|Branding||WKBN 27 (general)
27 First News
|Slogan||Where Your News
|Channels||Digital: 41 (UHF)
Virtual: 27 (PSIP)
|Owner||LIN Media, LLC
(LIN License Company, LLC)
|First air date||January 11, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||taken from former
sister radio station
|Sister station(s)||WYFX-LD, WYTV|
|Former callsigns||WKBN (1953-1979)|
|Former channel number(s)||27 (UHF analog,
|Former affiliations||ABC (1953-1957)
|Transmitter power||650 kW|
WKBN-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for the Mahoning Valley of Northeastern Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Licensed to Youngstown, Ohio, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 41 (or virtual channel 27.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter near the city's Pleasant Grove section. The station can also be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 4 and Comcast digital channel 193, and in HD on Time Warner Cable channel 1004.
WKBN is owned by LIN Media. WKBN is sister to low-powered Fox affiliate WYFX-LD and ABC affiliate WYTV. The latter, however, is actually owned by Vaughan Media, LLC and operated by LIN TV through a shared services agreement (SSA). All three outlets share studios on Sunset Boulevard near Youngstown's Pleasant Grove section. Syndicated programming on this station includes Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, The Jeff Probst Show, and The Dr. Oz Show among others.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|27.1||720p||16:9||WKBN-HD||Main WKBN programming / CBS|
|27.2||720p||16:9||WYFX-LD||Simulcast of WYFX-LD|
The station went on-the-air January 11, 1953 as the first UHF station in Ohio and the sixth in the nation, beating WFMJ-TV to the air by 56 days. It was owned by the Williamson family along with WKBN radio (AM 570 and FM 98.9, now WMXY). The radio station was a CBS Radio affiliate, and out of loyalty, the television station has been a primary CBS affiliate from the beginning. It also had secondary affiliations with ABC and DuMont. Shortly afterward, WKST-TV in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvania signed-on and took the ABC affiliation. With DuMont off-the-air three years later, WKBN was solely affiliated with CBS by the end of 1956.1
In 1997, the Williamsons sold the station to Gocom which later became Piedmont Television and the station changed its logo and graphics package shortly after. Although WKBN is still a competitive number two to longtime rival WFMJ, it lost the "locally owned-and-operated" edge that WFMJ still maintains to this day with the Maag family. Although most of the Williamsons have moved away from Youngstown, the family still makes major donations to the area. Most notably, Youngstown State University's Williamson College of Business Administration, which is housed in Williamson Hall, is named in their honor. The Williamsons held onto WKBN-AM-FM until 1999. However, WKBN-TV does retain a news and weather sharing partnership with Clear Channel Communications, the current owners of its former radio sisters.
The station gained some national attention when embarrassing photos of then-anchorwoman Catherine Bosley were leaked onto the Internet. On April 19, 2006, WKBN began airing its digital signal on UHF channel 41. The digital broadcast features CBS programming in high definition (when available) and also carries a simulcast of low-powered sister station WYFX-LP. On November 15, Piedmont Television announced the sale of WKBN and WYFX to New Vision Television based in Atlanta.23 The sale closed in early March 2007. Shortly afterward, WKBN began operating longtime rival WYTV in a shared services agreement.
On February 8, 2009, the station did a "dual HD" test airing both college basketball on its main digital signal and the Gatorade Duel (the qualifying race for the Daytona 500) on 27.2 (which simulcasts WYFX) in a possible attempt to broadcast both signals in high definition full-time. WKBN had to compress both signals to the 720p format in order to make it possible. It began broadcasting both channels in high definition full-time the next day making WKBN the eighth station nationally to broadcast two subchannels on the same signal in high definition,4 and currently the only one in the Youngstown market.
