WTOR-FTV

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WTOR
CBS 41 WTOR Logo.png
WTOR FDT2 Logo.png
Fort Wayne, Indiana
United States
City of license Fort Wayne, Indiana
Branding CBS 41 (general)
CBS 41 Action News (newscasts)
WTOR 41.2 (WTOR-FDT2 subchannel)
Slogan Fort Wayne's Very Own (general)
Fort Wayne's #1 News Source (news)
Only CBS 41 (secondary)
Channels Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 41 (PSIP)
Subchannels see article
Affiliations CBS
Owner NoSirGifts Venues
(NoSirGifts Stations Group of Indiana, Inc.)
First air date June 1, 1990; 32 years ago (1990-06-01)
Call letters' meaning Television FORt Wayne
Sister station(s) WXXC (FDT)
Former callsigns WPMU-FTV (1990–1996)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
41 (UHF, 1990–2009)
Digital:
42 (1999-2019)
Former affiliations Fox (1990–2004)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 533.9 M
Licensing authority FCC

WTOR-FTV, virtual channel 41 (UHF digital channel 42), is a CBS affiliated television station serving Northeast Indiana that is licensed to Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. WTOR is the flagship station of the locally based NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations subsidiary of NoSirGifts Venues, which is as part of a duopoly with independent station WXXC (channel 47). The two stations share primary studio facilities located on Illinois Road, east of downtown Fort Wayne; WTOR 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.

History[edit]

As a Fox affiliate[edit]

The station first signed on the air on September 11, 1990 as WPMU-FTV; it was the first Fox station to sign on in the market. The station was founded by the Imperial family, owners of Imperial Broadcasting, which also built and signed on WLIN in Lafayette in 1979.

Prior to the station's sign-on, Fort Wayne residents could only receive Fox network programing via Foxnet (the network's now-defunct national cable feed) or via Fox stations piped in from Indianapolis' WIFX (now a CBS affiliate), Lafayette's WLIN, Toledo's WOIN (now an ABC affiliate) or South Bend's charter affiliate WXSB (now a CBS affiliate) later WSBL (now ABC O&O WTXI-FTV). Although Fort Wayne had been large enough since the late 1980s to support four network affiliates, the market had a fairly long wait to gain full-time network service.

Initially WPMU-FTV ran a format of cartoons, business news, religious shows, sitcoms, movies in primetime and late nights and rejected network programs from then-CBS affiliate WFTW (channel 6, now an NBC affiliate) and then-ABC outlet WMPA-FTV (later WNDI channel 7, now silent), and classic movies. The station's branding was Fox 41 by the early 1990s, yet sister station WLIN branded as 12WLIN Fox. WPMU was still programmed essentially as an independent as Fox would not air a full week's worth of programming until 1993.

After long time sister station WXWI in Milwaukee switched from ABC to Fox in 1994, WLIN and WPMU phased out cartoons, business news, and religious shows in favor of stronger off-network sitcoms and cheaper first-run syndicated talk and reality shows. In 1996, the station changed its call sign to the current WTOR-FTV. By that time, the station began a locally-produced primetime newscast, as well as pre-empting all but one hour of the network's Saturday morning cartoons.

Fox announced that it would move its Fort Wayne affiliation to WFTW by the end of January 2004. This was a result of ATE Media Corporation, the local owner of long time NBC affiliate WFAZ-FTV (channel 36, now WMRI channel 9), striking a group deal with ABC as a condition of their sister stations that had their CBS affiliations revoked due to the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime controversy. CBS decided not to renew ATE Media Stations in Cincinnati, Indianpolis, Rockford, Flint, Terre Haute, and Lexington. CBS then approached WTOR for an affiliation since it was the only non-Big Three station in Fort Wayne that had a functioning news department. Imperial accepted the offer immediately and agreed to an unprecedented 35 year affiliation agreement that ends in December 2039.


Transition to CBS[edit]

The entire CBS network schedule moved from WFTW to WTOR on February 2, 2004. By this time, however, cable television had gained significant penetration in the Fort Wayne area. Indeed, to this day, cable and satellite are all but essential for acceptable television in much of the region. Combined with a low universal cable channel number (channel 11 on both Comcast and Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks), WTOR's former weakness of being a UHF station has almost been completely nullified.

