WPXI

WPXI
WPXI
Wpxi logo.jpg
WPXI Subchannel MeTV.png
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Branding Channel 11 (general)
Channel 11 News (newscasts)
Slogan News (or Weather) Coverage You Can Count On (general)
Live, Local, Latebreaking (newscast opens)
Channels Digital: 48 (UHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
Subchannels 11.1 NBC HD
11.2 Me-TV
Translators 23 (UHF) Uniontown, PA
33 (UHF) New Castle, PA
(construction permit)

21 (UHF) Derry, PA
(application)
Affiliations NBC
Owner Cox Enterprises, Inc.
(WPXI, Inc.)
First air date September 1, 1957
Call letters' meaning Pittsburgh
XI (11 in Roman numerals)
Former callsigns WIIC-TV (1957–1981)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
11 (1957–2009)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 289 m
Facility ID 73910
Transmitter coordinates 40°27′48″N 80°0′16″W / 40.46333°N 80.00444°W / 40.46333; -80.00444
Website www.wpxi.com/

WPXI, channel 11, is the NBC-affiliated television station for Western Pennsylvania that is licensed to Pittsburgh. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 48 from a transmitter located on the north side of Pittsburgh. Owned by Cox Enterprises, the station has studios in the Summer Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Syndicated programming on the station includes The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Doctors, Family Feud, Judge Judy, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

Contents

History

On September 1, 1957 Channel 11 signed on as WIIC-TV, the second commercial VHF station in Pittsburgh. It was owned by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and immediately took NBC programming from KDKA-TV.

Bill Cardille (now a former Channel 11 host and weather forecaster) signed the station on the air. It addition to Cardille, five other announcers that were with the station during sign-on in 1957 include Mal Alberts, Bob Cochran, Ed Conway, Len Johnson and Mark Schaefer. Some of the first original programming to air on WIIC included Studio Wrestling and Chiller Theatre, both hosted by Cardille.

In 1964, the station was sold to current owner Cox Enterprises (which Cox traded its share in the then new cable system in Toledo, Ohio to the Post-Gazette's parent company, which is based in Toledo)

In 1970, WIIC made Pittsburgh broadcasting history as Eleanor Schano became the first woman to anchor a newscast alone. Schano also hosted a weekly 30-minute public affairs program called Face to Face.

During much of the 1970s, WIIC trailed in a distant third place in the ratings behind KDKA-TV and WTAE-TV. This coincided with much of the period where NBC also struggled in the ratings. About 1975, Channel 11 branded itself as "e11even", then around 1977 used the "11 Alive" moniker.

On April 20, 1981, the call sign was changed to WPXI (Pittsburgh 11, with XI being the Roman numeral sign for 11). Although the station has officially never had the -TV suffix since adopting the WPXI call sign, the station has on occasion been marketed as WPXI-TV. The WIIC calls lived on in Pittsburgh, on a low-powered independent station airing music videos, until that station's license was deleted around 2010.

WIIC Sponsored Program

WPXI also has been airing the Jerry Lewis Telethon as the Pittsburgh affiliate of the annual event. The local portion of the telethon is still hosted by Bill Cardille.

In 2000, Cox Enterprises purchased WTOV in Steubenville, Ohio and WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania from Sunrise Television. These stations, also NBC affiliates often appear in channel lineups for the same viewers that watch WPXI, either by over-the-air signal or via cable provider, and due to the proximity of the three stations to each other (as well as the common affiliation with NBC), are occasionally marketed together as a result. Cox changed the stations' on-air appearances to match WPXI's look, despite WPXI changing its own look in 2004. WTOV still used WPXI's former look until October 2010, and WJAC-TV adopted WPXI's current design in October 2011.

