call_letters = WPBN-TV / WTOM-TV
city =
station_slogan = Coverage You
Can Count On
station_branding = TV 7&4
7&4 News
analog =
digital =
WPBN: 50 (UHF)
WTOM: 35 (UHF)
other_chs =
affiliations = NBC
network =
founded =
airdate = WPBN: September 13, 1954
WTOM: May 16, 1959
location = WPBN: Traverse City / Cadillac, Michigan
WTOM: Cheboygan / Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
callsign_meaning = WPBN: Paul
Bunyan Network
WTOM: Top Of Michigan
former_callsigns =
former_channel_numbers =
owner = Barrington Broadcasting
licensee = Barrington Traverse City License, LLC
sister_stations = WGTU
former_affiliations = ABC (secondary, 1954-1971)
The Tube (on DT2, 2006-2007)
RTN (on DT2, 2007-2008)
effective_radiated_power = WPBN:
316 kW (analog)
78 kW (digital)
100 kW (analog)
78 kW (digital)
411 m (analog)
230 m (digital)
189 m (analog)
168 m (digital)
class =
facility_id = WPBN: 21253
WTOM: 21254
coordinates = WPBN:
coord|44|16|33.2|N|85|42|48.7|W|type:landmark_scale:2000 (analog)
coord|44|46|35.5|N|85|41|2|W|type:landmark_scale:2000 (digital)
homepage = [http://www.tv7-4.com/ tv7-4.com]

WPBN-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for the northern Lower and eastern Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. Licensed to Traverse City, the station broadcasts an analog signal on VHF channel 7 from a transmitter located 12 miles west of Cadillac in Wexford County. WPBN broadcasts a digital signal on UHF channel 50 from a transmitter located at the station's studios on M-72 west of Traverse City. Like other network affiliates in this vast and rural area, WPBN operates a full-time satellite, WTOM-TV. Licensed to Cheboygan, this station broadcasts an analog signal on VHF channel 4 and a digital signal on UHF channel 35. WTOM's transmitter is located on U.S. 23 five miles east of the town. The station's signals are rather weak and only reach as far as Brevort, Petoskey, Pickford, and Indian River. However, it is carried on cable in Sault Sainte Marie. Via cable, the station serves as the default NBC affiliate for the Alpena television market as that area does not have an affiliate of its own.


Together, the two stations (which are known on-air as "TV 7&4") serve 22 counties in the northern Lower, three counties in the eastern Upper Peninsula, and portions of Northern Ontario including Sault Ste. Marie's Canadian sister city, Sault Ste. Marie (though not on cable, where Shaw Communications replaced TV 7&4 with Detroit's WDIV in the early-2000s). Owned by Barrington Broadcasting, TV 7&4 operate ABC affiliate WGTU and its full time satellite, WGTQ, through a shared services agreement (SSA). That station is owned by Tucker Broadcasting. In recent years, TV 7&4 has acquired popular syndicated programs such as "Dr. Phil" and "Oprah" which gives the station a line-up that has contributed to the strong growth in its early evening newscasts. TV 7&4 also airs "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" in early prime time. The station had aired America's Store overnights before it was discontinued in 2006 and now airs "NBC All Night". The Tube was aired on weekend overnights before its discontinuation with "NBC All Night" replacing it.

Digital programming

WBPN's digital signal is multiplexed. On WPBN-DT3 and Charter digital cable channel 201 is a national feed of NBC Weather Plus. Unlike WPBN's main digital signal, WTOM does not offer NBC programming in full high definition at this time. Instead, the signal is broadcasted in a digital unconverted format. A true high definition signal for that station will be included in the future. WTOM's digital signal does not offer Weather Plus. However, Charter digital cable systems in and around Cheboygan offer it on the same channel. Until recently, on WPBN-DT2 and Charter digital cable channel 200, was Equity Broadcasting's Retro Television Network. At one point, this subchannel also aired The Tube, a 24-hour music video channel.


WPBN began broadcasting on February 13, 1954. It was signed on by Les Biederman, who had established WTCM-AM 1400 (now 580), the oldest radio station in the Northern Lower Peninsula in 1940. Over the next decade, he bought or signed on several other AM stations throughout Northern Michigan. These stations were known as the Paul Bunyan Network with WTCM being the flagship station. Since channel 7 covered much of the territory covered by the radio stations, Biederman decided not to call his new station WTCM-TV (for Traverse City, Michigan) but rather WPBN-TV (for Paul Bunyan Network). In the 1950s, the FCC ruled that the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula was part of the Traverse City / Cadillac market. At the time, the only television station in that area had been CBC private affiliate CJIC-TV. Since WPBN was already operating at the maximum power allowed, Biederman signed on WTOM-TV in Cheboygan on May 16, 1959, bringing American television to the Eastern Upper Peninsula for the first time. At that time, the two stations became known collectively as TV 7&4.

