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The News at (time) (newscasts)
|Slogan||The Indy Channel|
|Channels||Digital: 25 (VHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
6.2 Hometown Sports Indiana
6.3 Live Well Network
|Affiliations||ABC (Primary since 1979, Secondary 1954-1956)|
|Owner||E. W. Scripps Company
(Scripps Media, Inc.)
|First air date||May 30, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||We aRe TeleVision|
|Former callsigns||WFBM-TV (1949–1972)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
6 (VHF, 1949–2009)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||294 m (digital)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WRTV, channel 6, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company. WRTV maintains two studio facilities: its main studios and offices are located on Meridian Street in the middle of Indianapolis' Television Row, a secondary studio used for certain newscasts is located at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The station's transmitter is located on the northwest side of Indianapolis.1
On cable, the station is carried on Bright House Networks channel 7 in standard definition and digital channel 706 in high definition, and Xfinity channel 5 in standard definition and digital channel 231 in high definition.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|6.1||1080p||16:9||WRTV-HD||Main WRTV programming / ABC|
|6.2||480i||6NEWS||Hometown Sports Indiana (HTSN)|
|6.3||Live Well Network|
On March 17, 2010, WRTV announced a partnership with Hometown Sports to air live high school and college sporting events on digital subchannel 6.2 (which replaced a 24-hour news and weather channel called "6 News 24/7", which featured simulcasts of WRTV's newscasts as well as news updates and local weather information). The channel broadcasts sporting events such as football, basketball and baseball, but WRTV does not currently have rights to air IHSAA championship events.
On October 3, 2011, WRTV began carrying the Live Well Network, a network featuring health and lifestyle-oriented programming (which is owned by The Walt Disney Company, the corporate parent of WRTV's affiliated network, ABC), on digital subchannel 6.3. The subchannel also became available on Comcast's digital cable service by late October of that year.
WRTV shut down its analog signal at 8:00 a.m. ET on June 12, 2009; WRTV's digital signal continued to broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 25.2 Most receivers display WRTV's virtual channel as 6 through the use of PSIP.
The station signed on the air on May 30, 1949 as WFBM-TV, owned by the Bitner Group along with WFBM radio (1260 AM, now WNDE). Indiana's oldest television station was launched with a documentary entitled Crucible of Speed covering the history of the Indianapolis 500, followed by the inaugural live television broadcast of the event.
The station was originally a CBS affiliate, although it held secondary affiliations with ABC and DuMont. When Bloomington-based WTTV (originally on channel 10, moved to channel 4 in 1954) signed on a few months later, WFBM-TV shared ABC programming until 1954, when WISH-TV (channel 8) signed on and took over the ABC affiliation. WFBM-TV also aired programs from the short-lived Paramount Television Network, among them Time For Beany,3 Dixie Showboat,4 Hollywood Reel,5 Cowboy G-Men,6 and Hollywood Wrestling.7 In 1956, channel 6 took the NBC affiliation from WTTV. During the late 1950s, WFBM-TV was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.8
Bitner merged its broadcast interests with magazine publisher Time-Life in 1957.910 In the mid-1960s, WRTV became the first television station in Indiana to begin broadcasting in color. As part of a sale announced in late 1970, WFBM-AM-FM-TV was sold to McGraw-Hill along with Time-Life's other radio/television combinations in Denver, San Diego and Grand Rapids, Michigan; and KERO-TV in Bakersfield, California.11 When the sale was finalized in June 1972, the purchase price for the entire group was just over $57 million. However, in order to comply with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s new restrictions on concentration of media ownership, McGraw-Hill was required to sell the radio stations in Indianapolis, Denver, San Diego and Grand Rapids. Time-Life would later purchase WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids out of the final deal.12 KERO-TV, KLZ-TV (now KMGH-TV) in Denver and KOGO-TV (now KGTV) in San Diego were retained by McGraw-Hill, along with WFBM-TV, which changed its call letters to the current WRTV as a result of the sale.13
On June 1, 1979, WRTV swapped network affiliations with WTHR (channel 13) and joined ABC, while WTHR became the market's new NBC affiliate.14 NBC was the country's lowest-rated broadcast network in the late 1970s, while ABC rose to the ranks of the highest-rated network around that same time and sought stronger affiliate stations in many markets, therefore motivating the affiliation switch in Indianapolis. As a result of the switch, WRTV became the third station in Indianapolis to affiliate with ABC; the network had originally been carried by WISH-TV from 1954 to 1956, before landing on what eventually became WTHR in 1957. Channel 6 is also one of the few television stations in the United States to have been a primary affiliate of all three original broadcast networks.