Over the Labor Day weekend of 2007, WPXI introduced its new studio location in the city's Summer Hill neighborhood near the Parkway North. The move ended a 50-year tradition at Television Hill in the city's Fineview neighborhood. The station's tower is to remain in place at the top of the station's current location.[1] WPXI officially launched its 6 p.m. newscast from its new studio in Summer Hill on October 6. WPXI is the first station in Pittsburgh broadcasting news in high definition. It has been criticized for technical glitches during the initial week of the new system run.[2][3] With the switch to HD came a new set, created by FX Group & new HD graphics, created by Hothaus Creative.

As part of its 50th anniversary, WPXI announced it would air classic TV programs on a digital subchannel from the Retro Television Network. The additional channel began on October 15, 2007.[4]

In mid-October 2008, WPXI, in collaboration with Cox's longtime partner Internet Broadcasting, launched a redesigned website. As of early November 2008, the websites of all of Cox's stations east of the Mississippi River are using the new format pioneered by WPXI; the websites of the company's stations west of the Mississippi River followed suit a month later. As of January 7, 2010, The website's navigation bar and pages have been re-done.

WPXI logo until October 2004

WPXI currently uses the number 11 drawn into a circle, which debuted in 1987. The "11" symbol is colored gold, while the box around it is dark blue. WPXI previously used the NBC Peacock in its logo, which was copied by sister stations WTOV and WJAC-TV and is still used by WTOV, but revamped its own look in October 2004. WPXI's current look uses the circle 11 logo with stylized "WPXI" below it.

Local programming

Channel 11 has had only one major foray into producing local programming. From 1963 to 1984, the station produced and broadcast Chiller Theater, a late Saturday evening horror film show hosted by Bill Cardille, or as he was referred to, "Chilly Billy." Cardille and a cast of characters would introduce the film being shown, as well as perform skits during breaks in the film. Cardille became well known for hosting the show and the shows themselves became part of local yore. The final program aired on January 1, 1984. Cardille remained on-air at Channel 11 through the early-mid-1990s as the a.m. and noon weather forecaster. Cardille remains in Pittsburgh as midday personality on WJAS radio & occasional Chiller Theater reunions have been held over the years.

The show was part of a trend during the 1960s and 1970s for TV stations to produce local programming. Local stations often created their own children's shows as well. Horror theater shows, such as Shock Theatre, hosted by Ghoulardi & Big Chuck and Little John in Cleveland, as well as Chiller Theater, were not only easy to produce, but popular with the local audience.

For its part, WPXI (known then as WIIC) produced Cartoon Colorama, which aired old-time cartoons produced in color format (hence the name), hosted by Willie the Duck, a hand-puppet with a Donald Duck type of voice, speaking to off-camera announcer Don Riggs (who served as Willie's comedy foil) in between the cartoons. The show had been previously hosted by a character called "Captain Jim"," who'd hosted one WIIC's best-remembered children's program: "Cap'n Jim's Popeye Club," built around Popeye cartoons. The Captain was briefly played at the beginning by the little-known Jim Saunders, and from 1959 on by Ted Eckman.

Present

Past

  • Chiller Theater (1963–1983)
  • H.S. Sports Saturday with Mark Malone
  • Studio Wrestling (1959–1972)
  • Catercousins (1974-1980)
  • Cartoon Colorama with Captain Jim
  • Luncheon at the Ones
  • Jackpot Bingo
  • Hotline
  • Pittsburgh Pirates baseball (1995–1996)

Digital programming

Digital channels

Channel Video Aspect Programming
11.1 1080i 16:9 main WPXI programming / NBC
11.2 480i 4:3 Me-TV
(replaced Retro Television Network)
11.3 Currently dark, future unknown

WPXI Broadcasts its digital signals (HD if programming permits) over the airwaves & on cable. Standard channel 11 (e.g. NBC) programming is broadcast on 11.1

WPXI was the first channel in Pittsburgh to make use of additional programming on its digital channels. On June 21, 2007, WPXI's Weather Plus began on Channel 11.2 and was also available on digital cable.[5] WPXI 11 Weather Plus offered local and national weather information 24 hours a day. Locally, WPXI's Scott Harbaugh served as the main meteorologist on Channel 11 Weather Plus.