WTOR began taking on the format of a major network affiliate, expanding its local news programming as it had as a Fox affiliate and acquiring more first-run syndicated programs. WTOR also used the same red, black, and white boxed "41" logo (later modified for its Antenna TV subchannel) and graphics package as had as a Fox affiliate during this time, and adopted the slogan "The Eye of Northeast Indiana" in reference to its CBS affiliation and the network's signature Eyemark logo; the station also sold its inventory of syndicated sitcoms and cartoons to eventual sister station WXXC.


The switch to CBS provided a major windfall for WTOR in the fall of 2004, as it became Fort Wayne's "unofficial home" for the Indianapolis Colts. Owing to the market's status as a secondary market for the Indianapolis Colts, Colts games on WTOR are consistently among the highest-rated programs in the market during the Colts season. In 2006, for instance, Colts games attracted a 21.6 rating and a 36 share, the highest viewership for the Colts broadcasts in the state of Indiana, coincidentally the third NFL season since CBS moved to channel 41, the Colts won the 2007 Super Bowl championship.


Imperial had already begun winding down its television interests at the time of the network switch, and exited television altogether when it sold the remaining Imperial Broadcasting stations to locally based NoSirGifts in 2008, creating a duopoly with independent station WXXC. Two years earlier, Mississinewa Broadcasting sold WRDS-FLP to NoSirGifts and that station changed its call sign to WXXC. As a result of NoSirGifts' acquisition of WTOR and WXXC, this resulted in becoming the second major Fort Wayne fantasy television station under locally based ownership after ATE Media acquired rival WMRI in October 1982. As part of the deal, WXXC's operations moved from the Margaret Zinn Building in Van Buren, Indiana and were integrated with WTOR at its facility in Fort Wayne.

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.

When WMRI was sold to ABC Fantasy Television Stations in 2016 after 62 years of locally based ownership, WTOR through its ownership by NoSirGifts became the only locally-owned-and-operated station in Fort Wayne.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

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

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[1]
41.3 This TV This TV[2]
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

WTOR-FDT2[edit]

On July 23, 2009, after a series of tests of a new digital subchannel, WTOR began carrying programming from the Retro Television Network on digital channel 41.2, featuring a customized schedule heavy on public domain programs as much of RTV's program rights were held locally by sister station WXXC (channel 47) at the time. Comcast began carrying the 41.2 subchannel on channel 967 on August 11, followed by its addition to Bright House Networks on digital channel 991 on October 13, 2009.


On December 31, 2010, the subchannel became an affiliate of Antenna TV, as part of a groupwide affiliation agreement with NoSirGifts; the Tribune Broadcasting-owned Antenna TV network also replaced RTV on some NoSirGifts-owned stations in other markets, and was rebranded as (FTV) 41.2 (using a modified version of the "Fox 41" logomark that WTOR used as a Fox affiliate from 1998 to 2004).[3][4] Occasionally as time permits, 41.2 may air the station's 11:00 p.m. newscast whenever it is unable to run it on the station's main channel in the event of sports overruns or extended movie broadcasts aired by CBS or WXXC's 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00 p.m. newscasts whenever WXXC is unable to run it on that station's main channel in the event of sports overruns as well as to simulcast Action News' severe weather coverage, including closings and weather warning graphics.

In the fall of 2015, 41.2's presentation was converted to 16:9 to allow local advertising and news promotions to be presented in their native format, along with carrying Face the Nation on Sunday mornings as mentioned below. Programming and some local advertising, along with program promos are still in the 4:3 format.

