- WCAU (TV)
call_letters = WCAU
station_slogan = Turn to NBC 10
station_branding = NBC 10 (general)
NBC 10 News (newscasts)
analog = 10 (VHF)
digital = 67 (UHF)
subchannels = (see article)
May 23, 1948
licensee = NBC Telemundo License Company
effective_radiated_power = 137 kW (analog)
560 kW (digital)
HAAT = 392 m (analog)
377 m (digital)
facility_id = 63153
coordinates = coord|40|2|30.1|N|75|14|10|W|type:landmark_scale:2000|name=WCAU
homepage = [http://www.nbc10.com/ www.nbc10.com]
:"For broadcast stations that previously used the WCAU call sign, see
WCAU (disambiguation)"WCAU, channel 10, is the NBCowned-and-operated television station serving the Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarket, with studios on the border between Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, and transmitter in the Roxborough neighborhood. Its signal covers the Delaware Valleyarea including Philadelphia, parts of central and southern New Jersey, and Delaware.
As a CBS station
In 1945, the "Philadelphia Evening Bulletin" secured a
construction permitfor channel 10, naming their proposed station WPEN-TV after the newspaper's radio stations, WPEN (950 AM) and WPEN-FM (98.1 MHz., later WCAU-FM and now WOGL).
However, the picture changed dramatically in 1946, when the "Philadelphia Record" folded. The "Bulletin" inherited the "Records "goodwill," along with the rights to buy WCAU radio (1210 AM, now
WPHT) and the original WCAU-FM (at 102.9 MHz.) from their longtime owners, brothers Ike and Leon Levy. The "Bulletin" sold off the less-powerful WPEN and WCAU-FM, with the latter being renamed WPEN-FM (it is now WMGK). The "Bulletin" kept its FM station, renaming it WCAU-FM to match its new AM sister. The newspaper also kept its construction permit for channel 10, renaming it WCAU-TV"'.
WCAU-TV went on the air on
May 23, 1948as Philadelphia's third television station. [ http://www.broadcastpioneers.com/5-23-48.html] It was able to secure an affiliation with CBSdue to the influence of the Levy brothers, who continued to work for the newspaper as consultants. WCAU radio had been one of CBS' original 16 affiliates when the network premiered in 1927. A year later, the Levy brothers persuaded their brother-in-law, William Paley, to buy the struggling network. The Levy brothers had been shareholders and directors at CBS for many years. Due to this long relationship, channel 10 signed on as CBS' third affiliate.
Channel 10 was originally located at 1622 Chestnut Street in Center City along with its radio sisters. (The building now houses The Art Institute.) In 1952, the WCAU stations moved to a new facility in the Main Line suburb of Bala Cynwyd. The studio, located on Monument Road at City Line Avenue, was a state-of-the-art television center, and the first building in America constructed specifically for broadcasting. Channel 10 is still headquartered there today.
In the late 1950s, the
Federal Communications Commissionruled that northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and the Lehigh Valleywere part of the Philadelphia market. The "Bulletin" realized that channel 10's original tower, atop the PSFS Buildingin Center City, was inadequate for this enlarged viewing area. Accordingly, in 1957, WCAU-TV moved to a new 1,200-foot tower in Roxborough, which added most of Delaware, the Jersey Shoreand the Lehigh Valley to its city-grade coverage.
Also in 1957, the "Bulletin" bought CBS affiliate WGBI-TV (channel 22) in Scranton, changing the calls of that station to WDAU-TV (it is now
WYOU). Soon after, the FCC told the "Bulletin" that it couldn't keep both stations due to a large signal overlap which constituted a duopolyunder FCC rules of the time. The "Bulletin" could not afford to get a waiver to keep both stations, so it opted to keep the smaller WDAU-TV and sell the WCAU stations to CBS. CBS had to seek a waiver to buy the WCAU stations, as the signals of both WCAU radio and channel 10 overlapped with those of WCBS radio and WCBS-TVin New York City. (In the case of the radio outlets, both were clear channelstations; the FCC at the time usually did not allow common ownership of clear channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage areas.) The FCC readily granted the waiver, and CBS took control in 1958.
