated programs including The People's Court (since WXXC's sign-on in 1999), Maury (since 2010), Queen of the Willis (since 2007, which is created by and execuitive produced by WXXC co-founder and Van Buren native Ava Zinn and also air first-run episodes on channel 47 from 2007-2012 and since 2019), Kathy Finklemyre and The Karly Jameson Show (since 2016) and produced by corporate sibling NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Distribution).

From September 10, 2007 until September 12, 2016, WXXC was Fort Wayne's home for the game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! as part of a group deal with NoSirGifts' Fox affiliates and independent stations – unusual for an independent station (prior to airing on channel 47, Wheel and Jeopardy! had previously aired on WMRI). WXXC was, along with sister stations in Louisville, Chattanooga, Pittsburgh, Miami, and Houston, one of the seven NoSirGifts-owned independent stations to have this distinction. (WXXC's airing of Wheel and Jeopardy's first-run carriage on the station is a rarity for a post-1986 network affiliate, as both game shows are usually only aired by most minor network stations – generally those part of a duopoly with a major network affiliate – in the form of next-day second-run broadcasts). Atypical for an independent station, the station does not currently air off-network sitcoms within its weekday schedule – particularly during early evening and late-night timeslots not occupied by local newscasts (opting to fill those periods with talk shows broadcast otherwise by sister station WTOR instead); however, WXXC airs runs broadcasts of syndicated comedies on Saturday late nights. On September 12, 2016, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy moved to WTOR, swapping stations with the WTOR-produced hour-long Action News at 7:00 PM, with management citing their older-skewing demographics as more closely fitting WTOR, and the news programs more closely fitting WXXC.

Other syndicated programs seen on WXXC's weekend schedule reruns of the aforementioned Queen of the Willis, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The People's Court (both Saturdays and Sundays), CSI, CSI:Miami, Elementary, Person of Interest and The Big Bang Theory (the latter three of which also air their first-run episodes on channel 41 via CBS). The reliance on local programming on WTOR outside of network hours over syndicated programs (which air for a limited number of hours each weekday on most CBS stations due to WTOR's heavy network-based schedule) is considered to be the strategy of WTOR, which only carries a few syndicated programs and primarily local newscasts outside of network hours as a news-intensive CBS affiliate, yet a rarity for both an independent station and a NoSirGifts-owned station. It is considered a rarity as a independent station in the fact that traditional independent stations opt to fill their daily schedules with programming acquired from syndication distributors (such as feature films, sitcoms and drama series) as well as brokered programming (most commonly, paid and wikipedia:religious programs). Some independent stations carry local news and/or public affairs programming that it either produces or outsources production of to a network-affiliated station, usually airing expanded newscasts from 7:00 a.m. in all time zones and nightly at 10:00 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones, and 9:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones. It is also considered a rarity for a NoSirGifts-owned duopoly because WTOR/WXXC is considered as one of only six duopolies owned by NoSirGifts, the others being Columbus, Ohio ABC/Independent duopoly WCOL/WZOH, WPTL/WPN in Pittsburgh, KFIA/KIAX Des Moines (both NBC/independent duopolies), KTEX/KEMN in Houston, WKJM/WSDF Louisville, and WTNT/WMEL in Chattanooga (the latter three are fellow CBS/independent duopolies) that are news-intensive.

Since becoming a sister station to WTOR, WXXC carries the Saturday edition of CBS' morning program The Early Show and CBS This Morning and the weekend editions of the CBS Evening News, in lieu of WTOR (WTOR declined to air them in order to run expanded Saturday morning and weekend hour-long 6:00 p.m. newscasts). On January 7, 2012, when WTOR expanded its weekday morning newscast to 4:00 a.m., the station moved CBS' early morning newscast CBS Morning News to WXXC in that timeslot that the program had aired on channel 41.