On January 31, 1995,15 Terre Haute ABC affiliate WBAK-TV (channel 38, which changed its callsign to WFXW in 2005) ended its 22-year affiliation with the network to join Fox, citing low ratings due to the then-overabundance of higher-rated ABC affiliates available from outlying areas (including WRTV). As Terre Haute was left without an in-market ABC station, WRTV became the default affiliate for the Indiana side of the market (the station's signal is viewable in Terre Haute via a rooftop antenna and it began to be carried by cable providers on the Indiana side of the Terre Haute market), while many pay television providers on the Illinois side of the market piped in ABC programming from either Champaign, Illinois' WICD or Evansville, Indiana's WEHT. On September 1, 2011, WFXW voluntarily disaffiliated from Fox and rejoined ABC as part of a long-term affiliation renewal between Nexstar Broadcasting Group (which manages the station through owner Mission Broadcasting) and ABC in nine other markets, and changed its callsign to WAWV-TV;16 WRTV was removed from most cable providers in the market by May 28, 2012.
On October 3, 2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies announced that it would exit from broadcasting and sell WRTV, along with its other television stations, to the E. W. Scripps Company for $212 million.17 On November 29, 2011, the FCC approved the sale, which was formally consummated on December 30, 2011.18
WRTV clears nearly all of the programming on ABC's network schedule. Syndicated programs seen on WRTV include Live! with Kelly and Michael, Right This Minute, Extra, Judge Judy, Katie and omg! Insider. As ABC carries the Indianapolis 500, WRTV airs the race in primetime on a tape delay rather than airing it live, with that day's primetime schedule transmitted by ABC under a special dispensation early to WRTV to air in the afternoon during the race. This is done because the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to encourage those in the Indianapolis metropolitan area to attend the race. In 1999, WRTV televised the Indianapolis 500 live, in addition to the tape-delayed primetime broadcast.
WRTV presently broadcasts 32 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). WRTV's newscasts led the ratings in Indianapolis for many years. As recently as the early 1980s, WRTV's news audience often exceeded the combined audience of WISH and WTHR. WISH surged into first place in the mid-1980s, but WRTV managed to remain a solid runner-up even after the retirement of longtime anchorman Howard Caldwell. However, it has never really recovered from a botched format revamp in 1996 and has spent most of the last decade in third place behind WTHR and WISH, and occasionally placing fourth behind Fox affiliate WXIN.
WRTV has brought forth several technological innovations over the years, including the first station in the state to use videotape for local programming, the first to use mini-cams for newsgathering, the first to use microwave relays – a forerunner to satellite – to provide live remote footage from outside the studio (Insta-Cam), the first satellite truck (NewStar 6), the first cable news service (NewsChannel 64, later "6 News 24/7"), the first to covert to non-linear digital editing for news content, the first to use digital news cameras, the first in the market to launch its own website (www.theINDYchannel.com), and the first to provide a mobile website (6News OnTheGo) and VODcasting.
In 1988, channel 6 debuted the market's first 5 p.m. newscast. On September 10, 2007, WRTV debuted the Indianapolis market's first early evening newscast at 7 p.m. Station vice president and general manager Don Lundy attributed the launch of the program due to longer commutes and work days that prevent some viewers from being home in time to watch a 5 or 6 p.m. newscast. On that same date, the 5 p.m. newscast was expanded to one hour.
