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WPTA
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Branding 21 Alive
Indiana's NewsCenter
Fort Wayne CW 19 / 7 (on DT2)
Slogan A Network of Indiana's NewsCenter
Channels Analog: 21 (UHF)

Digital: 24 (UHF)

Affiliations ABC
The CW (on DT2)
VIPIR (on DT3)
Owner Malara Broadcast Group
(operated under a LMA by Granite Broadcasting Corporation)
Licensee Malara Broadcast Group of Fort Wayne Licensee, LLC
First air date September 28, 1957
Sister stations(s) WISE-TV
Transmitter Power 562 kW (analog)
335 kW (DT)
Height 226 m (analog)
224.4 m (DT)
Facility ID 73905
Website 21 Alive's Website

WPTA, ch. 21, is the ABC-affiliated TV station for Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's transmitter is located on Butler Road. Owned by Malara Broadcasting, the station is operated by Granite Broadcasting (owner of NBC affiliate WISE-TV) through a LMA. The 2 stations share studios on Butler Road in Fort Wayne. Syndicated programming on WPTA includes: Everybody Loves Raymond, Entertainment Tonight & Oprah. The station operates the area's CW affiliate on it's 2nd DT subchannel. Known on-air as Fort Wayne CW 19 / 7, it can also be seen on Verizon FiOS cable ch. 6 & Comcast cable ch. 19. WPTA-DT2 gets all of it's programming from The CW+ operation.

DTVEdit

The station's DT signal is multiplexed:

Digital channels
Channel Programming
21.1 / 24.1 main WPTA programming / ABC HD
21.2 / 24.2 "Fort Wayne CW 19 / 7"
21.3 / 24.3 "Pinpoint VIPIR HD Channel"

Analog-to-DT conversionEdit

After the analog TV shutdown & DT conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17 2009, WPTA will remain on it's current pre-transition ch. #, 24. However, through the use of PSIP, DTV receivers will display WPTA's virtual ch. as 21.

HistoryEdit

The station began broadcasting on September 28, 1957 owned by Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. It took ABC affiliation from the beginning & broadcasted 7 & a 1/2 hours of local, live programming per week. In 1957, WPTA broadcasted a spin-off of American Bandstand called Teen Dance & an afternoon kids show, Popeye & the Rascals. Bill Jackson hosted the afternoon show with hand puppets "Fergie" & "Morty", "Jingles" the clown & "Cecil B. Rabbit". In 1964, a 2,226 square foot addition to WPTA's studios was added to accommodate an expanding sales staff. On April 4 1973, the station was sold to Combined Communications for $3.6 million dollars. Under new management, WPTA purchased new cameras & switcher. On June 7 1979, Combined Communications merged with Gannett. On May 12 1983, Gannett sold WPTA (along with WLKY in Louisville, Kentucky) to Pulitzer Publishing for an undisclosed amount. The station was sold to Granite Broadcasting on September 25, 1989 for $22.15 million dollars. In 2005, after Granite bought NBC affiliate WISE-TV, it sold WPTA to Malara Broadcasting for $45.3 million.

A local marketing agreement (LMA) was established that called for Granite to provide operation services to WPTA as well as for Malara's other new station, KDLH in Duluth, Minnesota. At 1 point, WPTA was among the top 10 strongest ABC affiliates in the country ranking with WISN-TV in Milwaukee & KMBC in Kansas City. According to Granite's website in 1997, it was still a strong network affiliate @ that time. On January 24 2006, The WB & UPN announced that they would end broadcasting & merge. The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the 1st initial of it's corporate parents, CBS (the parent company of UPN) & the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On February 22, News Corporation announced that they would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to FOX, would be operated by FOX TV Stations & it's syndication division, 20th Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN & WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming independent.