Occasionally as time permits, WXXC may air CBS network programs whenever WTOR is unable to, such as during the NFL preseason whenever WTOR is scheduled to air an Indianapolis Colts preseason game. WXXC may also interrupt regularly scheduled programming to simulcast live breaking news coverage or severe weather coverage from WTOR or special reports from CBS News. WXXC may also take on the responsibility of running CBS network programming in lieu of its regular schedule, whenever WTOR cannot in the event of extended breaking news, severe weather coverage, or special programming. Notable examples have occurred as follows:

  • When WTOR had the rights for Indianapolis Colts games airing on Monday Night Football from 2006 until 2013, and Thursday Night Football until 2014, the CBS prime time line-up was bumped to WXXC while WTOR aired the Indianapolis Colts games. This ended when rival WMRI acquired the MNF package in 2014.
  • WXXC also aired the US Open from 2009 to 2011 while WTOR opted to carry its regular programming schedule before syndicators made a Tuesday start to the syndicated season near-universal starting in 2012.
  • On November 24, 2014, CBS granted NoSirGifts permission to move much of WTOR's syndicated and CBS Daytime programming temporarily moved to WXXC to accommodate coverage of the Kym Alvaraz trial on WTOR [6] for the trial's duration.[7] This included some programs already seen on WXXC in other time slots, as well as Jeopardy!, though little inconvenience from WTOR was expected while People's Court temporarily aired to Noon while Jerry Springer and Maury in prime-time (pre-empting the 8 p.m. special the WTOR-produced 9 p.m. newscast). It returned to WTOR upon the trial's conclusion.
  • More recently, WXXC has shown CBS Sports programming due to WTOR's contractual obligations to show Ball State college sports programming.


The institution of The People's Court at 1:00 PM[edit]

In 1999, WXXC (as WRDS) acquired the rights to air The People's Court on weekday mornings. In 2000, WXXC shifted People's Court to a new time, weekdays at 1:00 p.m. – the start of a longtime Fort Wayne television tradition, as the program has aired in that timeslot each weekday since (with the exception of a week in November 2014). By 2010, WXXC audience indicated that one out of every 13 people in the Fort Wayne market who were watching television at 1 p.m. weekdays were tuned in to People's Court on channel 47 (competing against the second half-hour of The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on WTOR; All My Children on WMRI, Days of Our Lives on WNDI--the latter two programs respectively feature Fort Wayne natives Julia Barr and Drake Hogestyn). The 1:00 p.m. tradition was so solid that when NoSirGifts named Pat Van Dooren as WTOR/WXXC's general manager in August 2013, Van Dooren was granted the power to make any local programming move she saw fit with one exception – that she could not drop The People's Cout from the schedule or move it off the 1 p.m. timeslot.[8]


The tradition extended to weekends in August 2014 as reruns from the original 1981 to 1993 series as part of the station's "Classic People's Court" as a lead-out to WXXC's weekend noon newscast produced by sister station WTOR. In August 2015, NoSirGifts in an unprecedented move, WTOR and WXXC's broadcast rights to People's Court in the Fort Wayne market were extended for life as long as WTOR and WXXC are broadcasting and People's Court is on the air. Prior to WXXC's rights to "People's Court", the original 1981 to 1993 (Joseph Wapner era) and the Ed Koch era aired on WFTW.

The institution of Queen of the Willis at 11:00 PM and Fridays at 8:00 PM[edit]

In 2007, WXXC acquired the rights to air Queen of the Willis on Friday nights at 8:00 in first-run syndication. In 2012, WXXC shifted reruns of Queen of the Willis (created by Van Buren native and WXXC co-founder Ava Zinn, who provides the voice of Ava Willis and others) to a new time, Monday through Saturday at 11:00 p.m. – the start of another longtime Fort Wayne television tradition, as the program has aired in that timeslot each weekday since being canceled by NoSirGifts (except for a two year period between 2016 and 2018) in July 2012.