WPXI added an airwave digital channel on 11.3 in late October 2007 when it began an affiliation with Retro Television Network, a channel that airs classic TV programming. Sister stations WJAC-TV and WTOV-TV also offer RTV programming on their subchannels.

Due to the shutdown of NBC Weather Plus in December 2008, WPXI moved RTV to 11.2 and 11.3 will be blank for the time being.

In July 2009 the station applied with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to have three repeater signals: channel 21 in Derry Township, channel 23 in Uniontown, and channel 33 in New Castle.[6] The signal in Derry Township is expected to cover all of Westmoreland County, while the Uniontown signal could penetrate into the Pittsburgh suburb of McKeesport. The New Castle signal might go into Youngstown, Ohio (which New Castle is much closer to despite being part of the Pittsburgh DMA) and serve as a secondary NBC affiliate for the Youngstown television market, which is primarily served by WFMJ-TV, while giving the Youngstown market an outlet for RTV. Through the use of PSIP, all three signals are keeping channel 11 as their virtual channel number.

On March 31, 2011, WPXI announced that it would replace RTV in favor of Me-TV, which began airing on digital subchannel 11.2 on June 13, 2011.[7]

Newscasts

WPXI occasionally pre-empts programming to report breaking news. Typically, WPXI offers 4½ hours of live newscasts on Channel 11. It offers an 1½ hours on PCNC and 1 hour on WPGH-TV. Previous branding for newscasts include Dateline, WIIC-TV 11 News, News/Watch, Instant News, Steel City News and Newscenter 11.

WPXI was the first station to offer a 5:30 p.m. newscast in Pittsburgh from 1981 to 1984 (titled 5:30 Live), then revived in 1987, in which the newscast was named Channel 11 News First Edition. They were also the first station to offer a 5 p.m. newscast in the early 1990s. The newscast was named Channel 11 News First at 5. WPXI dropped the NBC Saturday morning cartoons in September 1990 in favor of a newscast airing from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The success of the weekend morning news prompted NBC network officials to extend the Today show to weekends. WPXI, however, has since scaled back its weekend morning news. Pittsburgh native Jodi Applegate co-anchored NBC's Weekend Today, but was never seen locally due to WPXI's weekend morning news.

As of January 12, 2006, Sinclair Broadcast Group (owner of Fox affiliate WPGH-TV) and Cox entered into an agreement where WPXI began producing a newscast specifically for WPGH. This agreement, called a "news share", began January 30, 2006. All of WPGH's news staff, except for sportscaster Alby Oxenreiter, were laid off. The 10 p.m. newscast became Channel 11 News on FOX 53 at Ten. Oxenreiter's "Ox on Fox Sports Extra" fills the final 15 minutes of the newscast.

WPXI is known to commission its own theme music from companies, although it has previously used the famous "Move Closer to Your World" theme. It has commissioned both "Total Coverage" (its previous package still used by WJAC) and after WPXI moved to its new Summer Hill Television Building, it started using the Tower V.2, ending the NBC collection all together.

Pittsburgh Cable News Channel

The station went into cable television on January 1, 1994, with the launch of PCNC - the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel. PCNC brought the first 10 p.m. newscast to Pittsburgh. The final installment of PCNC's 10 PM news aired on January 26, 2006 as WPXI took over WPGH-TV's news operation. PCNC offers two newscasts: "Pittsburgh This Morning", a 7-8 a.m. weekday newscast and a 7 p.m. weeknight newscast.