It was also created to compete against The CW. CBS affiliate WANE-TV aired UPN on a 2nd DT subchannel. The Fort Wayne affiliate of The WB was cable-only "WBFW" which was part of The WB 100+ operation. That station was co-owned with WPTA by Malara Broadcasting. It was announced in March that "WBFW" would affiliate with The CW via The CW+ (a similar operation to The WB 100+). WPTA decided to create a new 2nd DT sub-channel to simulcast "WBFW" & offer access to CW programming for over-the-air viewers. On September 5, WISE-TV moved NBC Wx+ from it's 2nd DT subchannel in order for it to become the area's affiliate of MyNetworkTV. Wx+ then began airing on WISE-TV's new 3rd DT subchannel. On September 18, The CW debuted on "WBFW" (which became officially known as having the WPTA-DT2 calls). The station then became known on-air as "Fort Wayne's CW". On September 28 2007, WPTA unveiled a 3D version of their current logo to commemorate the station's 50th anniversary but did not fully switch to it until August 4, 2008. The station recently added the live, late night interactive Show TEXT ME TV to it's schedule which is produced out of Lansing, Michigan's ABC affiliate WLAJ. Currently, Malara files it's SEC reports jointly with Granite leading to allegations that it's simply a shell corporation for Granite. If these allegations are ever found to be true, Granite would be in violation of FCC rules regarding duopolies. The FCC does not allow common ownership of 2 of the 4 largest stations in a single market. Fort Wayne has only 6 full-power stations which is too few to allow duopolies in any case.

Cable TV ControversiesEdit

On December 3 2008, it was announced that viewers in Grant County, Indiana would no longer be able to view WISE-TV & WPTA-TV on Bright House Networks in Marion, Gas City & Jonesboro after December 31, 2008.

News operationEdit

Under the ownership of Combined Communications, WPTA invested more time in news production. During that time, Wes Sims & Harry Gallagher were co-anchors with meteorologist Bill Eisenhood & sports anchor Tom Campbell. In July of 1978, WPTA constructed a new news set. Also, newscasts that had been in the "Eyewitness News" format were replaced with the current "Alive" format that remains to this day. WXIA in Atlanta is another former Combined station that currently includes "Alive" in their name. In the Summer of 1984, WPTA received it's 1st live truck to assist in news production. After becoming owned by Granite, WISE-TV's news department was promptly folded & combined with WPTA. The company fired those who worked @ WISE-TV with the exception of lead anchor Linda Jackson who was integrated into the WPTA operation. In November of 2005, after several months of using the "Alive" news brand on both stations, WPTA debuted a new news set in the basement of it's studios formerly used to tape public-affairs programs such as Impact. With it, came a new branding for the newscasts, Indiana's NewsCenter. When it took over production of WISE-TV newscasts, WPTA initially saw a significant decrease in it's ratings.

CBS affiliate WANE-TV was the market's news leader for sereral years after that according to Nielsen Media Research. This was most easily attributed to continued viewer resentment towards WPTA & Granite for their elimination of WISE-TV's news department & arguably it's identity & history. However, WPTA management said that the changes were part of a long-term plan that they said may need to take up to 5 years to take hold with viewers. Part of the plan to win back viewers included new technology such as text messaging, an improved website with more online video & upgrading it's weather equipment to a VIPIR system. The changes started to take hold & ratings began to drastically improve. In the November 2007 sweeps period, WPTA & WANE were nearly neck-&-neck in the Fort Wayne TV news ratings race with WANE continuing to show a slight lead. Today, WPTA produces 5 newscasts using 3 different "news teams". These newscasts are co-produced with WISE-TV & are essentially the same newscast with different anchors. When Granite acquired WISE-TV back in 2005, that station began airing a weeknight newscast @ 7 which was the 1st & only one in the state of Indiana.

