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WMYA-TV

WMYA-TV

WMYA-TV, channel 40, is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for western North and South Carolina that is licensed to Anderson, South Carolina. Its transmitter is located southwest of Fountain Inn, South Carolina. This location puts a Grade B signal to most of the North Carolina portion of the market. Owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, the station is operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group under a local marketing agreement (LMA). This makes WMYA a sister station to ABC affiliate WLOS. However, WMYA is effectively owned by Sinclair due to Cunningham's financial structure (see below). The two stations share studios on Technology Drive south of Asheville, North Carolina. Syndicated programming on WMYA includes: Family Feud, Judge Alex, Judge Joe Brown, and Judge Mathis. To extend WMYA's over-the-air signal broadcast radius, WLOS offers a simulcast of that station on its second digital subchannel. WMYA carries WLOS on its own second digital subchannel for the same purpose.

History

WMYA signed on September 5, 1953 with the call sign WAIM-TV. It was the fourth television station in South Carolina and the first west of Columbia. The station was owned by Wilton E. Hall, publisher of the Anderson Independent and Daily Mail newspapers, along with WAIM-AM 1230. The calls stood for Anderson Independent-Mail. It was a CBS station with secondary ABC affiliation. When CBS affiliate WSPA-TV signed on from Spartanburg in 1956, channel 40 became a primary ABC affiliate. However, until 1976, it cleared many CBS programs as well. It was sold to Harte-Hanks Communications in 1972. WAIM had a very weak signal that covered only Anderson and Pickens counties. Nearby Greenville could only receive a fringe signal. As a result, the station never thrived (only the revenues from WAIM-AM kept it afloat). During the week for about a year in the mid-1970s, the station would not sign on until 11 A.M. when ABC's afternoon shows began and would sign off 12 hours later when the network's primetime ended. The tiny bit of non-network programming during this time was mainly religious shows and travelogues. The station would eventually resume 7 A.M. sign-on but would sign off at Midnight even in the late-1970s.

WLOS pressured ABC to drop its affiliation with WAIM from the 1960s onward finally succeeding in 1979. Harte-Hanks sold the station to Frank Outlaw who changed the station's calls to WAXA and turned it into the first full-time general-entertainment independent station in the state. WGGS across town was also an independent but emphasized religious programming with only a few hours a day of entertainment Monday through Saturday. Therefore, WAXA was the one of two sources of non-network programming in town until WHNS-TV signed on in 1984. Outlaw built a much more powerful transmitting facility south of Greenville that gave channel 40 a coverage area comparable to the other major stations in the area. The schedule was filled mostly with cartoons, barter sitcoms, low budget talk & syndicated shows, wildlife & sportsman shows, low budget & public domain movies, and other shows the competition passed on that cost no money to air. It also aired programs from NBC and CBS that WYFF and WSPA turned down. One of the NBC programs shown on the station was the game show Super Password which was pre-empted from WYFF for its entire run. WAXA became a charter Fox affiliate at the network's launch on October 9, 1986. As barter cartoons became high in abundance, WAXA aired about three hours of them in mornings and afternoons.

Frank Outlaw had big plans for the station in the late-1980s but died suddenly in 1988. His widow did not have the enthusiasm her husband did for running WAXA. The station quickly suffered financial and management problems. It filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Fall of 1988. WHNS took over the Fox affiliation at that time. A few months later, in the Winter of 1989, the station went dark and was put up for sale. River City Broadcasting, owner of WLOS, bought the dormant WAXA license and returned the station to the air in 1991 as a full-time simulcast of WLOS. This created a strong combined signal with about 60% overlap. River City merged with the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1995. Sinclair sold WAXA to Glencairn, Ltd. a new group headed by former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards. However, Glencairn's stock was almost entirely controlled by the Smith family, founders, and owners of Sinclair.

In effect, Sinclair owned both stations even though FCC rules did not permit duopolies at the time. Glencairn and Sinclair further circumvented the rules by moving WFBC's operations to WLOS' studios under an local marketing agreement (LMA) with WLOS as the senior partner. Glencairn dropped the simulcast with WLOS and changed channel 40's calls to WFBC-TV (they had last been held by what is now WYFF from 1953 to 1983). The station returned to a general independent station for entertainment format running cartoons, off network sitcoms, movies, off network dramas, and some first run talk and reality shows. WFBC became a WB affiliate on September 6, 1999 and changed its call letters to WBSC in 2000 to reflect its status as the only full-time WB affiliate serving a South Carolina-based market. WBSC began broadcasting 24 hours a day / 7 days a week sometime in 2004 having previously signed off late Sunday night / early Monday morning.

When Sinclair attempted to merge with Glencairn in 2001 (after Sinclair was fined $40,000 dollars for illegally controlling Glencairn), the FCC refused to allow Sinclair to buy WBSC and five other Glencairn stations. The FCC had already allowed Media General, owner of WSPA, to buy LMA partner WASV-TV (now WYCW-TV) outright and a Sinclair purchase of WBSC would have left the Greenville / Spartanburg / Asheville market with only seven unique station owners. FCC rules require a market to be left with eight unique station owners after a duopoly is formed. Glencairn changed its name to Cunningham Broadcasting but its stock is still almost entirely owned by the Smith family. As a result, Sinclair still effectively has a duopoly in the market. There is considerable evidence that Cunningham is simply a shell corporation used by Sinclair to evade FCC rules. The WLOS / WBSC arrangement led to the formation of Sinclair Media Watch, an Asheville-based grassroots organization, to file an informal objection to WBSC and WLOS' license renewals in 2004. On March 2, 2006, it was announced that WBSC would become a MyNetworkTV affiliate for the market when The WB and UPN networks shut down and merged in September of 2006. On June 19, WBSC changed its call letters to the current WMYA-TV to reflect its upcoming affiliation.

Newscasts

On weeknights, WLOS produces two half-hour newscasts on WMYA that air at 6:30 and 10 P.M. As of September 17, 2008, WLOS and WMYA newscasts are broadcasted in high definition. It was the second pair of stations in the market to make the upgrade after CBS affiliate WSPA-TV and CW affiliate WYCW.

News 13 at 6:30 on My 40
(6:30 to 7 P.M.)

  • Anchors:
    • Tammy Watford
    • Frank Fraboni
  • Weather:
    • Mike Cuevas
  • Sports:
    • Stan Pamfilis

News 13 at 10 on My 40
(10 to 10:30 P.M.)

  • Anchors:
    • Russ Bowen
    • Holly Headrick
  • Weather:
    • Mike Cuevas
  • Sports:
    • Stan Pamfilis

WMYA features additional news personnel with WLOS. See that article for a complete listing.

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