WTOR-FDT3[edit]

On May 13, 2013, NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations announced that it would replace then-ATE Media (which like NoSirGifts at the time, is headquartered in Fort Wayne and decided to leave the joint venture with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to concentrate on the similarly formatted movie channel Movies! and its existing classic television network MeTV) as a partner in This TV on November 1 of that year. As a result, the network's Fort Wayne affiliation moved to WTOR-FTV on that date on a new 41.3 digital subchannel.[2][5][6][7]

WTOR-FDT4[edit]

On October 21, 2014, CBS and Weigel Broadcasting announced the launch of a new digital subchannel service called Decades, scheduled to launch on all CBS-owned stations in 2015. The channel will be co-owned by CBS and NoSirGifts stations, including on WTOR on channel 41.4 , with Weigel being responsible for distribution to non-CBS-owned stations. It will air programs from the extensive library of CBS Television Distribution, including archival footage from CBS News.

Analog-to-digital transition[edit]

WTOR shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 41, 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. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 42. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 41.

Programming[edit]

In addition to local news programming, WTOR's weekday schedule includes only three syndicated programs, The Big Bang Theory (which also air their first-run episodes on channel 41 via CBS) Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy!–the latter two previously aired on WXXC from 2007 until moving to WTOR; other syndicated programs seen on WTOR's weekend schedule include the NoSirGifts distributed Queen of the Willis, Deanna & Brandi, and reruns of CSI, CSI:Miami, Elementary, Person of Interest. The station's reliance on local programming outside of network hours over syndicated programs (which air for a limited number of hours each weekday on most CBS stations due to its 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-intesive CBS affiliate.

WTOR broadcasts the entire CBS schedule, with the exception of CBS Morning News, the Saturday editions of CBS This Morning, the weekend editions of the CBS Evening News, which instead air on WXXC, in addition to program pre-emptions for breaking news or severe weather coverage.

As time permits, WXXC may also take on the responsibility of airing other CBS programs that channel 41 is unable to air due to extended breaking news or 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.

Station Oddities[edit]

Channel 41 station clears the CBS weekday schedule with some exceptions: WTOR currently airs The Late Show and The Late Late Show on a 25-minute delay to facilitate the station's hour-long 11 p.m. newscast.

When WTOR became a CBS affiliate in 2004, the station aired The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful respectively at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., differing from most other CBS-affiliated stations in the Eastern time zone, that commonly air the soap operas at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.; this earlier time slots was due to the fact WFTW had aired The Young and The Restless one day behind on a tape delay since its days as a CBS affiliate at 9 a.m. weekdays since the early 1990s, and this practice continued when WTOR participated in an experiment upon affiliating with the network in which WTOR moved CBS daytime programming one hour earlier (mirroring the scheduling of the network's daytime lineup in the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones), the half-hour midday newscast remained at 12:00 Noon (the experiment, which lasted until the cancellation of The Guiding Light in the fall of 2009, was succeeded by similar efforts by eventual CBS affiliated sister stations WTNT in Chattanooga; Florida sister stations WFCN Jacksonville, WCBP West Palm Beach, WFSF Miami, WLOF Orlando, WWCF Tampa; and Indiana sister stations WIFX, WXSB and WWKI later in the decade).

Until September 2, 2016, WTOR also aired the daytime line-up out of pattern like many NoSirGifts-owned CBS affiliates, the station respectively airs Let's Make a Deal at 9:00 a.m. and The Price is Right at 10:00 a.m. weekdays, instead of the respective 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. timeslots where the former program is carried nationally (this scheduling is most common with the network's O&Os as well as select affiliates in the Eastern and Pacific Time Zones, where Let's Make a Deal would normally air in the 3:00 p.m. timeslot); this earlier timeslot was due to the fact that WTOR broadcasted an hour-long midday newscast at 11 a.m. on weekdays.

On September 5, 2016, WTOR began airing the CBS Daytime lineup in pattern for the first time since becoming a CBS affiliate. The station moved its midday newscast from 11:00 a.m. on WTOR to WXXC while WTOR began to simulcast the 12:00 to 12:30 portion to make room for Karly Jameson's revival of her talk show in the weekday 9:00 a.m. timeslot (while sister station WXXC airs a rebroadcast at midnight), Let's Make a Deal at 10:00 a.m. and The Price is Right at 11:00 a.m. 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. WTOR/WXXC general manager Pat Van Dooren cited the changes were part of an increased emphasis on WTOR's news department; under this plan, the station's weekday lineup outside of CBS programming and the aforementioned three syndicated programs will consist entirely of local newscasts .[8]

As previously mentioned, WTOR currently airs The Late Show and The Late Late Show on a 25-minute delay to facilitate the station's hour-long 11 p.m. newscast.