The downside to this process is that it reduces the HD picture quality WKBN and WYFX can achieve. This quality difference is noticeable when compared to other stations not compressing their signals. Some refer to this as "HD-Lite". On the other hand, WKBN's powerful signal provides viewers in the eastern half of the Cleveland DMA an alternative to WJW (FOX) and WOIO (CBS) which broadcast on channels 8 and 10, respectively. VHF has proven to be a problem with digital television and frustrated viewers have had better luck picking up WKBN's UHF signal than with WJW and WOIO's VHF signals.
On May 7, 2012, LIN TV Corporation announced that it will acquire the New Vision Television station group for $330.4 million and the assumption of $12 million in debt. Along with the outright ownership of WKBN-TV and WYFX-LD, the agreement includes the acquisition of New Vision's shared services agreement with Parkin Broadcasting, giving LIN operational control of WYTV. On October 2, the FCC approved the proposed sale to LIN TV.5 The transaction is expected to close in late 2012.6
On November 15, 2012, the master control operators at WKBN were notified that the day-to-day master control operations at Sunset Boulevard will be hubbed out to LIN Media's Springfield, Massachusetts Centralcasting Hub.
The master control hubbing was completed on Monday June 29th 2013 at 4am eastern time. All syndicated and network content on WKBN, WYFX, WYTV and MyYTV now flows via fiber optic from WWLP TV in Chicopee, MA. Local newscasts still originate from the Sunset blvd studios in Youngstown.
WKBN established a weekday morning program in 1992. On January 23, 2006, WYFX's First News at 10 on Fox 17/62 (produced by WKBN) became the area's only hour-long prime time broadcast on weeknights while remaining thirty minutes on weekends.
After a rebranding occurred in 2008, the title changed to First News on Fox. For a period, WYFX's broadcast competed with another newscast seen at the same time on MyNetwork affiliate WYTV-DT2 that was produced by its parent ABC station. There is also a two-hour weekday morning show seen on WYFX while WKBN broadcasts CBS This Morning. Known as First News This Morning on Fox, the show is essentially an extension of the CBS affiliate's show offering a local alternative.
In December 2007, the news departments of WKBN and WYTV physically merged. As a result, over forty personnel at WYTV and six at WKBN were laid-off.7 Under the shared services agreement, this station began producing newscasts on the ABC affiliate from a secondary set at the Sunset Boulevard studios. A previous plan calling for WYTV to build satellite streetside studios in Downtown Youngstown were abandoned due to the consolidation. The current operational status of its Doppler weather radar based at the old facility on Shady Run Road is unknown. The two stations gradually had their on-air looks mirror each other while their respective web sites became identical. New logos for the stations and updated websites debuted in January 2009 including combined operations for sports and weather.
An updated graphic and music theme, created by John Christopher Burns Design, premiered on February 24, 2009 replacing graphics dating back to 1997. The "WKBN" lettering style in its new logo was inspired from the WKBN sign at its historical facility.8 To differentiate the CBS and ABC affiliates from each other and maintain a separate identity, the stations adopted individual graphic and music packages. Unlike WKBN and WFMJ, WYTV tends to focus more on Trumbull County-related topics which has become more evident under WKBN control. Due to the duopoly, WKBN and WYTV maintain separate primary anchors for news, weather, and sports during the week but share most general assignment reporters and video footage. The two initially maintained separate web sites as well, however after LIN Media took over ownership of WKBN & WYFX and operations of WYTV, WYTV's website became a redirect to WKBN's website with only WYTV's station identification information available on WKBN's web site.
On May 6, 2010, the two outlets upgraded their combined news operation to high definition complete with new graphics on WYTV. Local news seen on Fox affiliate WYFX was also included in the change. There are news and weather sharing partnerships with WNCD-FM 93.3, WAKZ-FM 95.9, WMXY-FM 98.9, WBBG-FM 106.1, WKBN-AM 570, and WNIO-AM 1390.
- News Today (1950s)
- Newswatch 27
- 27 First News (1994–present)
- "27 Cares" (1986–1996)
- "Where the News is First" (1994–1997)
- "Where Your News Comes First" (1997–present)
- WGHP 1984 News Theme by Unknown Composer (?)
