Semi-satellite of WFRV-TV, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Escanaba/Marquette, Michigan
United States
CityEscanaba, Michigan
ChannelsDigital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 3
BrandingLocal 3 (general)
Local 3 News (newscasts)
OwnerNexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Media Inc.)
First air date
October 7, 1969 (52 years ago) (1969-10-07)
Former call signs
WJMN (CP, 1967–1969)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 3 (VHF, 1969–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 48 (UHF, 2000–2018)
NBC (1969–1983)
ABC (1983–1992)
Call sign meaning
Jane Morton Norton
(member of former ownership family)
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID9630
ERP736 kW
HAAT355.7 m (1,167 ft)
Transmitter coordinates46°8′5″N 86°56′56″W / 46.13472°N 86.94889°W / 46.13472; -86.94889 (WJMN-TV)
Public license information

WJMN-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 32), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Escanaba, Michigan, United States, serving the Central and Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group. WJMN-TV's studios are located off US 41/M-28 on Wright Street in Marquette Township,[1] and its transmitter is located in unincorporated northern Delta County (south of the Alger County line), which is shared with WGLQ (97.1 FM). On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 3.

Although identifying as a separate station in its own right, WJMN is considered a semi-satellite of sister station WFRV-TV (channel 5) in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Master control and internal operations for WJMN are based at WFRV's studios on East Mason Street in Green Bay.


The station signed on the air on October 7, 1969, as the second television station in the Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan and brought a second programming choice from WLUC-TV (channel 6). Its analog antenna was 1,310 feet (400 m) in height, which made it the second tallest television transmitter in the state (after the transmitter tower used by WWTV in Cadillac) upon its completion. The formation of WJMN is the result of an agreement between WFRV's then-owner Orion Broadcasting and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

When WFRV applied to move its transmitter to Glenmore, Wisconsin, it had to address short-spacing issues from WMAQ-TV in Chicago. Every channel allocation in the Green Bay and Wausau television markets in the analog age was shared by a Chicago television station (2, 5, 11, 26, 32 and 38 in Green Bay, and 7, 9, and 20 in Wausau). As part of the agreement to transmit from Glenmore, WFRV launched WJMN to serve Michigan's underserved Upper Peninsula, which at that time only had WLUC (then sister to Green Bay's WLUK-TV) as the only commercial outlet serving the area.

On several occasions from being a semi-satellite of WFRV, WJMN has affected WLUC's affiliations resulting from network television shakeups in Green Bay. Upon commencing operations in 1969, it took the NBC affiliation from WLUC, reverting that station to primary CBS and secondary ABC status. Orion Broadcasting merged with Cosmos Broadcasting (a subsidiary of the Liberty Corporation) in 1981. However, WJMN would continue to use the Norton-era "3" logo in the font style seen on other Norton stations until 2001. After WJMN joined ABC in April 1983, WLUC dropped ABC and became a secondary NBC affiliate. Later in the 1980s, WJMN was sold to Midwest Radio and Television (owned by the Murphy and McNally families), joining WCCO-AM-TV in Minneapolis–Saint Paul.

By 1992, when new FCC rules allowed networks to own more stations, the CBS Corporation decided to acquire WJMN, as part of its concurrent purchase of WFRV (both were originally set to be sold off as CBS acquired Midwest Radio and Television simply to acquire the WCCO stations), and convert it to CBS. An affiliation swap with WLUC-TV occurred on February 24, 1992, with WJMN joining CBS and WLUC adding a primary affiliation with ABC alongside its secondary relationship with NBC. The move made WJMN among the few stations in the United States to have been with all of the Big Three networks (along with WLUC) and be the lowest-ranked network owned-and-operated station by market size. Station affiliations in the market would finally stabilize in 1996, with the launch of ABC affiliate WBKP (channel 5) (and later launch of sister station WBUP (channel 10), which eventually switched to ABC, with WBKP going with The CW), and the eventual launch of a Fox-affiliated subchannel on WLUC in 2009.