When WTOM first began broadcasting, the two stations had their own news departments but WTOM eventually became a full-time satellite of WPBN. Until 1971, TV 7&4 shared ABC programming with the area's CBS affiliate WWTV ("9&10 News"). TV 7&4 aired ABC's sports programming on the weekends while 9&10 News aired some of ABC's game shows and soap operas. In 1971, WGTU signed on and took the ABC affiliation. In 1980, Midwest Broadcasting which was the Biederman family's company, wanted to expand their broadcast operations in Northern Michigan. However, the FCC told the Biedermans that they could do so only if they sold off some stations to stay under ownership limits. One of the stations sold off was TV 7&4 and sold to US Tobacco. Until recently, TV 7&4 was owned by Raycom Media. In late-2005, following Raycom's purchase of The Liberty Corporation, Raycom announced that "TV 7&4" would be sold along with another NBC affiliate in the Upper Peninsula, WLUC-TV in Marquette.

The sale was necessary to help meet FCC restrictions on station ownership. On March 27, 2006, Raycom announced that Barrington Broadcasting would acquire 12 Raycom stations, including TV 7&4. The FCC approved the deal in June of 2006 and the finalization took place on August 12, 2006. At that point, TV 7&4 joined WLUC, Saginaw's NBC affiliate WEYI-TV and (to a degree) Toledo's NBC affiliate WNWO-TV as part of Barrington's family of stations in and around the state of Michigan. On September 19, 2007, an application was filed to the FCC by Max Media to sell WGTU (and its full-time satellite, WGTQ) to Tucker Broadcasting for $10 million dollars. After FCC approval, Tucker Broadcasting entered into a shared services agreement (SSA) with WPBN owner Barrington Broadcasting. This resulted in that station operating WGTU. According to the FCC filing, WPBN will sell advertising time and provide news and other programming for WGTU and its CW subchannel. After WPBN renovates their studios this summer, WGTU will merge its operations with WPBN.

News operation

TV 7&4 has long been second in the news ratings in the market, according to Nielsen Media Research behind WWTV / WWUP ("9&10 News"). Over the last few years, 7&4's newscasts have been seeing ratings growth, while 9&10's are trending downward. Much like 9&10, TV 7&4 has long devoted significant resources to its news department, resulting in a higher-quality product than expected for a station in the 116th market. TV 7&4's personalities include longtime anchors and reporters such as Dave Walker, Greg MacMaster, Adam Bartelmay, Marc Schollett, and Diana Fairbanks. Another longtime personality, Dave Fortin, retired in December of 2006 after 42 years. The station has many alumni including weatherman Dave Barrons and news anchor Scott Michael Trager who both went to 9&10 News in the early-1990s. Other alumni are Christa Quinn and the immortal "Deputy" Don Melvoin who first hosted the "Deputy Don" kids show in the 1950s.

After a stint in Hollywood that included roles on "The Twilight Zone" and a movie filmed on Mackinac Island called "Somewhere in Time", Melvoin came back to TV 7&4 to host "Deputy Don Rides Again" and the legendary horror flick "Count Zappula". Don Melvoin died in 2002. In addition to their main studios, TV 7&4 operates two separate newsrooms. The Cadillac Newsroom is located on Spruce Street in Cadillac. The Gaylord Newsroom is located on West Main Street in Gaylord. In terms of news coverage, TV 7&4 has more of a Traverse City focus verses WWTV. On September 10, 2007, TV 7&4 began airing an 11 A.M. newscast during the week after "Today" expanded to four hours. There is the possibility of TV 7&4 producing newscasts on ABC 29&8 as a result of the stations now being operated together. In the local segments of the 2008 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, ABC 29&8 anchor Lori Puckett appeared on TV 7&4. The station broadcasts their local newscasts in digital widescreen 16x9. Though not truly high definition, the digital widescreen broadcasts match the ratio of HD television screens.

News team

*Adam Bartelmay - weekday mornings and 11 A.M.
**"Made in Your Town" segment producer
*Stacey Skrysak - weekday mornings and 11 A.M.
**"Peninsula Kitchen" segment producer
*Kristin Maciorowski - weeknights at 5 and 5:30
**education reporter and "Buddy Check" segment producer
*Diana Fairbanks - weeknights at 6 and 11
*Marc Schollett - weeknights
*Bill Froehlich - weekends

"7&4 News Storm Team"
*Greg MacMaster (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen on weeknights
**heard on WTCM-FM 103.5 / WBCM FM 93.5, WATZ-AM 1450 / WATZ-FM 99.3 / WRGZ-FM 96.7, WTCM-AM 580, WJZQ-FM 92.9, and WUPS-FM 98.5
*Joe Charlevoix - weekday mornings and 11 A.M.
**heard on WLDR-FM 101.9
*Jayne Smith [http://www.jaynesmith.net/] (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekends

*Giacomo Accardo - weeknights at 6 and 11
*Matt Soltysiak - weekends
**sports reporter

*Greg Angel - Gaylord Newsroom
*Rob Preston - Cadillac Newsroom
*Dave Walker - weekly commentator
*Bob Rhodes - Chief Photojournalist
*Courtney Rehmer
*Melissa Smith
*Sheena Elzie

External links

* [http://www.tv7-4.com/ WPBN-TV / WTOM-TV "TV 7&4"]
* [http://www.wgtu.com WGTU / WGTQ "ABC 29&8"]

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