|Branding||WITI, FOX 6 Milwaukee|
|Slogan|| The Most Powerful Name in Local News (news)|
So FOX 6 (general)
|Channels|| Analog: 6 (VHF) |
Digital: 33 (UHF)
|Owner||Local TV LLC|
|Licensee||Community TV of Wisconsin License, LLC|
|Founded||May 21, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||Independent Television Inc. (original owner)|
|Former Affiliations|| Independent (1956-1959)|
CBS (1959-1961 & 1977-1994)
|Transmitter Power|| 100 kW (analog)|
980 kW (DT)
|Height|| 305 m (analog)|
289 m (DT)
|Website||WITI, FOX 6 Milwaukee's Website|
WITI (Ch. 6) is a TV station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that is an affiliate of FOX & has studio facilities based in north suburban Brown Deer. The station's ownership is Local TV LLC, the media arm of private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, which bought the station from FOX's parent company News Corporation's station group in July 2008. The station's transmitter is located in Shorewood, Wisconsin, with a signal that covers most of southeastern Wisconsin & parts of northeastern Illinois, including the cities of Racine, Kenosha, Sheboygan & Waukesha.
WITI's call letters stand for "Independent Television, Inc.," the corporation that originally owned the FCC license granted on June 11, 1955. The station began broadcasting on May 21, 1956.
From 1956-1959 WITI used the DuMont Vitascan color system. The station returned to monochrome cameras when it moved to the building on North 27th Street.
On August 8 1958, Storer Broadcasting bought WITI in hopes of affiliating the station with the CBS network, which @ the time had a UHF O&O in Milwaukee (WXIX ch. 19; now WVTV ch. 18). WITI became a CBS affiliate on April 1, 1959. At that time, WITI moved from it's original facility in Mequon to the former WCAN-TV/WXIX studios on N. 27th Street (later used from 1980-1994 by WCGV ch. 24).
In 1961, WITI would undergo an affiliation switch. CBS, then carried by WITI, desired to affiliate with WISN-TV, since the station's radio stations were already affiliated with the network. As a result, WITI & WISN swapped affiliations & WITI became an ABC affiliate on April 2, 1961.
The switch was reversed in 1977. WITI's owner @ the time, Storer Broadcasting, had a bitter relationship with ABC, stemming from the network's departure from Storer's San Diego UHF station, KCST, a station the network was forced to affiliate with after KCST fought successfully to have ABC affiliation stripped from Tijuana, Mexico-based XETV. At the same time, Storer had a strong relationship with CBS in other markets where they owned stations. Hence, they dropped ABC from WITI to take the CBS affiliation back from WISN. Without hesitation, WISN aligned with ABC, then the top network in the country. The switch occurred on March 27, 1977. In 1978, the station would move to new studios @ the northwest corner of N. Green Bay & Brown Deer Roads.
George N. Gillett Jr. bought the station from Storer Broadcasting in 1987. After a series of mergers & bankruptcies, New World Communications became owners of the station in 1993, despite rumors of CBS buying the station (along with WITI's sisters that carried CBS).
In the beginning of December 1994, WITI dropped CBS (which moved to WDJT (Ch. 58) & instead affiliated with FOX. The reasoning went beyond the switching of all New World stations to FOX, because the station had carried Green Bay Packers games since 1977 from CBS, which up to 1994 had the NFC contract for NFL games; by switching affiliations, except for a period of 3 months in 1994 (when WCGV was still the FOX affiliate), WITI was able to remain the 'home station' of the Packers since FOX held the NFC contract.
From February 1995 on, the station would be known as "Six is News" throughout the day in order to highlight the station's newly-expanded news schedule. Conversely during FOX prime time hours, the station was promoted as "FOX is Six" to try to build an audience for the growing network on the stronger Milwaukee station. (A similar move took place with WJW in Cleveland, which branded itself "ei8ht is News" & "FOX is ei8ht," playing off of an old station logo.)
In 1996, FOX's TV Stations Group bought WITI & the remaining New World stations outright & after the approval of the sale in January 1997, the station was rebranded as "FOX Six" for all programming & station promotions, with the channel number still fully spelled out. Ch. 6 officially became "FOX 6" in April 1998 with the introduction of the "Milwaukee's Newscenter" set.
Regional sports network FSN Wisconsin has been based out of WITI's studios since 2004. Currently no programming except for the Sunday late night Packers program FOX 6 Blitz is shared between the 2 stations & both have separate on-air staff.