On April 16, 2007, Liberty Media (a media company unrelated to the Liberty Corporation) completed an exchange transaction with the CBS Corporation pursuant to which Liberty exchanged 7.6 million shares of CBS Class B common stock valued at $239 million for a subsidiary of CBS (that held WJMN) and approximately $170 million in cash.[2] The sale was completed on April 18, however its website continued to be maintained by CBS Television Stations's Digital Media Group until May 14, 2008 when Liberty launched a redesigned site powered by Inergize Digital Media (then a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, later a division of Newport Television and now operated by Nexstar Broadcasting Group).[3]

The updated site incorporated an expanded page on WFRV's website for WJMN to focus on Upper Peninsula-specific weather and news. Previously, the page had only contained the Michigan Associated Press wire service along with weather and was not highlighted on the CBS Interactive version of WFRV's website. In the summer of 2007, following the sale to Liberty, WJMN slowly transitioned from branding as "CBS 3" to "Channel 3", which had been previously used until 2003.

On April 7, 2011, the Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced it would acquire both WJMN and WFRV from Liberty Media;[4] the $20 million deal was both approved by the FCC and completed the week of July 1, 2011.[5] In the FCC's approval of the WJMN purchase, a waiver of Section 73.1125(a) of the FCC rules was included to allow Nexstar to continue using WFRV's Green Bay studio as the "main studio" for WJMN, with Nexstar citing a population downturn and continued weak economy in Central Upper Michigan that would prevent it from setting up a main studio in Escanaba or Marquette for WJMN.[6] Once Nexstar announced the completion of the WJMN/WFRV acquisition, it named Joseph Denk as become vice president and general manager of both stations;[5] Denk replaces Robert Perry Kidder, who announced his retirement shortly after the sale was announced (Kidder had spent 37 years with WFRV and WJMN).[7] The website URL and operations of WFRV and WJMN also changed to Nexstar's in-house format (they had been maintained by Broadcast Interactive Media since April 2010); in the case of WJMN, its web address changed from wjmntv.com to marquettehomepage.com. Again however, the page has seems to have been reduced to a placeholder, only carrying stories from the AP Michigan wire feed and press releases in regards to state and federal governments.

On January 23, 2012, WFRV was rebranded to Local 5, a branding style which originated with Post-Newsweek Stations and which has since been adapted by several of Nexstar's operations. However, WJMN continued to be branded as Channel 3 until the 2014 launch of its separate news operation, as most stories in WFRV's newscasts aren't local to Upper Michigan. In fall 2013, WJMN's web address was changed from MarquetteHomepage.com to UPMatters.com. The change reflects the expanded content available on the site, including auto classifieds, contests, and directories. WJMN formerly operated its local operations on North Third Street in downtown Marquette.[8]

Digital television

Digital channel

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9]
3.1 1080i 16:9 WJMN-HD Main WJMN-TV programming / CBS
3.2 480i 4:3 Escape Court TV Mystery
3.3 Laff Laff
3.4 Bounce Bounce TV

Analog-to-digital conversion

WJMN signed on its digital signal on UHF channel 48 in 2002; originally, this signal operated at a very low-power from a transmitter west of Downtown Escanaba and was only available in the immediate area. A construction permit in July 2009 allowed the station to increase its power to 1 megawatt and move the digital signal back to its analog transmitter site. However, according to an engineer, this would not happen until sometime in 2010.[10] Therefore, the updated digital signal of 9.8 kilowatts still could only be received in the immediate Escanaba and Gladstone areas.

WJMN-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, at around 1 a.m. (occurring within a commercial break during The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson) on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48,[11] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.

As part of the SAFER Act,[12] WJMN kept its analog signal on the air until March 3 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters. WJMN was available on Charter Cable during this period as viewers would only be able to receive the digital signal if they were in the immediate broadcast area, leaving antenna viewers outside of the digital transmitter range with no CBS affiliate otherwise.[13] WJMN upgraded its current transmitter in September 2010 and is now the most powerful digital television signal in the Upper Peninsula.


WJMN clears most local and network programming as provided through WFRV. For most of the day, it airs a time-shifted feed of WFRV in Eastern Time as opposed to Central. An obvious example of this phenomenon was on weekday mornings when WJMN aired CBS This Morning tape delayed by an hour from 8 to 10 a.m., as opposed to other stations normally showing the program from 7 to 9 a.m. Eastern time; however, as of 2014, the station now airs the program live, replacing the second hour of WFRV's morning newscast. Likewise, WFRV's weekday morning newscast is seen an hour later as a result of the time zone difference (this was also the case with the midday newscast until WJMN replaced it with an infomercial in 2014), while The Young and the Restless is seen a half-hour earlier on WJMN than on other CBS affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone. On weekends, WJMN airs programming from CBS in traditional time slots. The station airs separate local commercials, promotions, and legal identifications from WFRV. WJMN also airs separate syndicated programming on weekdays, including Rachael Ray, Family Feud, Inside Edition and Access Hollywood.