John Fedko reports from Denver, Colorado

Ratings

Over the past decade, Pittsburgh has been a perennially competitive market for local news, with news ratings usually differing by less than a full ratings point. More recently, however, WPXI has had a increase in most dayparts and although it continues maintain a tie with KDKA in the market for daytime news, according to the Nielsen May 2009 ratings period. Also during this period, WPXI had in increase during the morning hours and the WPXI-produced 10 p.m. news remained in first place. As of May 2010, WPXI has a strong lead with viewers in the 5-6 a.m. and 10 p.m. timeslots. However, WPXI is the lowest watched Pittsburgh news station at noon, 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. (with KDKA being the highest watched during those timeslots).[8]

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Dateline (1963–1965)
  • WIIC-TV 11 News (1965–1970)
  • NewsWatch (1970–1975)
  • Instant News (1975–1979)
  • Steel City News (1979–1981)
  • NewsCenter 11 (1981–1984)
  • Channel 11 News (1984–present)[9]

Station slogans

  • Channel 11, Proud as a Peacock! (1979–1981; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 11, Our Pride is Showing (1981–1982; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • We're Channel 11, Just Watch Us Now! (1982–1983; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 11, Be There (1983–1984; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 11, Let's All Be There (1984–1986; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to 11 (1986–1987; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come on Home to 11 (1987–1988; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home To The Best, Only on 11 (1988–1990; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • WPXI-TV, The Place To Be! (1990–1991; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Your 24-Hour News Source (1990–1996)
  • More News, More Often (1990–1996)[10]
  • It's A Whole New WPXI-TV (1992–1993; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • The Stars Are Back on Channel 11 (1993–1994; local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Live, Local, Latebreaking News (1996–1998)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1998–present; primary slogan)
  • Live. Local. Latebreaking. (2007–2008)
  • Live. Local. Latebreaking. Now Broadcasting in High Definition. (2008–present; secondary)

News team

Current on-air staff

Anchors

  • Jennifer Abney - weekday mornings (4:30-7 a.m.) (2008–)
  • Kevin Benson - weekend mornings; also weeknight reporter (1987–)
  • Todd McDermott - weekday mornings (4:30-7 a.m.) and noon (2010–)
  • Darieth Chisolm - weeknights at 10 p.m. (on WPGH) and 11 p.m. (1993–2000; 2004–)
  • Peggy Finnegan - weekdays at noon, and weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 6:30 p.m. (1990–)
  • David Johnson - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 6:30, 7 (on PCNC), 10 p.m. (on FOX 53) and 11 p.m. (1985–)
  • Gordon Loesch - weekends at 6, 10 (on WPGH) and 11 p.m.; also weeknight reporter (2004–)
  • Brittny McGraw - weekend mornings; also weeknight reporter (2011–)

Severe Weather Team 11

  • Stephen Cropper (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 10 (on WPGH) and 11 p.m.[11] (former WTAE meteorologist)
  • Kevin Benson (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings, and weekends at 6, 10 (on WPGH) and 11 p.m. (1987–)
  • Scott Harbaugh (NWA Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weeknights at 7 p.m. (on PCNC), also fill-in (2005–)
  • Mike LaPoint (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7 a.m.) and noon (2007–)

Sports team

  • Alby Oxenreiter - sports director; weeknights at 6, 10 (on WPGH) and 11 p.m. (2006–)
  • Bill Phillips - sports anchor; weekends at 6, 10 (on WPGH) and 11 p.m. (2001–)
  • Rich Walsh - sports reporter and fill-in anchor (2005–)

Reporters

  • Timyka Artist - general assignment reporter (2006–)
  • Dave Bondy - general assignment reporter (2010–)
  • Courtney Brennan - Westmoreland County bureau chief (2010–)
  • Jodine Costanzo - general assignment reporter (1998–)
  • Rick Earle - "Target 11" investigative reporter (1994–)
  • Julie Fine - general assignment reporter (2010–)
  • Lori Houy - general assignment reporter (1998–)
  • Brandon Hudson - general assignment reporter (2011–)
  • Alan Jennings - general assignment reporter (1998–)
  • Renee Kaminski - general assignment reporter (1995–)
  • Amy Marcinkiewicz - general assignment reporter (1995–)
  • Trisha Pittman - weekday morning traffic reporter (2002–)
  • Cara Sapida - general assignment reporter (2009-)
  • Vince Sims - general assignment reporter (2003–)
  • Robin Taylor - "Target 11" consumer reporter (2010–)

Notable former on-air staff

References

External links


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