WLKY

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WLKY
WLKY-TV Logo.png
WLKY 32.2.png
Louisville, Kentucky
BrandingWLKY 32 (general)
WLKY News (newscasts)
SloganLive, Local, Late Breaking.
ChannelsDigital: 26 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Subchannels32.1 CBS
32.2 Me-TV
OwnerHearst Television, Inc.
(WLKY Hearst Television, Inc.)
First air dateSeptember 16, 1961
Call letters' meaningWe're in Louisville, Kentucky
Former channel number(s)Analog:
32 (1961-2009)
Former affiliationsABC (1961-1990)
Transmitter power600 kW
Height392 m
Facility ID53939
Transmitter coordinates38°22′10.12″N 85°50′1.58″W / 38.3694778°N 85.8337722°W / 38.3694778; -85.8337722
Websitewww.wlky.com
 
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WLKY
WLKY-TV Logo.png
WLKY 32.2.png
Louisville, Kentucky
BrandingWLKY 32 (general)
WLKY News (newscasts)
SloganLive, Local, Late Breaking.
ChannelsDigital: 26 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Subchannels32.1 CBS
32.2 Me-TV
OwnerHearst Television, Inc.
(WLKY Hearst Television, Inc.)
First air dateSeptember 16, 1961
Call letters' meaningWe're in Louisville, Kentucky
Former channel number(s)Analog:
32 (1961-2009)
Former affiliationsABC (1961-1990)
Transmitter power600 kW
Height392 m
Facility ID53939
Transmitter coordinates38°22′10.12″N 85°50′1.58″W / 38.3694778°N 85.8337722°W / 38.3694778; -85.8337722
Websitewww.wlky.com

WLKY is the CBS-affiliated television station in Louisville, Kentucky. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 26 (virtual channel 32.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. Owned by Hearst Television, WLKY maintains studios on Mellwood Avenue (near I-71) on the city's east side. Syndicated programming featured on WLKY includes Anderson Live, The Closer, Steve Harvey, Access Hollywood, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. It is one of the few CBS affiliates that airs The Young and the Restless on a tape delay (airing at 4 p.m., leading into the 5 p.m. newscast); fellow CBS affiliates WAFB/Baton Rouge, WRAL-TV/Raleigh and KMOV/St. Louis also run the soap opera in the 4 p.m. timeslot.

History[edit]

The station signed on September 16, 1961 as an ABC affiliate. Previously, the ABC affiliation in Louisville was shared between NBC affiliate WAVE-TV and then-CBS affiliate WHAS-TV. Although Louisville had been big enough since the early 1950s to support three full affiliates, it had a fairly long wait for full network service. The Louisville market is a fairly large market geographically, and also includes some rugged terrain. The nearest VHF allocations, channels 7 and 13, had been allocated to Evansville and Bowling Green, respectively. These factors caused the first attempt at a full-time ABC affiliate in the area, WKLO-TV, to shut down after only six months on the air. With this in mind, perspective owners were skittish about setting up shop on one of the available UHF allocations in the area.

WLKY was founded by a local group, Kentuckiana Television, who in 1967 sold it to Sonderling Broadcasting (which would acquire several medium-market radio and television stations such as WAST in Albany, New York (now WNYT) until that company merged with Viacom in 1979). In 1973, Sonderling sold the station to Combined Communications. In 1979, Combined Communications merged with the Gannett Company.

In the spring of 1983, Gannett sold WLKY and WPTA in Fort Wayne, Indiana (the two smallest stations in Gannett's television station portfolio at the time) to Pulitzer Publishing after it purchased WLVI-TV in Boston (currently owned by Sunbeam Television) from Field Communications and WTCN-TV (now KARE) in Minneapolis from Metromedia. This was because the WLVI and WTCN purchases left Gannett with two television stations over the Federal Communications Commission's seven-station limit in effect at the time. Pulitzer kept WLKY but sold WPTA to Granite Broadcasting in 1989.

From 1977 to 1986, WLKY was known as "32 Alive." At the time, Combined Communications used the "Alive" moniker on four of its stations—WLKY, KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, WXIA-TV in Atlanta and WPTA in Fort Wayne. Gannett-owned WXIA still uses the "Alive" moniker, as does WPTA, although that station is no longer owned by Gannett.