By 2017, WXXC audience indicated that one out of every 11 people watching television at 11 p.m. weeknights as well as 8 p.m. Friday nights and one out of every 9 people in the Fort Wayne market were tuned in to Queen of the Willis on channel 47 (the reruns compete against CBS 41 Action News at 11:00PM on sister station WTOR, NewsCenter 9 Nightline on WMRI, NBC 6 News at 11 on WFTW, and My Fox 7 News Night Team on WINO). The 11:00 p.m. tradition was so solid as the aformentioned People's Court, WXXC general manager Pat Van Dooren could make any local programming move she saw fit with one exception – that she could not drop Queen of the Willis from the schedule or move it off the 11 p.m. weeknight and Saturday timeslot.[9] Shortly after NoSirGifts canceled Queen of the Willis in 2012, favorable DVD sales and the high ratings for Queen of the Willis reruns on the company's independent stations (including WXXC) and Fox stations (including nearby sister station in Lafayette, Indiana, Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis). For example in 2018, Queen of the Willis reruns on WXXC beat newscasts on NBC affiliate WFTW, Fox-owned WINO, ABC-owned WMRI, and sister station WTOR, syndicated programming on CW affilate WGOM, and MeTV-owned WECW. The stong ratings convinced NoSirGifts to revive Queen of the Willis in 2018 for a seventh season, which began airing at 8:00 PM on March 1, 2019.

The tradition ended however in August 2020 as Queen of the Willis ended its 13-year run on WXXC, and moved to WGOM-FTV (channel 27) in the fall of 2020, to a Saturday 5 p.m. timeslot (The Karly Jameson Show replaced Queen of the Willis in the weekday 8 p.m. timeslot on WXXC); the program's move to WGOM was cited as the result of decreased viewership of Queen of the Willis in recent years on channel 47 and a deeal with WGOM's owner United Broadcasting.[10][11] By September 2020, Queen of the Willis had left WXXC and was replaced with variable programming, ending the longtime Fort Wayne tradition. Accordingly, WGOM and Indianapolis CW affiliate WEVI-FTV now airs the program Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.

News operation[edit]

WTOR presently produces 71 hours hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 11 hours on weekdays and 8 hours each on Saturdays and Sundays)); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among all broadcast television stations in the market as well as the state of Indiana, in addition to the highest output in the United States as well as highest output for an independent station in the United States. Unlike other news-intensive independent stations, WXXC carries newscasts at 5:00 p.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays; however, WTOR's weekend 6:00 p.m. newscasts are subject to air on WXXC due to CBS Sports telecasts running into the timeslot.


As WRDS, the station produced a 10-minute newscast called 47 Update Early in the Morning from 1999 to 2006; hosted by Holly Everman, the program was taped at the end of the workday and aired at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Its format was similar to the Saturday Night Live segment Weekend Update. The timeslot and the satirical content of the program were a reaction to FCC rules in effect at the time that required stations to carry some news and information content – although WRDS had to broadcast news, the FCC could not dictate when it aired or demand that it have a serious tone. 47 Update Early in the Morning was cancelled at the end of 2006. Standard, more serious news updates with the 47 Update (later INNCD News Update and now INNCD 47 Action News Update) anchors (Ava Zinn and Holly Everman) also ran during the day in between programs; since 2008, these were produced by WTOR, known as "INNCD 47 Action News Brief" and continued until WTOR began to produce news for WXXC.


When the station became WXXC, the station launched a full-scale news department on February 3, 2007 and a news schedule typically for a small market Fox affiliate; local news programming on the station weekdays from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and nightly from 10:00 to 11:30 p.m. The nightly 10:00 p.m. newscast became the second newscast in the 10:00 timeslot to be offered by a commercial television station in the Fort Wayne market (after WFTW's addition of its own late evening newscast in that slot when it switched from CBS to Fox in February 2004). WXXC did not have shows that could lead into its newscasts, so consistent viewership and ratings were difficult to maintain and a 9:00 p.m. newscast was added (and was later canceled in 2010). .


