|Carthage / Watertown, New York|
|Branding|| TV 7|
FOX 28 (on DT2)
|Channels|| Analog: 7 (VHF) |
Digital: 35 (UHF)
|Subchannels|| 7.1 CBS|
|Owner||United Communications Corporation|
|First air date||October 22, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning|| Welcome to Watertown,|
|Former callsigns||WCNY-TV (1954-1965)|
|Former Affiliations|| ABC (1954-1987)|
|Transmitter Power|| 316 kW (analog)|
750 kW (digital)
|Height|| 219 m (analog)|
203 m (digital)
|Website||7 News' Website|
WWNY-TV, ch. 7, is the CBS-affiliated TV station in Watertown, New York that is licensed to Carthage. It's transmitter is located east of Rutland Center. Owned by United Communications Corporation, the station is sister to FOX affiliate WNYF. The 2 stations share studios on Arcade Street in downtown Watertown. Syndicated programming on WWNY includes: Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Everybody Loves Raymond & Two and a Half Men.
The station began broadcasting @ 8 PM on October 22, 1954 using the call letters WCNY-TV (CNY as in "Carthage, New York") with studios located on Champion Hill. On that same day @ 11:15 PM, the station produced it's first 5-minute newscast. WCNY was locally owned by the Johnson family along with the Watertown Daily Times & WCNY radio (AM 790, now WTNY & FM 100.5, now silent). By the mid-1960s, WCNY benefitted from the ratings-dominant CBS programming lineup & established a large viewership base that included nearby Canadian cities. In 1965, the station changed it's call letters to the current WWNY-TV to match it's radio sisters. The WCNY-FM / WCNY-TV call signs now reside on the Central New York NPR / PBS member station serving Syracuse.
From 1958-1971, the station also broadcasted educational programming produced by the St. Lawrence Valley Educational TV Council. When the council signed on WNPE-TV (now WPBS-TV) in 1971, WWNY donated it's Carthage studio to the new station & moved to it's current location near the Watertown Daily Times downtown offices on Arcade Street in Watertown in mid-February of 1970. The Johnson family sold WWNY to it's current owner, United Communications Corporation, in 1981 for $8.2 million dollars. Until WFYF-TV (now WWTI) signed on in 1987 replacing a small WUTR repeater on ch. 50 & taking the ABC affiliation, WWNY was the only Watertown commercial station. As such, it was permitted to carry affiliations with all 3 networks. As a basic CBS affiliate, WWNY carried CBS' full prime time schedule & news programs, with a selection of the most popular ABC & NBC shows aired @ other hours.
WWNY also aired some FOX programming starting in 1987. FOX Sports Sunday NFL games aired on WWTI. Viewers in the area could watch other network affiliates on cable such as NBC affiliate WSTM-TV & ABC affiliate WIXT (now WSYR-TV) in Syracuse or NBC affiliate WPTZ in Plattsburgh. Programming from networks other than CBS was largely phased out during the 1980s. ABC completely disappeared from the schedule when WFYF signed on. NBC programs including The Today Show & The Tonight Show remained on WWNY into the 1980s with some prime time programming (which aired on delay) lasting until 1995. Since then, WSTM in Syracuse has served as the NBC affiliate for most of the market while WPTZ is seen on cable in St. Lawrence County.
FOX programs largely disappeared in the early-1990s with the exception of MLB games which lasted until 1998. In 2001, United Communications Corporation entered into an agreement with Smith Broadcasting to operate a FOX affliate, WNYF, with transmitters in Watertown & Massena. After a year of joint operation, United Communications Corporation took complete ownership of WNYF. In May of 2003, WWNY started broadcasting it's DT signal on UHF ch. 35 which began to offer CBS programming in HDTV. The station created a 2nd DT subchannel to offer a DT signal of WNYF as that station did not operate 1 of it's own. WNYF-DT can also be seen on Time Warner digital cable ch. 878.
The station's coverage area includes Jefferson, Lewis & St. Lawrence Counties in Northern New York State as well as southeastern Ontario in Canada. In that area, the station can be seen in Kingston & Brockville. The most distant analog reception for the station currently falls just short of Ottawa approximately a hundred miles distant. In the US, the outer limit of WWNY coverage falls near Massena & Tupper Lake to the east. WWNY was distributed by cable systems in Ottawa from the late-1960s to the early-1980s, but signal strength was poor & the station was dropped after Ottawa area TV stations complained that WWNY was broadcasting Ottawa commercials & competing with them for revenue. At the time, WWNY had a sales office in Canada & was able to convince advertisers in Ontario to buy ads on ch. 7. The Ottawa cable companies eventually dropped WWNY & set up a series of microwave relay towers to capture & transmit the local stations from Rochester. These were later replaced by satellite feeds from Detroit. The Rochester & Detroit stations served larger population centers & had no interest in Canadian advertising. While WWNY's DT UHF signal is not currently sufficiently powerful to reach Ottawa, the station has stated that it expects coverage to improve after WWNY-DT returns to it's original analog position on ch. 7 & coverage area in 2009. For many years, WWNY's largest viewership was in Kingston since for nearly 20 years it was 1 of only 2 stations routinely available over-the-air, the other being local CBC affiliate CKWS-TV. Prior to 2005, WWNY was also available on cable in Belleville, Ontario.
Since it's sign-on, WWNY has been the #1 station in the market. When WWTI signed on, it's news department could not compete very well with that of WWNY. In 1981, WWNY's weekday morning newscast consisted of 2 5-minute segments. As late as 1998, it was broadcasting for 30 minutes. In 2004, the station began to produce 2 hours of news on weekday mornings & a total of more than 4 hours a day. On April 11 2001, WWNY began broadcasting a weeknight 10 PM newscast for WNYF. However, it was only seen by a handful of viewers that could receive WNYF's 2 LP over-the-air signals. The station was not yet being offered on cable. An agreement with Time Warner in the Fall of 2001 placed the station on cable ch. 2. The 10 PM newscast debuted for the rest of the area on October 4. Unlike most CBS affiliates, WWNY does not air local news during the week during the 5 PM hour.
- Jeff Cole - weekday mornings
- Beth Hall - weekday mornings
- Diane Rutherford - weekdays @ Noon & reporter
- Anne Richter - weeknights @ 6 & reporter
- Brian Ashley - weeknights @ 6 & 11
- Chris Onorato - weeknights @ 10 & 11
- Andrea Friedman - weekends & reporter
- Rick DeFranco - weeknights
- TBD - weekday mornings & Noon
- John Kubis - weekends
- Mel Busler - weeknights
- Rob Krone - weekends & sports reporter