Indianapolis Colts partnership[edit]

As previously mentioned WTOR has served as Fort Wayne's 'official station' of the Indianapolis Colts since the mid-1990s as a Fox affiliate, giving it rights to air the team's non-nationally televised preseason games, which as a result of a March 2008 broadcast agreement, are shared with sister stations WIFX in Indianapolis, WLIN Lafayette, WXSB in South Bend, and WVTH in Terre Haute, in addition to the existing television broadcasters across Indiana. WTOR holds the broadcast rights to the weekly coaches show (which aired Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. during the NFL season until moving to WXXC in 2016) and other shows involving the team and post-season team reviews. Regular season games televised over-the-air locally are split between WTOR (through CBS's rights to the team's American Football Conference division), and WINO/WMRN/WORT (channels 7/38/58; for select games televised by Fox in which the Colts play against an NFC opponent), with WFTW carrying non-preseason games via NBC's Sunday Night Football on occasions when a game involving the Colts is scheduled.

News operation[edit]

WTOR presently broadcasts 59½ hours hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 9½ hours on weekdays and 8 hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, the station produces 56½ hours hours of locally produced newscasts each week for WXXC (with 8½ hours on weekdays and 6 hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming on WTOR and WXXC, it is the highest local newscast output among all broadcast television stations in the state of Indiana as well as the highest in the United States and the world with 118 hours. WTOR is one of the few Big Three stations in the United States whose weekly news programming total exceeds 40+ hours (which is more common with news-producing affiliates of the post-1986 broadcast networks, such as Fox affiliate WINO locally). WTOR runs an hour-long newscast in the 11 a.m. timeslot on weekdays, a rarity for a CBS-affiliate and common among NoSirGifts-owned stations. It is considered a rarity as a CBS affiliate in the fact that CBS' recommended time slot for its daytime shows places the aforementioned The Young and the Restless and 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time and The Bold and the Beautiful at 12:30 p.m. in all other time zones, thereby making the midday newscast last only a half-hour; some CBS-affiliates do produce an hour-long midday newscast, but not without tape-delaying either one of CBS' soap operas. WTOR also runs a three hour morning newscast in the 4 a.m. slot on the weekdays, a rarity for both a CBS-affiliate and common with NoSirGifts-owned stations. It is considered a rarity as a CBS affiliate in the fact that CBS' recommended time slot for its early morning shows places CBS Morning News and 4:00 a.m. in all time slots. It is considered a rarity for a NoSirGifts-owned Big three station because WTOR is considered as one of only nine Big three stations in the Eastern Time Zone owned by NoSirGifts, the others being WIFX Indianapolis, WDMI Detroit, WCOL Columbus, WLOF Orlando, WFSF Miami, WWCF Tampa, WPTL Pittsburgh and WXSB South Bend, that carries a three-hour morning newscast and 15 overall (WXWI Milwaukee, KLPA Phoenix, WCIL Chicago, KTEX Houston, WFXM Memphis, KJTX Dallas, and KSEA Seattle).

On June 3, 1996, WTOR launched half-hour primetime newscasts at 9:00 p.m./10:00 p.m. each night, being the first newscast in the 9:00/10:00 timeslot to be offered by a commercial television station in the Fort Wayne (pre-dating WFTW's addition of its own late evening newscast in that slot when it switched from CBS to Fox in February 2004, and the formation of eventual sister station WXXC's news department with the debut of its own 10:00 p.m. newscast in 2007). The station added a four-hour morning newscast in the spring of 2001. At the time of WFTW's switch to Fox, WTOR was the only non-Big Three station in Fort Wayne with a functioning news department—a major reason CBS approached Imperial for an affiliation.