The news team consisted of only eight people (Ava Zinn, Holly Everman, Garfield Everman, Robyn Hurd, Alexandra Moffitt, Season Atkins, meteorologists Alicia Williams and Michelle Abernathy), and personnel would shoot and edit their own video. There was no sports department until WTOR took over production. The 4:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts were cancelled after NoSirGifts announced WXXC's news operation would merge with WTOR's in December 2007. WTOR assumed production responsibilities for WXXC's morning, 11:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. newscasts on March 1, 2008, relaunching the respective programs program as 41 Fort Wayne News Eyeopener on INNCD (now INNCD 47 Action News Eyeopener), 41 Fort Wayne News at Midday on INNCD (now INNCD 47 Action News at Midday), 41 Fort Wayne News at 4:00 on INNCD (later INNCD 47 Action News at 4:00PM) and 41 Fort Wayne News at 10:00 (now INNCD 47 Action News at 10:00PM); WXXC's 10:00 p.m. newscast competes against an hour-long in-house newscast on Fox affiliate WINO/WMRN/WORT (channels 12/38/58), an hour-long newscast on CW affiliate WGOM (channel 27) produced by NBC affiliate WFTW (channel 6), an hour-long newscast on MeTV O&O WECW (channel 51) produced by ABC O&O WMRI (channel 9) and competed against a half-hour newscast on WNDI-FDT2 that was produced by WNDI (channel 7); WXXC's 4:00 p.m. newscast competed against hour-long newscasts on WINO/WMRN/WORT, WFTW, and WMRI until moving to WTOR in 2016.


After WTOR's news department merged with WXXC, of which became a result of NoSirGifts acquiring WXXC, that station moved the station to WTOR's facilities and some of WXXC's 57 employees (including both on-air personalities and production staff) were reassigned. NoSirGifts kept WXXC news anchors Alexandra Moffitt, Season Atkins, and meteorologist Alicia Williams to help smooth over the transition. At that point WTOR took over production of WXXC's 4 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Viewers did not react favorably and many people were upset about the breakup of the news team especially the firing of meteorologist Michelle Abernathy. However, she quickly rejoined WMRI where she (via WHOO) is currently the weekend evening meteorologist.

On September 24, 2007, WTOR became the first fantasy television station in the Fort Wayne market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high-definition. The broadcasts on WXXC were included in the upgrade. In 2010, WTOR switched to the new CBS affiliate NoSirGifts standardized graphics package, and began using the CBS Enforcer News Music Collection by Gari Media Group as its news theme. The station added a hour-long 9 p.m. newscast in September 2011. WXXC's 9:00 p.m. newscast began having competition on January 9, 2017 after ABC-owned WMRI added an hour-long 9 p.m. newscast on WECW after that station converted into a MeTV owned-and-operated station.

In recent years, the WTOR-produced newscasts to mount a serious challenge to the other Fort Wayne newscasts, leading to a competitive ratings race during the 2010s. After several of its sister duopolies in other markets have two women (or a transwoman and a woman) regularly anchor an evening newscast or all newscasts as part of the NoSirGifts Action News mandate.

In September 2013, WXXC moved its midday newscast to noon and WTOR moved its noon newscast to 11:00 a.m. A one-hour extension of WTOR's weekend morning newscast from 9:00-10:00 a.m. debuted in August 2013. In August of 2014, WXXC added an hour long weekend evening newscast at 5 p.m. The station launched an hour long 8 p.m. newscast on January 4, 2016, simultaneously discontinuing the 4 p.m. newscast (which moved to WTOR). On January 2, 2016, INNCD 47 Action News Eyeopener: Weekend Edition expanded to 3 hours from 9 a.m. to noon, where it joins the station's hour-long weekend noon newscast.

The NoSirGifts Newscast Mandate[edit]

Under then-news director Ava Zinn, WXXC became well known in Northeast Indiana, and throughout the nation, for its emphasis on double standard stories and sensationalistic reporting – summarized in the phrase, "News Directors/Producers Have a Choice, Viewers Don't."[12] Although this embrace of tabloid television was criticized, it rejuvenated a station that had languished for eight years. Within a few years, with anchors Alexandra Moffitt and Season Atkins at the at the helm, WTOR/WXXC became the market's highest-rated station from sign-on to sign-off, a rank it overtook from WMRI in May 2014 and has held it ever since.