- Newschannel by Gari Media Group. (?–1997)
- Impact by 615 Music (1997–2009)
- The CBS Enforcer Music Collection Gari Media Group (2009-present)
- Amy Radinovic - Weekday mornings (5 until 7); also "Your Financial Fix", "Family Focus"
- Damon Maloney - Weekday mornings (5 until 7) and Noon
- Dave Sess - Weeknights at 6 and 11
- Erika Thomas - Weeknights at 5, 6 and 11
- Dan Martin - Weekends and video journalist
- Dee Crawford - Community Affairs Director and Sunday Morning with Dee host
WKBN 27 First News Weather Team
- Don Guthrie (NWA and AMS Seals of Approval) - weeknights
- Rich Morgan - weekday mornings and weekdays at noon
- Ryan Halicki - weekends and news video journalist
- Ryan Allison - Director seen weeknights at 11 (also Sunday Huddle host)
- Kristi Braham - weekends and sports reporter
- Shawn Jordan - sports videographer
- Dennis Biviano - weekday mornings
- Natalie Jovonovich - video journalist
- Kirsti Zontini - video journalist
- Julie Bercik - video journalist
- TJ Reninger - videographer
- Roxann Sebest - video journalist
- Jeff Levkulich - Trumbull County Reporter
- Gerry Ricciutti - reporter
- Miriam Hobbs - video journalist
- Greta Mittereder - Morning Live Reporter
For more than 30 years, Tom Holden (1938–2005) was the face of Youngstown television news. Holden joined the WKBN news team in March 1972 as a reporter and sportscaster. He was made anchor of the evening newscasts in 1974, a position he held until shortly before his death. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Youngstown and received a bachelor of science in journalism from Kent State University.9 Co-anchor Gina Marinelli once said, "We estimate Tom anchored more than 15,000 newscasts, raising an entire generation of Valley news watchers on his no-nonsense brand of journalism." Holden stepped down from his late news anchor duties in April 2005.9 He died of complications from a blood infection on June 11, 2005.9
Anchorwoman Catherine Bosley became a full-time night-side crime reporter and back-up anchor at the station in 2000. In 2001, she was named morning show co-anchor at WKBN and became the noon show anchor in 2003. However, that spring, Bosley participated in a wet t-shirt contest while on a vacation with her husband in Key West, Florida. The event was filmed and the video of Bosley stripping and posing nude for the crowd was leaked on the Internet about ten months later. Bosley left WKBN and was then replaced by Amber Nicotra as the morning co-anchor on 27 First News This Morning in January 2004. Bosley is currently an anchor and reporter for CBS affiliate WOIO-TV in Cleveland.
New York City-born Ode (pronounced oh-day) Aduma (born 1943) came to Youngstown in 1952. After a career as a fashion artist at Strouss' Department Store, he joined the station in 1971 as a field reporter in the days when reporters had to shoot their own video. Aduma's distinctive and polished voice on voice-over news stories made him more known than his face with his distinctive outcue, "For Newswatch 27, I'm Ode...Aduma." Nonetheless, Aduma gradually gained more face time over the years, as he eventually became host of Sundays with Ode, a locally-produced public affairs program aired Sunday mornings. Aduma continued to host the program until his retirement in 2005 .
- "History of WKBN/WYFX". WKBN.com. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- "WKBN, sister station sold to New Vision Television". Vindicator. November 16, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- "New Vision Television Announces Agreement to Acquire WKBN-TV, CBS Affiliate and WYFX-TV, Fox Affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio from Piedmont Television Holdings, LLC, Inc.". WKBN.com. November 15, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- Lavery, Tom (February 9, 2009). "WKBN tests dual HD signal" (blog). Pittsburgh Radio & TV Online. Eric O'Brien. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- Malone, Michael (May 7, 2012). "LIN Acquiring New Vision Stations for $330 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- Barron, Sean (June 13, 2005). "Beloved longtime news anchor dies". Vindicator. Retrieved 2009-04-16.