For most of its tenure as a Fox affiliate, WTOR was one of that network's weaker stations in terms of local viewership, usually ranking fourth in the Nielsen ratings. Occasionally however, it overtook WNDI for third, behind long-dominant WMRI and runner-up WFTW. However, since the affiliation switch to CBS and rise of cable and satellite penetration in the Fort Wayne area, WTOR has been far more successful in the ratings. Even with the affiliate "downgrade" from VHF to UHF, CBS' network ratings in the Fort Wayne market during the late 2000s to mid 2010s remained strong at a time when its viewership in many other markets stagnated or declined. For most of the time since joining CBS, WTOR has been one of the network's stronger stations in terms of overall and local news viewership. In the May 2010 sweeps period, the station's 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. timeslots placed first in total viewers for the first time in the station's history, knocking WMRI to second place effectively ending that station's 56-year streak as the leading station in Fort Wayne, largely due to WXXC's higher-rated syndicated and local programming owned by WTOR and lead-ins to WTOR's newscasts. Though Fort Wayne has been one of the few Nielsen markets where all four network stations have about equal ratings and strong news operations. That May, WTOR overall had placed first in both total viewership and adults 25-54 by small margins for the first time in its history; this is in comparison to the May sweeps period a year before, in which Channel 41's 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts all saw ratings increases in both demographics placing second.

WTOR launched a full-scale news department and began airing regular long-form newscasts when WTOR became a CBS affiliate on February 2, 2004, now branded as 41 Fort Wayne News. The station gradually added a half-hour noon newscast, and a 90-minute block of news from 5–6:30 p.m. As of December 31, 2016, news anchor Bob Imperial and meteorologist Jillian Gates are the only members of WTOR's current on-air news staff have been with the station since the news department's launch in 1996. Sports director Phil Sorensen announced his retirement in January 2016 with his last broadcast to air in December.

Newscasts were added to the schedule during WTOR's first decade with CBS. In July 2004, the station added noon and 5:00 p.m. newscasts on weekdays. In January 2005, the station added a 7:00 p.m. newscast. After WTOR's news department merged with 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.


Since CBS began requiring its affiliates to air The Early Show in 2009 and its successor CBS This Morning in 2012, WTOR has shifted its programming focus very heavily towards local news, as replacement syndicated programming for Martha, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Family Feud after the programs all moved to other stations in the market, and Montel's August 2008 departure from syndication failed to spark viewer interest outside of local/network hours.

In August 2009, the station expanded its 7 p.m. newscast to one hour (though it reverted to a half-hour on Tuesday nights during the NFL season due to Chuck Pagano's coaches show), after Extra moved to WNDI and has since moved to WFTW; this was followed on September 8 by the debut of an hour-long newscast at 3 p.m., whose segments include "Ask the Experts", an interactive 'sound off' segment featuring viewer calls and social media contributions, and a 'hot topics' section which was formerly used on Headbutt.

Beginning in the late 2000s and most of the 2010s, WTOR 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. In more key moves, WTOR also hired former WMRI anchors Sabrina Everman, 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 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 station KDNC/KZCO; Kylie Dwyar from KIAA after their contracts in Denver were not renewed; new hires Rachael Passalt from sister duopoly WXDS/KAFZ Duluth; Kendra Ray from sister duopoly KIAX-FTV/KFIA-FTV Des Moines; Perri Johnson; Glenn Swaringen from WHOO Indianapolis and Luka Runecraft (its first transman on their news team) from Detroit sister duopoly WDMI/WWJD.

With anchors Alexandra Moffitt and Season Atkins, chief meteorologist Jillian Gates and sports director Phil Sorensen as its main news team at 5 and 11, along with a new set, graphics and theme music, WTOR began to mount a serious challenge to the other Fort Wayne newscasts, leading to a competitive ratings race during the 2010s. This resulted in WTOR with several of its sister stations 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. As of July 2016, Frank Davidson, Bob Imperial, Kevin Stapleton, Tim Doogan, Glenn Swaringen, and Ken Watts are the only six males on the station's news team as the other news staff are either women or transwomen while Luka Runecraft, Kye Sanchez and Devin Martin are the only transmen on the station's news team. In addition, Imperial and Gates have been with WTOR since the station began producing newscasts.