On September 11 2006, this was replaced with an extra episode of Dr. Phil due to low ratings. Starting on July 24, WISE-TV began airing a weeknight 10 PM newscast on it's 2nd DT subchannel that was an affiliate of NBC Wx+. With the change to "My TV Fort Wayne" on that DT subchannel (on September 5) & the addition of "Fort Wayne's CW" on WPTA's 2nd DT subchannel (on September 18), the newscast became part of their schedules. On weekdays, WISE-DT2 offers several rebroadcasts of WPTA news programs. This includes weekday mornings from 7-9 AM, 12:30-1 PM & 6:30-7 PM. WPTA & WISE-TV co-produce a webcast entitled "Indiana's NewsCenter exPRESS" that is shown online every weekday afternoon @ 1 PM. The program is 5 minutes long & includes news updates from Corinne Rose & weather from meteorologist Chris Daniels. WISE-TV does not air newscasts weekdays @ Noon, 5 or 6 PM. On weekends, that station simulcasts all newscasts from WPTA. Also, there are local news & weather updates provided during the weekend editions of The Today Show. The 2 stations O&O their own weather radar. Known as "Pinpoint VIPIR HD", it's located next to their studios.

News / Station presentationEdit

Newscast titlesEdit

  • Your Esso Reporter (1950s-1961)
  • WPTA-TV News (1961-1969)
  • 21 Eyewitness News (1969-1970s)
  • 21 Alive Newsroom (1970s-1995)
  • 21 Alive News (1995-2005)
  • Indiana's NewsCenter (2005-present)

Newscast musicEdit

  • WXIA 1976 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1977-19??)
  • Hello News by Gari Communications, Inc. (19??-19??)
  • It's All Right Here by Unknown Composer (19??-19??)
  • Image IV by Newsmusic Central (1986-1995)
  • Signature by Stephen Arnold Music (1995-2005)
  • Impact (V.1, V.2, V.3, V.4 & V.5) by 615 Music (2005-present)

News teamEdit

Anchors

  • Ryan Elijah - weekday mornings & host of Impact
    • "In Your Corner" segment producer
  • Mary Collins - weekday mornings
  • Corrine Rose - weekdays @ Noon & reporter
  • Melissa Long - weeknights at 5, 6 & 11
  • Linda Jackson - weeknights @ 10
  • Eric Olson - weekends & reporter

Indiana's NewsCenter Meteorologists

  • Curtis Smith (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Chris Daniels - weekday mornings & Noon
  • Jason Meyers - weeke& fill-in
    • weather reporter
  • Jay Walker - weather reporter

Sports (all are seen on The Score)

  • Dean Pantazi - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10 & 11
  • Tommy Schoegler - weekends & fill-in
    • sports reporter
  • Kent Hormann - fill-in

Reporters

  • Jennifer Blomquist - monthly specials
  • Eric Clabaugh - multimedia video journalist
  • Carl Smith - multimedia video journalist
  • Chris Erick - multimedia video journalist
  • Corinne Rose - crime & politics
  • Jane Hersha - fill-in anchor
  • Brien McElhatten
  • Laura Donaldson
  • Jeff Neumeyer

Notable alumniEdit

  • Brent Trantum - meteorologist
    • now Brent Cameron @ WSVN in Miami, Florida
  • Marti Wright - anchor & reporter (1981-1999)
    • resigned after DUI in Angola, Indiana
  • Victor Locke - anchor (1983-2004)
    • now a voiceover announcer, anchor & reporter @ KSUT-FM in Durango, Colorado
  • Keith Edwards - anchor (1983-2007)
    • now retired
  • Tacoma Newsome - reporter
    • now @ WCMH in Columbus, Ohio
  • Sandra Jones - reporter
    • now @ WTVR-TV in Richmond, Virginia
  • Christine Zak - reporter
    • went to WEEK-TV in Peoria, Illinois (now retired)
  • Janette Luu - weekend anchor (until 2005)
    • now @ CKXT-TV in Toronto, Ontario
  • Heather McMichael - anchor & reporter
    • went to WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Greg Johans - sports anchor (1980s)
    • now retired
  • Michael Morrissey - weather presenter (until 2006)
    • now in public relations @ a Fort Wayne company
  • Jessica Toumani - reporter (until 2008)
    • now @ KABB in San Antonio, Texas
  • Nicole Pence - reporter & fill-in anchor (??-2008)
    • now @ WLEX-TV in Lexington, Kentucky

External linksEdit

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