From 1965 to 1986, WCAU-TV was the only network-owned station in Philadelphia. As such, it was the only station in the city that did not heavily pre-empt network programming. They did run an hour of Saturday morning cartoons during the 7 a.m. hour and a week behind to run the hour long locally-produced children's program, "The Gene London Show" during mid-mornings. That ended in 1977. The only significant exception occurred during from 1978 to 1980, when channel 10 pre-empted an hour of Saturday morning cartoons in favor of "Marlo and The Magic Movie Machine". The pre-empted hour of Saturday cartoons was aired on Sunday mornings instead, preempting the CBS Sunday morning cartoon reruns run on few CBS stations. Eventually the entire Saturday morning lineup was reinstated.
witch from CBS to NBC
In 1994, CBS entered into a long-term affiliation agreement with Westinghouse (Group W) Broadcasting, the owners of Philadelphia's longtime NBC affiliate,
KYW-TV(channel 3). Westinghouse converted three of its stations, KYW-TV among them, into CBS affiliates. KYW-TV had been a very distant third in the Philadelphia ratings for more than a decade, while WCAU was a solid runner-up to WPVI. Nonetheless, CBS decided to affiliate with channel 3 and sell channel 10, ending a 47-year relationship (including 37 years of ownership) with the station.
New World Communicationsthen emerged as the leading bidders for WCAU. NBC's motivation was obvious -- though it were losing KYW-TV, the network also saw a chance to get an owned-and-operated station in Philadelphia, the largest market where it didn't own a television station. Meanwhile, New World had recently partnered with Fox in most markets and NBC in two others. It leaned toward turning WCAU into a Fox affiliate, as it did with most of its other stations. Had New World opted to affiliate WCAU with Fox, channel 10 would have retained its status as the "home" station of the Philadelphia Eagles. The station had carried Eagles games since 1950, and continued to air most Eagles games after rights to National Football Leaguegames in 1956. CBS had recently lost the rights to the National Football Conference(where the Eagles played) to Fox--the main reason why Fox cut a deal with New World, which owned several CBS stations in NFC markets. New World also considered affiliating channel 10 with NBC as well.
Even before CBS put WCAU on the market, rumors abounded that Fox was about to lose its original Philadelphia affiliate, Viacom/Paramount-owned
WTXF-TV(channel 29), to the new United Paramount Network. Fox announced plans to buy WGBS-TV (channel 57, now WPSG), but later canceled them and entered the WCAU bidding in case New World's bid either fell through or New World opted to affiliate WCAU with NBC. In the end, Viacom/Paramount opted to sell WTXF to Fox and buy WGBS, leaving NBC as the de-facto buyer of channel 10.
As an NBC-owned station
September 10, 1995, KYW-TV and WCAU-TV swapped network affiliations, part of a more complex affiliation/ownership deal involving NBC, CBS and Group W. The swap had been delayed from January (when all of Group W's other stations aligned with CBS) after NBC discovered it could not buy channel 10 outright without going over the FCC's ownership limit of the time. To solve this problem, NBC swapped KCNC-TVin Denverand KUTVin Salt Lake Cityto CBS in return for WCAU. CBS then traded controlling interest in KCNC and KUTV to Group W for a minority stake in KYW-TV. As part of this deal, NBC and Group W/CBS also traded broadcasting facilities in Miami. Group W's parent, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, purchased CBS in 1996, making CBS's Philadelphia radio stations sisters to WCAU-AM/WPHT's longtime rival, KYW radio.
NBC had wanted to own a station in Philadelphia for many years. It briefly succeeded in 1956, when it extorted Westinghouse into exchanging channel 3 (then called WPTZ-TV) and KYW radio for NBC's
Clevelandstations, WTAM-AM-FM & WNBK television. However, the FCC and the U.S. Justice Department forced the reversal of the swap in 1965. In purchasing channel 10 in 1958, CBS cited NBC's then-ownership of WRCV-TV (now KYW-TV) & WRCA-TV (now WNBC) in New York City in its successful effort to obtain an FCC waiver. see|KYW (AM)|KYW-TV
Although the radio stations had dropped the WCAU calls some years before, NBC dropped the "-TV" suffix from channel 10's callsign soon after it assumed control.
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 http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf] , WCAU will move its digital broadcasts to channel 34. http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101233072&formid=387&fac_num=63153 CDBS Print] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display WCAU's
virtual channelas 10.