In addition, WJMN also airs some regional programming pertinent only to Michigan viewers such as the Michigan Lottery game show Make Me Rich and programming from the Detroit Lions Television Network (which carries pre-season games and weekly syndicated show The Ford Lions Report during the regular season). WFRV is not part of the network since it is in the Green Bay Packers' television market. However, WJMN does simulcast Packers-related programming from WFRV. Decisions on when to air Lions regular season home games against American Football Conference opponents as part of CBS' NFL contract are made on a case by case basis, depending on how the Packers and Lions games are scheduled (though in even-numbered years, one such game is reserved for Thanksgiving, as the Lions are one of two teams that host an annual Thanksgiving game). Also, since WJMN's normal coverage area is more than 75 miles (121 km) from Ford Field (home of the Lions), the NFL's local television blackout policy does not apply.

In September 2008, WJMN and WFRV upgraded their master control for pre-recorded network and syndicated high definition shows. A character generator would also allow WJMN to place 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen bulletin crawls for severe weather and breaking news over the programming;[14] this lasted until the stations' newscasts were upgraded to high definition in June 2011.

News operation

Usually, most semi-satellites of another station provide some coverage of the home territory (in this case, the Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan). WJMN-TV operated a one-person bureau out of Escanaba from the time of its sign-on in 1969, which was a requirement of its license. With relaxed FCC regulations, CBS chose in late summer of 1993 to close the bureau and reallocate those resources to WFRV's Green Bay operations. During some of WFRV's local newscasts that were simulcasted on WJMN (which all had a separate opening sequence on the station), it did offer separate Upper Peninsula-specific weather forecast segments (under the branding "Storm Team 3") that were taped in advance from WFRV's Green Bay facilities.

In October 2009, WJMN and WFRV gained the capability to create and air 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen news graphics (though standard definition cameras were still used); graphics would display in the 16:9 format with scrolling weather conditions filling the left and right pillarbox spaces during the 4:3-formatted newscasts. On June 23, 2011, WJMN and WFRV became the first stations in their respective markets (Escanaba and Green Bay) to upgrade their local newscasts to high definition.

When it announced its purchase of WJMN and WFRV in 2011, Nexstar announced plans to establish some sort of expanded local news operation for WJMN one that would possibly be independent from WFRV.[15] Nexstar's first tangible move toward a WJMN news operation came with a job posting in December 2013 seeking a News Director/anchor for early and late weeknight newscasts.[16] The company announced on March 13, 2014 that the station would launch Local 3 News on April 21 originating from new studios west of Marquette (known as the "WJMN-TV Plaza"). At the outset, WJMN's news output only consists of weeknight newscasts at 6 and 11 which are seen in full high definition.[17] WJMN still simulcasts the first hour of WFRV's weekday morning show. It is seen on this station from 6 until 7 a.m. ET, but it is actually the 5 to 6 a.m. CT portion of the news since the Green Bay station is in the Central Time Zone.


  1. ^ http://www.nexstar.tv/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6547&Itemid=2
  2. ^ http://biz.yahoo.com/e/090227/lcapa10-k.html
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 1, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Nexstar to Acquire CBS Affiliates WFRV, WJMN for $20 Mil," from Broadcasting & Cable, April 7, 2011
  5. ^ a b "Nexstar Closes 2-Station Buy, Denk New GM," from TVNewsCheck, July 1, 2011
  6. ^ Source: FCC Letter DA-11-1124, released 6/28/2011
  7. ^ "WFRV-WJMN's Perry Kidder Calling It Quits," from TVNewsCheck, May 20, 2011
  8. ^ MerchantCircle
  9. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WJMN
  10. ^ Application Search Details for WJMN
  11. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  12. ^ "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
  13. ^ http://tvdxexpo.com/nightlights/nightlights3.html
  14. ^ WFRV becomes first Green Bay broadcaster to expand HD presence, FoxCitiesTV, September 24, 2008.
  15. ^ Malone, Michael. "Exclusive: Nexstar Plans Local News for Marquette CBS". BroadcastingCable. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  16. ^ Job Opening: News Director/Anchor as posted on UPMatters.com, December 20, 2013
  17. ^ "WJMN To Introduce Local News, Go HD". TVNewsCheck. March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.