On October 12, 2008, WRTV became the third station in Indiana as well as the Indianapolis market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. With the upgrade, the station unveiled a new graphics package, an updated news set, updated music from the "ABC Affiliate News Collection" (also known as "Eyewitness News") and an updated logo for all newscasts.
In April 2012, WRTV entered into a multi-year agreement with Emmis Communications to share studio space at Monument Circle with radio station WIBC-FM. The agreement allows WRTV to broadcast some of its local newscasts at the location, with renovations to the studio for such use completed in June 2012. In addition, WRTV will share some staff and news content with WIBC-FM.19
In September 2012, WRTV implemented a new standardized graphics package and news theme ("Inergy" by Stephen Arnold Music) that began to be used on Scripps' stations during that year. That month, WRTV began to broadcast its local newscasts from the new Monument Circle studios. On September 7, 2013, WRTV will debut weekend morning newscasts (airing on Saturdays from 6-10 a.m. and Sundays from 6-8 a.m.), becoming the last television station in the market to expand its morning newscasts to weekends. The expansion will result in the hiring of eight on-air and behind-the-scenes employees to the station.20 21
- TeleNews (1951–1960)
- TV-6 News (1961–1965)
- Channel 6 Early/Final Report (1966–1974)
- The News (1974–1985)
- Channel 6 News (1985–1989)
- WRTV 6 News (1989–1998)22
- Nightcast (11 p.m. newscast; 1998–2012)
- 6 News (1998–2001 and 2006–2012)23
- RTV6 News/The News At x:xx (2001–2006; 2012–present)
- "The News Leader" (1979–1985)
- "Taking pride in Indiana, 6 the Leader" (1984–1986)
- "Your Exclusive Newsstar Station" (1985–1989)
- "Making a Difference for Indiana" (1989–1996)24
- "Live, Local, Latebreaking" (1996–1998)
- "Standing Up for You" (1998–2001)
- "On Your Side" (2006–2011)
- "The Indy Channel" (2012–present)
WRTV's primary news anchors are Todd Connor (weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 7 and 11 p.m.); Ericka Flye (weeknights at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m.); Jenna (Maloney) Kooi (weeknights at 7 and 11 p.m.); Marc Mullins (weekday mornings from 4:30–7 a.m.) and weekdays at noon); Tanya Spencer (weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also weekday reporter); and Beth Vaughn - weekday mornings from 4:30–7 a.m.).25
The Storm Team 6 weather staff includes chief meteorologist Kevin Gregory (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval; member, NWA; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 7 and 11 p.m.; son of former WTHR chief meteorologist Bob Gregory); and meteorologists Scott Akin (fill-in meteorologist), Todd Klaassen (weekday mornings from 4:30–7 a.m. and weekdays at noon), Kyle Mounce (fill-in meteorologist) and Stephanie Ortmann (member, AMS; member, NWA; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.).25
The station's sports team includes sports director Dave Furst (weeknights at 6, 7 and 11 p.m.), sports anchor Brad Brown (weekends at 6 and 11 p.m., also sports reporter), and sports reporter Jason Spells.25
The station's general assignment reporters are Anne Kelly (weekday morning multimedia journalist); Kara Kenney; Ebone Monet; Chris Proffitt[a]; Julie Pursley; Jack Rinehart; Drew Smith; and Chance Walser. Specialty reporters are Norman Cox (State House reporter); Johnette Cruz (traffic reporter ("Sigalert Traffic" (4:30–7 a.m.); Stephen Dean (investigative reporter); Rafael Sanchez[a] (consumer reporter); and Derrik Thomas (courts reporter).25
- ^[a] Indicates reporter also serves as a fill-in news anchor.