Appropriately for a station founded by a newspaper and later owned by CBS for many years, channel 10 has a rich news tradition. The station's news operation was the ratings leader in Philadelphia for most of the time from the late 1940s through the 1960s. Charles Shaw, who had worked with
Edward R. Murrowas a CBS correspondent in London during World War II, was the station's news director from 1948 until he left the station in the early 1960's. John Facenda, who later gained fame as the voice of NFL Films, was the station's main anchorman from shortly after it signed on until 1973. At the time he retired, he had been a main anchor longer than anyone in Philadelphia. He has since been passed by WPVI's Jim Gardner.
Soon after joining the station, Facenda sold the "Bulletin" on the idea of a local 11 PM newscast -- the first in the country. It aired for the first time on
September 8. In 1950, WCAU became the first station with a four-man news team. The 6 PM newscast was anchored by Facenda, with Philadelphia radio legend Phil Sheridan handling weather, Jack Whitakeron sports and Ed McMahonas announcer. In 1965, channel 10 introduced the "Big News" format from sister station KNXT (now KCBS-TV) in Los Angeles.
WCAU remained unchallenged until the 1960s, when KYW-TV's "
Eyewitness News" passed it. The station then remained a strong second until the 1970s, when WPVI-TV's " Action News" bumped channel 10 down to third place. WCAU struggled through the late 1970s while most of its CBS sisters dominated the ratings, but has since recovered and has been a solid runner-up to longtime leader WPVI for over a quarter century. WCAU did manage to pass WPVI in the 5 PM time slot for a time in the early 1980s with its original "Live at 5," anchored by Larry Kane & Deborah Knapp (now at KENS-TVin San Antonio). In 2001, WCAU made national news when its 11 PM news (anchored by Larry Mendte and Renee Chenault-Fattah) knocked WPVI from the top slot for the first time in decades. Since 2003, WCAU has had to fend off a spirited challenge from a resurgent KYW-TV for second place in the Philadelphia ratings. Channel 3's resurgence was fueled in part by luring Mendte away from channel 10.
Shortly after CBS agreed to sell the station to NBC, WCAU dropped its longtime moniker of "Channel 10 News" in favor of "NewsCenter 10". After the sale closed, NBC changed the newscast name to "News 10". It became "NBC 10 News" in 2000.
WCAU used music based on "Channel 2 News", written for
WBBM-TVin Chicago(the de facto official music for CBS' O&O stations) & variations on it from 1982 until the 11 PM newscast on September 9, 1995 hours before the flip to NBC. It used the original 1975 version from 1982-1987, a synthesized version written by a local composer during the 1987-88 season and the Palmer News Package from 1988 to 1995. KYW-TV has used variants on this theme in recent years.
WCAU is currently upgrading their studios for HD newscasts.
Renee Chenault-Fattah- weeknights @ 11 PM
Tim Lake- weeknights @ 4, 6 & 11 PM
*Dawn Timmeney - weeknights @ 4 PM
*Lynn Berry - weekend mornings and midday
*John Blunt - weekend mornings and midday
Tracy Davidson- weeknights @ 5 PM 'All That and More'; consumer reporter
*Denise Nakano - weeknights @ 10 PM (on MyPHL17)
*Aditi Roy - weekend evenings
*Terry Ruggles - weekday mornings
*Bill Henley - weekday mornings; co-host '10! show'
*Michelle Grossman - weekend mornings & mid-day
*Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz (AMS Certified) - chief meteorologist; weeknights @ 4, 6, 10 & 11 PM
*Karen Thomas - fill-in meteorologist
*Dave Warren (AMS Certified) - weekend evenings
*John Clark - weekends
*Jade McCarthy - sports reporter/fill-in anchor
Vai Sikahema- sports director; weeknights @ 5, 6, 10 & 11 PM
*Cherie Bank - medical reporter (currently on medical leave)
*Lu Ann Cahn - investigative reporter
*Ted Greenberg - Jersey shore reporter
*Harry Hairston - investigative reporter
*Steve Highsmith - Political Director
*Jamison Uhler - 'All That and More' reporter
*Lori Wilson - feature reporter; co-host '10! show'
* [http://www.nbc10.com/ WCAU website]
* [http://wap.nbc10.com/ WCAU Wireless]
* [http://www.nbc10.com/news/4294369/detail.html City Declares 'Bill Baldini Day' To Honor Reporter's 40 Years]
* [http://www.nbc10.com/videovault/3901634/detail.html WCAU: A History Of Firsts]
* [http://broadcastpioneers.com/ Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia]
* [http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Studio/2020/alumni_wcau.html WCAU-TV Alumni]
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