In 2006, WITI celebrated it's 50th anniversary with an hour-long prime time special ("50 Years & Counting") in April & vignettes aired throughout the year, beginning on New Year's Day.
After the station installed a new graphics & control switcher on the morning of September 29 2007, the station finally switched to the current red/white/blue color scheme of FOX O&O's, along with news graphics. However only the coloring of the logo changed & it did not take on the vertical stacking look of other FOX station logos; this is most likely because the current horizontal logo form was heavily integrated into the "Milwaukee's Newscenter" set. In late May 2008 Studio A was renovated. The iconic blue floor was painted black, upgrades were made to the studio's lighting & the set was updated with a new desk, monitor & new Duratrans. During this time "Wake Up" received their own set in Studio B. Both sets are reportedly now compatible with HDTV broadcasting.
More emphasis on the station's website has been inserted into newscasts since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, including online chats during newscasts & sports programming & a webcam in each studio turned on 24/7 to give viewers a behind the scenes look into the station's newscasts.
On June 13 2007, FOX's parent company, News Corporation, revealed plans to sell WITI & other O&O stations. On December 22 2007, FOX announced that they had entered into an agreement to sell WITI & 7 other FOX O&O stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners' Local TV LLC. The sale was closed on July 14, 2008.
After the analog TV shutdown & DT conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17 2009, WITI will continue DT broadcasts on it's current pre-transition ch. #, 33. However, through the use of PSIP, DTV receivers will display WITI's virtual ch. as 6.
WITI, being a former FOX O&O, airs a great deal of programming from 20th Television, including sitcoms (such as Malcolm in the Middle), court shows (like Divorce Court & Christina's Court) & reality programming (like COPS). WITI double-runs Judge Judy & Judge Joe Brown in the afternoons & Seinfeld before FOX prime time & in late night. The station airs many of Twentieth's series under test runs before they go into national syndication for non-FOX stations, including Texas Justice, A Current Affair, Good Day Live, Geraldo @ Large & currently FOX's mid-morning The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet. The station also airs TMZ on TV weeknights after the late airing of Seinfeld, with a next-day repeat after the noon news, Extra after 'TMZ & American Idol Rewind, Alias & Stargate SG-1 on weekends.
WITI had also aired episodes of M*A*S*H since the 1977 CBS/ABC affiliation switch, 1st within it's CBS series run & then on into syndication WISN-TV ch. 12 originally aired syndicated M*A*S*H reruns @ 5 & 10:30 PM & then later @ 11 PM along with other varied time periods when M*A*S*H originally sold in syndicated. WITI gained syndication rights to the show in the 1990s after a long & successful run on WISN. At the time when WITI was a ABC affiliate, in the early 1970s they pre-empted The Dick Cavett Show in favor of old movies, it was shown instead on WVTV-TV when it was a independent station @ the time, also they pre-empted All My Children in favor of the Noon news. The show was taken off the schedule in September 2007 to make way for the move of the Noon news to 11 AM & a replay of TMZ on TV, but was restored to the 12 Noon slot on February 4th due to flailing ratings for Judge Alex, which now only airs before Wake Up. M*A*S*H has also been seen on ION TV station WPXE (Ch. 55) since September 2008.
As was the case with many of the stations acquired from New World, WITI has never aired FOX's children's block in either the FOX Kids or the current 4Kids TV iterations. The block stayed with WCGV for 10 years after WITI took the FOX affiliation & in September 2004 moved to independent station WMLW-CA ch. 41.
From the time WITI became a FOX O&O station in the mid-1990s, the station has put more emphasis on it's local newscasts; it currently runs @ least 40 hours of news a week. The station's newscasts usually place a strong 3rd in the ratings behind WTMJ & WISN (both of whom fight it out for 1st place), though the morning newscast (FOX 6 Wake Up News) is very competitive with the national network shows & occasionally comes in 1st in the ratings because of the program's local focus. The station is also 1 of the few FOX affiliates to have a newscast in the traditional late news time slot (for the Central time zone, 10 PM) in addition to the prime time (9 PM) newscast, along with 1 of the few to continue their existing CBS-era 10 PM newscast after the affiliate switch.