- Tom Carnegie – longtime sports director and public address announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (retired in 1985, died in 2011)26
- Chris Denari – sports reporter (now Indiana Pacers play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports Indiana)
- Frances Farmer (former actress, hosted Frances Farmer Presents afternoon movie show; died in 1970)27
- Hal Fryar (aka "Harlow Hickenlooper") – host of the Three Stooges show, also one of nine such local hosts from across the country cast as villains in the Stooges' full-length feature The Outlaws Is Coming (now with a Senior Relations firm in Indianapolis)28
- Emily Gimmel – morning reporter (later starred in SOAPnet series Southern Belles: Louisville)29
- Brian Hammons – sports anchor/reporter; now anchor/reporter for the Golf Channel
- Durward Kirby (sidekick of Garry Moore and Allen Funt; died in 2000)
- Bob McLain - chief meteorologist from 1972 to 2001; he covered the Super Outbreak of 1974 and the Great Blizzard of 1978. He earned the nickname "Swoop" for his animated delivery style.
- Marilyn Mitzel – anchor/reporter (1977-1984)30
- Dan O'Rourke - started as a news intern, later became WRTV's youngest reporter at age 21, and youngest anchor at 22.
- Joe Pickett - Personality and Booth Announcer; died 4-20-13
- Dave Piontek – sports anchor (former NBA star; died in 2004)
- Phil Ponce – reporter (now at WTTW in Chicago)31
- FCC Antenna Structure Registration
- FCC Form 387
- "Monday Afternoon TV Programs". Logansport Press (Logansport, IN). May 20, 1951. p. 6.
- Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, IN). October 21, 1950. p. 14.
- "Friday Evening TV Programs". Logansport Press (Logansport, IN). May 4, 1951. p. 6.
- "Syndicated Pix ARB Multi-City Ratings". Billboard: 6. April 3, 1954.
- "Television Schedule". Anderson Daily Bulletin (Anderson, IN). March 21, 1955. p. 17.
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956
- "Time Inc. gets Bitner properties, pays $15,750,000 for 3 TVs, 3 AMs." Broadcasting – Telecasting, December 24, 1956, pg. 7. 
- "Time Inc. buy gets green light." Broadcasting – Telecasting, April 22, 1957, pg. 56. 
- "McGraw-Hill buys into TV in a big way." Broadcasting, November 2, 1970, pg. 9. 
- "McGraw-Hill sets record for concessions to minorities." Broadcasting, May 15, 1972, pp. 25–26.  
- "It's all theirs." Broadcasting, June 5, 1972, pg. 43
- "Television Schedule". Marion Chronicle-Tribune (Marion, IN). May 30, 1979.
- TV Guide (Central Indiana Edition) – January 29 – February 4, 1995
- Jessell, Harry A. (June 28, 2011). "Nexstar Drops Fox For ABC In Terre Haute". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
- "McGraw-Hill Sells TV Group To Scripps". TVNewsCheck. October 3, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "Scripps completes McGraw-Hill Stations Buy". TVNewsCheck. December 30, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- WRTV launches broadcast studio on Monument Circle, Indianapolis Business Journal, May 10, 2012.
- WRTV Adds Weekend Newscasts and Employees TVSpy, May 2, 2013.
- WRTV adding employees, expanding newscasts Indianapolis Business Journal, May 2, 2013.
- WRTV 6 News 11PM Open July 1990
- WRTV News at Noon Open (12/31/07)
- WRTV April 1993 Station Promos
- RTV6 News Team
- "'Voice Of The Speedway' Tom Carnegie Dies". WRTV. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Rose, Rita (24 January 1983). "Frances Farmer: The Peaceful Years". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "About Harlow Hickenlooper". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Emily Gimmel's 'Good Morning Indiana' Journal". WRTV. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Marilyn Mitzel Resume". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "About Chicago Tonight". WTWW. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- TheIndyChannel.com – Official website
- WRTV History at TheIndyChannel.com
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WRTV
- Listing 1029312 in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Antenna Structure Registration database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WRTV-TV
- HarlowHickenlooper.com (Hal Fryar's website)