In September 1990, just over seven years after Pulitzer completed its purchase of the station, WLKY swapped network affiliations with WHAS (by then owned by the Providence Journal Company, now owned by Sander Media and operated by Gannett), with WLKY taking the CBS affiliation and WHAS becoming the ABC affiliate—much to that station's chagrin.[1] This came after then-second-place ABC became dissatisfied with the viewership ratings at some of its affiliates (while CBS was in distant third at this midpoint of the Laurence Tisch era of the network's history), and ABC wanted a stronger affiliation. WLKY had long been one of ABC's weaker affiliates, while WHAS had been the dominant station in Louisville for almost 20 years at the time.

By this time, however, cable television had gained significant penetration in the Louisville area. Indeed, to this day, cable and satellite are all but essential for acceptable television in much of Kentuckiana. Combined with a low universal cable channel number (Channel 5 on both Comcast and Time Warner), WLKY's former weakness of being a UHF station was almost completely nullified.

The switch to CBS provided a major windfall for WLKY that winter, as it became Louisville's home for NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Owing to the region's status as a college basketball hotbed and area teams Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana being long-time fixtures in the tournament, NCAA Tournament games on WLKY are consistently among the highest-rated programs in the market during the tournament's run. In 2008, for instance, NCAA games attracted a 21.6 rating and a 36 share, the highest in the nation.[2]

Pulitzer sold its entire broadcasting division, including WLKY, to what was then Hearst-Argyle Television in 1999. Hearst's aggressive marketing helped make the station a factor in the ratings for the first time in memory, and by the dawn of the new millennium it was waging a spirited battle with WAVE for the runner-up slot in the market behind long-dominant WHAS-TV.

On September 1, 2011, WLKY added Weigel Broadcasting's classic television network Me-TV to the station's 32.2 digital subchannel.[3]

On July 9, 2012, WLKY's parent company Hearst Television was involved in a dispute with Time Warner Cable after that company's purchase of Insight Communications, leading to WLKY being pulled from Time Warner Cable and temporarily replaced with Nexstar Broadcasting Group station WROC-TV of Rochester, New York;[4][5] Time Warner chose the Rochester station as they do not own the rights to carry any of the other regional CBS affiliates.[6] The substitution of WROC in place of WLKY lasted until July 19, 2012, when a deal was reached between Hearst and Time Warner.[7]

Digital television[edit]

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming
32.11080i16:9WLKY-HDMain WLKY programming / CBS
32.2480iWLKY-SDMe-TV

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WLKY-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 32, 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.[8] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 26.[9] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 32.

News operation[edit]

In 2008, WLKY changed its branding from WLKY NewsChannel 32 to WLKY News. The station's news helicopter "NewsChopper 32" was renamed "WLKY NewsChopper". A new graphics package debuted as well.

In February 2010, WLKY became the third station in the Louisville market to begin airing its newscasts in widescreen – and the second to air them in upconverted widescreen standard definition rather than true high definition.

In February 2012, WLKY debuted a two-hour extension of its weekday morning newscast from 7-9 a.m. on its Me-TV affiliated 32.2 subchannel. It competes with the longer-established in-house morning newscast in that timeslot on Fox affiliate WDRB.[10] On September 17 of that year, WLKY launched a half-hour 10 p.m. newscast on that same subchannel to compete with WDRB's hour-long, in-house news program and what was then a WHAS-produced half-hour newscast on CW affiliate WBKI-TV in that slot (the WHAS newscast on WBKI officially ended its run on October 26, 2012; thereafter, syndicated programming replaced the 10 p.m. newscast).[11] WLKY also shortened its morning MeTV news program to one hour, 7-8 a.m., on September 17, 2012.

Ratings[edit]

For most of its tenure as an ABC affiliate, WLKY was one of that network's weaker stations in terms of local viewership, usually ranking third in the Nielsen ratings. Occasionally, however, it overtook WAVE for second behind long-dominant WHAS. However, since the affiliation switch to CBS and rise of cable and satellite penetration, WLKY has been far more successful in the Nielsen ratings. Even with the affiliate "downgrade" from VHF to UHF, CBS' network ratings in the Louisville market during the early to mid 1990s remained strong at a time when its ratings in many other markets stagnated or declined, with WLKY leading in the recent May 2011 sweeps from sign-on to sign-off, including newscasts.[12] It has been one of CBS' strongest affiliates for the last decade, although Louisville has been one of the few Nielsen markets where all four network stations have about equal ratings and strong news operations. In the recent February 2013 sweeps period, WLKY and WDRB began distancing themselves from WHAS and WAVE in total-day ratings, largely due to their higher-rated syndicated and local programming lead-ins to their newscasts.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

Station slogans[edit]

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On-air staff[edit]

Current on-air staff[13][edit]

Anchors

WLKY Weather

Sports team

Reporters

Hearst Television Washington Bureau

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

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References[edit]

External links[edit]