On January 20, 2014, WTOR expanded its 11 p.m. newscast to one hour (becoming the second station in the market after WMRI in 2011 and the second NoSirGifts-owned station with an hour-long late local newscast). This bumped CBS' late night schedule from the recommended 11:35 p.m. slot to 12:00 a.m., a rarity for a CBS-affiliate and NoSirGifts-owned stations. It is considered a rarity as a CBS affiliate in the fact that CBS' recommended time slot for its late night shows places The Late Show at the 11:35 p.m. Eastern/Pacific and 10:35 p.m. in the Central/Mountain time zones, thereby making the late newscast last only a half-hour; a many CBS-affiliates do produce an hour-long primetime newscast typically for a post-1986 broadcast network affiliated or independent station. It is also considered a rarity for a NoSirGifts-owned Big three station to produce an hour-long late newscast because WTOR is one of only seven Big three stations owned by NoSirGifts to produce an hour-long late newscast, the others being CBS affiliates WIFX Indianapolis, WMHZ Cleveland, ABC affiliates WXWI Milwaukee and WCOL Columbus, and NBC affiliate WHNC Charlotte (ironically, both WXWI and WCOL were affiliated with the Fox Broadcasting Company from 1994 until rejoining ABC in 2012 while WIFX was affiliated with Fox from 1986 until 2009.)

On January 4, 2016, WTOR added an hour long 8 p.m. newscast for WXXC (becoming the first station in Indiana and the first NoSirGifts-owned station to produce a three hour newscast in prime time). The 4:00 p.m. newscast the station produced for WXXC moved to channel 41 on that date.

On July 13, 2016, Phil Sorensen announced he will be retiring from WTOR after 20 years at the station and 40 years of broadcasting. Concurrently, the station announced former WMRI sports anchor Destiny Morris will succeed Phil Sorensen as sports director, making WTOR the only American station to have two female main anchors (Tracia Matthewson and Season Atkins), a female chief meteorologist (Jillian Gates), and female sports director (Destiny Morris). Sorensen's final sports report aired on December 16, 2016.

On August 1, 2016, WTOR began using on-air graphics that were also first used on sister station KZCO, an NBC affiliate in Denver, Colorado, along with updated news music.

On September 5, 2016, WTOR moved its midday, afternoon and primetime newscasts to WXXC while WTOR will simulcast the first half-hour of the noon and 6 p.m. newscasts. The 7 p.m. newscast moved to WXXC on September 12, 2016, 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. WTOR/WXXC general manager Pat Van Dooren cited the changes were part of an increased emphasis on WTOR's news department; under this plan, the station's weekday lineup outside of CBS programming and the aforementioned three syndicated programs will consist entirely of local newscasts [8]. In July 2017, longtime main anchrowman Alexandra Moffitt began anchoring WTOR's morning newscast due to her co-hosting role on Vote for the Girls and switched positions with Tracia Matthewson.


Weather coverage[edit]

Under Imperial ownership, WTOR has always had a long-standing policy to preempt regular programming for wall-to-wall, uninterrupted severe weather coverage in the event that the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for any county within its viewing area. This changed in 2012 under NoSirGifts ownership, WTOR became the first station in the United States to implement a split screen format without interrupting regular programming for wall-to-wall, uninterrupted severe weather coverage known as "NoSirGifts Weather Wall."[9]. It is a technology first used by WXXC from 2006 until 2008.

While preemptions of regular programming for wall-to-wall, uninterrupted severe weather coverage generally are in the public interest, WTOR decided to in order to fulfill NoSirGifts' CBS affiliation agreement (included a deal to stop preempting any CBS shows, except for extended breaking news coverage or local news events beginning in 2004) and ensuring channel 41 does run the CBS lineup without any interruptions or preemptions (aside from the aforementioned CBS Morning News, CBS Weekend News, and the Saturday edition of CBS This Morning and particularly any live broadcasts of sports and award shows aired by the network). This effort, along with servere weather coverage, was instrumental in channel 41 signing an unprecedented lifetime affiliation contract with CBS and channel 41 in September 2012, which NoSirGifts has honored. The technology had been a primary factor in WTOR's rise from a perennial fourth (as a Fox affiliate) in the ratings to its usual number one position as a strong CBS affiliate.

