Definitions

WTAJ-TV

WTAJ-TV

WTAJ-TV is the CBS affiliate in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It transmits its analog signal on VHF channel 10 and its digital signal on UHF channel 32. It is owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group.

History

The station signed on March 1, 1953 as WFBG-TV. The call letters came from the initials of the station's founder, William F. B. Gable, owner of Gable's Department Store in Altoona. Gable also owned WFBG radio (AM 1290 and 98.1 FM, now WFGY). In those early days, all programs were produced and transmitted live from the studios on Wopsononock Mountain in Altoona. Channel 10 was one of the strongest stations in the entire country, utilizing over 300,000 watts to serve its coverage area (most of which is a very rugged dissected plateau).

In 1955, WFBG affiliated with CBS. Throughout the 1950s and into the early 1960s, it also carried a secondary affiliation with ABC, usually carrying some of ABC's higher-rated shows. While ABC had an affiliate in the area, WOPC-TV (channel 38, now WATM-TV on channel 23), its signal was hit-or-miss even in Altoona itself.

In 1956, WFBG was sold to the Annenberg family's Triangle Publications. Triangle, after selling off most of its media properties between 1969 and 1971, sold WFBG to Gateway Communications in 1973. Gateway changed the station's call letters to the present-day WTAJ-TV (which stands for We're Television for Altoona and Johnstown). The new calls were chosen to acknowledge channel 10's large viewership in Johnstown. Although Johnstown had a CBS affiliate of its own, WJNL-TV (channel 19), that station's signal was always painfully weak and Johnstown viewers actually got a better signal from channel 10. The station also reached eastern parts of the Pittsburgh market and was available on many Pittsburgh-area cable systems. This was necessary because Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate, KDKA-TV, preempted a decent amount of CBS shows and most of the preempted shows aired on WTAJ.

Prior to 1982, Johnstown and Altoona/State College were separate markets. After the Altoona/State College and Johnstown DMAs were collapsed into a single market that year, WTAJ became the exclusive CBS affiliate for the enlarged market. WJNL's signal was marginal at best in the eastern part of the market; it barely reached Altoona and just missed State College. WJNL (which changed its calls to WFAT) struggled as a low-rated independent station for a decade before going dark in 1991; it eventually returned to the air and is now Pittsburgh CW station WPCW.

Gateway Communications merged with SJL Broadcasting in December 2000. SJL transferred WTAJ's license to its subsidiary Television Station Group License Subsidiary, LLC in 2004. SJL changed its name to Montecito Broadcast Group in 2005. Montecito put WTAJ and two of its other stations in the Northeast--Binghamton, New York's WBNG-TV and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's WLYH-TV--up for sale shortly after it purchased four television stations (KHON-TV in Honolulu, Hawaii; KOIN in Portland, Oregon; KSNT in Topeka, Kansas and KSNW in Wichita, Kansas) from Emmis Communications. Granite Broadcasting has since purchased WBNG, and on July 26, 2006, Nexstar Broadcasting Group purchased WTAJ and WLYH for $56 million. Nexstar's acquisition was completed on December 29, 2006.

In late May 2007, WTAJ launched a redesigned website. On January 28, 2008, the station unvield a new logo, slogan, and a re-designed set to replace the old set that had been used since 1995. The station also has announced plans to enlarge its coverage in Johnstown since WWCP-TV and WATM have shut down their news department. Plans include a new Cambria County newsroom. WTAJ has already hired former FOX 8/abc 23 reporter and anchor Sean Dreher to cover the Cambria County region.

Digital television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17, 2009 , WTAJ-TV will remain on its current pre-transition channel number, 32. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display the station's virtual channel as 10.

Analog channel Digital channel Programming
10.1 32.1 main WTAJ programming / CBS HD

Talent

Anchors

  • John Clay - 5:30, 6, and 11 P.M.
  • Carolyn Donaldson - 5, 6, and 11 P.M.
  • Amy Mearkle - Morning/Noon Anchor
  • Patrick Schurr - Morning/Noon Anchor
  • Andrew Capasso - Weekends

Weather

  • Joe Murgo - Evening Weather
  • Regina Miller - Morning Weather
  • Brian Thompson - Saturday Weather
  • Jessica Stumpf - Sunday Weather

Sports

  • Nick Foley - Sports Director
  • Mike Fink - Sports Reporter
  • Mike Mueller - Sports Reporter

Reporters

  • Erin Calandra - Clearfield Bureau Reporter
  • Andrew Capasso - State College Bureau Reporter
  • Sean Dreher - Cambria County Reporter
  • Kevin Flanigan - Blair County/Business Reporter
  • Ben Manning - General Assignment Reporter
  • Tessa Mentus - General Assignment Reporter
  • Adam Paluka - State College Bureau Reporter

Notable Former Personalities

  • Brandon Brooks - anchor - now at KYW newsradio in Philadelphia
  • David Briemhurst - anchor - now goes by David Henry; a reporter at WPVI in Philadelphia
  • Larry Mendte - anchor - was anchor at KYW-TV in Philadelphia until June 2008
  • Craig Demchak - long term anchor - now Director-News Content for Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Patrick Van Horn - anchor - now an actor in Hollywood
  • John Riley - weathercaster (1959-1982) - known for the Big John Riley Basketball Classic and the Big John Riley Scholarship. Deceased.
  • David Venable - anchor - Joined the QVC home shopping network in 1993
  • Tim Boyles - Courts and Crime reporter - now owner of successful photography business in Florida

Trivia

  • In the 1977 film Slap Shot, a microphone bearing the mike flag of WTAJ (who at the time, had a logo that featured a "10" in a circle) can be seen before the championship game in the film. In this scene, sports anchor Jim Carr (Andrew Duncan) used a WTAJ mike when he interviewed one of the Charlestown Chiefs' players in the lockerroom before the big game. Slap Shot was filmed in Johnstown, which represented the fictitious city of Charlestown.

References

External links

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