In December 2007, the Noon newscast on weekdays moved to 11 AM, with the Saturday morning Wake Up broadcast being expanded to 2 hours beginning @ 7 AM & the Sunday broadcast also moving to 7 AM but remaining an hour long. In addition, Gus Gnorski's DIY program on Saturday mornings, Ask Gus was discontinued, with Gnorski's segments merged into the Saturday Wake Up broadcast & his former studio becoming the new home of "WakeUp" in May 2008.
WITI also takes advantage of the fact that the audio for Ch. 6 can be heard on an FM radio on 87.7 FM, mentioning often during their morning newscasts, station promotions & breaking news events that you can 'Listen to FOX 6 in your car'. However, on February 17, 2009 on the day of going fully DT, WITI-TV will no longer be heard on 87.7 FM since it's the audio signal from it's analog transmitter, considering the analog transmitter will be shut down on February 17.
FOX 6 PersonalitiesEdit
- Mark Concannon - Weekdays on Wake Up
- Katrina Cravy - Sundays-Thursdays @ 9 & 10 PM
- Brad Hicks - Mondays-Thursdays @ 6 & 9 PM & Fridays @ 5, 6, 9 & 10 PM
- Tami Hughes - Weekdays @ 11 AM & Saturdays @ 6, 9 & 10 PM
- Nicole Koglin - Weekdays on Wake Up & @ 11 AM
- Jake Miller - Saturdays @ 6, 9 & 10 PM
- Kim Murphy - Weekdays on Wake Up
- Ted Perry - Sundays-Thursdays @ 5, 10 PM & Sundays @ 9 PM
- Beverly Taylor - Mondays-Thursdays @ 5 & 6 PM & Fridays @ 5, 6, 9 & 10 PM
- Justin Williams - Weekends on Wake Up
- Mike Bartley (departed in 2000, now @ WQED, the PBS station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
- Joyce Garbaciak (stepped down in 2005, now a features reporter/anchor @ WISN (Ch. 12))
- Vince Gibbens (died in 1995)
- Carl Zimmermann (1959-1986, retired)
- Stu Armstrong (1956-1959)
- Jill Geisler (1973-1998 as reporter, anchor & news director, now a leadership director @ the Poynter Institute)
- Chris Goodman (2004-2008, now @ WLEX-TV)
- Joanne Williams (1979-2008, now VP of Marketing & Communications for Cardinal Stritch University)
FOX 6 Storm CenterEdit
- Vince Condella - Chief Meteorologist, Weekday Evenings (NWS Seal of Approval)
- Bart Adrian - Weekend Evenings (NWS Seal of Approval & AMS Certification)
- Rob Haswell - Weekdays on Wake Up & @ 11 AM (NWS Seal of Approval & AMS Certification)
- Bob Moore - Fill-in & Weekends on Wake Up
- Tom Skilling (Currently chief metorlogist for WGN-TV in Chicago)
- Scott Steele (Known for having his dog Spunky with him when he did the weather in the morning on Wake Up; Spunky died on September 22, 2007. Currently weekend/fill-in meteorologist for WTMJ-TV)
- Eric Braate (Currently @ WDIV in Detroit)
- Ward Allen 1965-1975; delivered the weather with his assistant, Albert the Alley Cat, a puppet operated by Jack DuBlon
- Jen Lada
- Tom Pipines
- Tim Van Vooren
- Bob Moore
- Cathy Orosz
- Renee Banot
- Katrina Cravy - Contact 6 Reporter
- Julie Feldman - FOX 6 Health Center
- Gus Gnorski - The Gus Tour weekdays on Wake-Up [Visits various places in the Greater Milwaukee Area or Upcoming Fairs], station announcer & host of former Saturday morning DIY show Ask Gus
- Chrystina Head
- Mike Lowe
- Bryan Polcyn - Investigative Reporter
- Jennifer Reyes
- Jeremy Ross
- Myra Sanchick
- Wendy Strong - Business Reporter
- Vivika Vergara
- Doug Luzader - Washington DC Correspondent
The WITI-TV Tower is located in Shorewood, Wisconsin & stands @ 1,078 ft tall. It was completed in August of 1962 & was briefly the tallest free-standing tower in the world.
The station's studio is located in the city of Brown Deer, located @ the intersection of Green Bay Road & Brown Deer Road. The building contains studio A which is the main news studio. Studio B is the new home to FOX 6 Wake Up News. It was rebuilt in May 2008, dismantling the Ask Gus studio.