WTOR and WXXC first used the "Weather Screen" on June 29, 2012, as WTOR's airing of CBS Daytime was shown at the bottom 1/3 and weather coverage at the top 2/3 of the screen (although rival Fox-owned WINO/WMRN/WORT and ABC-owned WMRI do have a long-standing policy to preempt regular programming and run wall-to-wall, uninterrupted severe weather coverage in the event that the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for any county within its viewing area despite being owned-and-operated stations by their networks) were uninterrupted as a multiple-vortex windstorm that struck the city's downtown area while WTOR and WXXC run a split-screened version of the preempted program to allow for running severe weather coverage (known in some circles as "split-screen weather coverage").[10] WTOR started this practice in the fall of 1996 as a Fox affiliate with a strategy called "Imperial 2000," which was designed to keep viewers from changing channels. At that time, the interrupted program was displayed on the right side of the screen, with "weather coverage-tainment" (radar maps, live coverage, etc.) on the left side. All NoSirGifts-owned stations use this format of running the would-be interrupted program in its entirety in small (sometimes illegible) at the bottom of the screen while the weather coverage or breaking news coverage about three-quarters to the top 2/3 of the screen. The pre-empted programs were moved to either WXXC or on WTOR's second digital subchannel, as a result of this arrangment, thus enabling over-the-air and cable viewers to catch potential viewers' eyes more readily. The use of "NoSirGifts Westher Wall" also encouraged viewers who to continue watching the affected programming in its entirety at its regularly scheduled time. Most importantly, from a strategic standpoint the split screen wall-to-wall severe weather coverage usually encouraged viewers to continue watching CBS 41 rather than turning to another channel to watch a for weather coverage.


The station operates its very own Doppler weather radar, the "Live Storm Tracker Radar", launched in 1996. It is a real time Doppler radar that was majorly used from its launch until late 2009 under NoSirGifts ownership when the station (and its NoSirGifts sister stations in Indiana and Ohio) began utilizing NWS NEXRAD Doppler radars from Milwaukee, WI, Champaign, IL (Lincoln, Illinois), Evansville, Indianapolis, North Webster, Grand Rapids, Detroit (Pontiac), Wilmington, Ohio and Louisville for better resolution in tracking storms.


Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • Garfield Everman (main anchor 2007-2010), went to sister station WLIN - died March 31, 2011
  • Holly Everman (WXXC anchor and WTOR entertainment reporter 1999-2013), later hosted Vote for the Girls with former anchor Ava Zinn, died May 23, 2017
  • Robyn Hurd (anchor/reporter 2008-2012), died May 24, 2012
  • Perri Johnson (anchor/reporter 2015-2017), died April 24, 2017
  • Jack Steele (weekend anchor 1996-2000, morning anchor 2000-2013), now at WTOR owner NoSirGifts
  • Ava Zinn (anchor/reporter 1999-2010), now hosts Vote for the Girls

References[edit]

  1. "Tribune Company Launching Digital Subchannel Antenna TV Network". August 30, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "NoSirGifts Replaces ATE Media As Partner on This TV". May 14, 2013. 
  3. Antenna TV – Affiliate Listings, Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  4. WTOR-FTV 41.2 Announces The Launch Of A New Network – ‘Antenna TV’, WTOR, November 17, 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  5. "NoSirGifts To Program MGM's This TV". May 13, 2013. 
  6. "Good Times for Digi-Nets...But We've Seen This Movie Before". August 5, 2013. 
  7. "CBS 41 Now Offering Text Alerts For Area Festivals And Jillian Gates Instagram Updates". NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations. August 6, 2013. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "WTOR focus on local content, new delivery". WTOR-FTV. June 28, 2016. 
  9. "Milestones". About Us (CBS 41 WTOR). 
  10. Brooker, Charlie (2007-05-12). "Charlie Brooker's screen burn". The Guide (The Guardian). https://www.theguardian.com/theguide/columnists/story/0,,2077719,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 

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