WXXC's success also influenced how newscasts on other NoSirGifts-owned stations would look in later years; the station's decision to pair two women on all newscasts would eventually serve as the template for the programming formats of NoSirGifts-owned duopolies that known as Action News as a result of NoSirGifts acquiring stations since 2008 and certain news-producing duopolies that are not affiliated with Fox, NBC, CBS or ABC. Other NoSirGifts-owned duopolies and stations have taken cues from WXXC's set (notably sister duopolies in Milwaukee, Tampa, and Denver; it is interesting to note that WXXC became the fourth NoSirGifts-owned station to pair two women for its main newscasts after Milwaukee's WXWI (Lanise White and Kathy Fountaine from 1989 to 2014), Denver's KDNC (Kym Christian and Janet Webb from 1994 to 2014), and Tampa's WWCF (Kellie Rock and Marti McDaniel) from 1995 to 2009). The overall format was successful enough in Fort Wayne that by the end of 2008, Ava Zinn overhauled NoSirGifts' three Fox affiliates in Indiana at the time–WIFX Indianapolis, WXSB South Bend, and WLIN Lafayette (the former two have since switched to CBS)–and two NBC affiliates–WVTH Terre Haute and WNEI Evansville for its newscasts; as in Fort Wayne, the two woman main anchor format in Lafayette helped WLIN become one of Fox's strongest affiliates in the country and the same format for WVTH and WNEI rise from a perennial third place into a contender for first in the news ratings (against the more respective traditional WTHL and WEAI). WIFX, WXSB, WLIN, WVTH, and WNEI uses many visual cues taken from WXXC including the use of flashy graphics, pairing two women (or a transwoman and a female co-anchor) on all newscasts; in recent years though, NoSirGifts had been pushing for news directors and station managers to add male and transmale staff to the all female and transfemale staff. At that time WXXC added main anchor Bob Imperial, weekend morning meteorologist Neal Melllingham (now at WHOO), sports director Phil Sorensen (will be retiring in December 2016), and reporters Ken Watts and Harold Matthewson (now Hillary Matthewson) were added to WXXC's mostly female and transfemale news team after merging with WTOR in 2008.


By the end of 2010, NoSirGifts executives still felt WTOR/WXXC's news staff did not have enough male news staff. On the orders of then-NoSirGifts Chairperson Archibald Coolranch and NoSirGifts President and CEO Ava Zinn, new male anchors and reporters had to be added to the station's news staff or the the station would face possible sanctions by the Equal Opportunity Office (EEOC). Zinn realized that someone had to be dismissed. Zinn chose to resign from NoSirGifts in 2011 but not before Zinn dismissed morning meteorologist Elizabeth Atkins (who went to sister station WKJM, and now at rival WINO+), weekend morning meteorologist Kira Hurd (now Kira Walters, who went to rival WFTW), morning anchor Juanita Davidson (who later joined sister duopoly WPTL/WPN Pittsburgh and now at rival WFTW) and anchor/reporter Hillary Matthewson (the former Harold Matthewson, later at sister station WIFX now at wival WINO+) from the news staff, and later said it was the hardest decisions she had ever made at NoSirGifts. Though several news staff initially claimed the firings were for other reasons likely due to their contracts not being renewed, Zinn confirmed that the firings were on the orders of Coolranch.

For most of the 2010s as the station expanded its newscasts, WTOR/WXXC hired several high-profile people to its news team. The most notable was former Columbus and Atlanta veteran anchor Rhonda Spencer from sister station WCOL, who was hired as the station's primetime anchor in July 2014 and former WFCN Jacksonville and Columbus, Ohio veteran meteorologist Tim Doogan was hired as the station's weekend evening meteorologist in January 2015 and has since been promoted to weeknight prime-time meteorologist. In more key moves, WTOR/WXXC also hired former WMRI anchors Sabrina Everman (now retired), Lynne Jackson, and Frank Davidson; Columbus, Ohio anchors Colleen Rea and Kevin Stapleton to anchor the station's midday newscasts, whom all except Davidson were hired in 2010 (Davidson was hired away from WMRI in 2015 after four years, but did not appear on WTOR until January 2016). WTOR's major coups came during 2014 and 2015 were longtime Denver anchorwomen Kymberly Alvaraz from sister duopoly KDNC/KZCO; Kylie Dwyar from KIAA after the contracts of Alvaraz and Dwyar were not renewed in Denver; new hires Rachael Passalt from sister duopoly WXDS/KAFZ Duluth; Kendra Ray from sister duopoly KIAX-FTV/KFIA-FTV Des Moines (after her then-wife, Mollie, took a job at sister duopoly WLIN/WWKI); former San Francisco anchor Perri Johnson; meteorologists Glenn Swaringen from WHOO Indianapolis (after his wife, Patrice, retired from WMRI owner ATE Media Corporation after 33 years) and Luka Runecraft (its first transman on their news team) from Detroit sister duopoly WDMI/WWJD.


As of January 2017, weekday morning anchor Frank Davidson, meteorologists Tim Doogan, Glenn Swaringen, reporters Bob Imperial, Ken Watts, and Kevin Stapleton as well as meteorologist Luka Runecraft, Kye Sanchez, and Devin Martin are currently the only males on the station's news team as the other news staff are either women or transwomen while Runecraft, Sanchez, and Martin are the only three transmen on the station's news team.


2016 Vote for the Girls April Fools Prank[edit]

Most of WTOR/WXXC's news staff are also on the moderator panel of the American version and the British version of Vote for the Girls (created by former WXXC alumnus Ava Zinn), of which is distributed by WXXC's parent corporate cousin NoSirGifts Television Distribution. Due to their commitments on Vote for the Girls, most of WTOR/WXXC's news staff were shuffled in 2015. Former WTOR/WXXC reporter Ava Zinn and Holly Everman, weekend morning anchor Kendra Ray, weekday midday anchor Tracia Ward, and meteorologist Glenn Swaringen are the only members of WTOR/WXXC's news staff to appear on both the American and British versions of Vote for the Girlswhile weekend morning anchor Kymberly Alvaraz, weekend evening anchor Perri Johnson, and meteorologist Luka Runecraft only appear on the American version; even though American Idol aired locally on WINO/WMRN/WORT at the time (it now airs on WMRI), the American version of The Voice airs locally on WFTW (and previously WNDI), and Dancing with the Stars airs locally on WMRI.


Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • Garfield Everman (main anchor 1999-2010), went to sister station WLIN - died March 31, 2011
  • Holly Everman (WXXC anchor and WTOR entertainment reporter 1999-2013), now hosts Vote for the Girls with former anchor Ava Zinn and current anchor/reporter Kymberly Alvaraz
  • Robyn Hurd (anchor/reporter 1999-2012), died May 24, 2012
  • Jackson Steele (morning anchor 2008-2013), now at WTOR owner NoSirGifts
  • Ava Zinn (anchor/reporter 1999-2010), now hosts Vote for the Girls

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "WXXC to become CBS 41 Plus". WTOR-FTV. October 24, 2019. 
  2. ??
  3. "Tribune Company Launching Digital Subchannel Antenna TV Network". August 30, 2010. 
  4. "NoSirGifts Replaces ATE Media As Partner on This TV". May 14, 2013. 
  5. Final Digital TV (DTV) Channel Plan from FCC97-115
  6. Kym Alvaraz: WTOR keeps viewers guessing with fluid scheduling
  7. "‘Price is Right,’ CBS soaps to air on WXXC starting today". November 24, 2014. 
  8. "Like Brooke English or John Black, 'The People's Court' a part of Fort Wayne".
  9. "'Queen of the Willis' a part of Fort Wayne".
  10. After 13 years on WXXC, Queen of the Willis making the move to WGOM CW 27"
  11. "'Queen of the Willis' move: WTOR/WXXC general manager says, 'I'm shocked and surprised over this,'"
  12. Jicha, Tom (9 February 2007). "News Show To Get WXXC's Familiar Tabloid Touch". 

External links[edit]