ATSC 3.0 station
WNUV (2006).svg
BrandingThe CW Baltimore
Affiliations54.1: The CW
54.2: Antenna TV
54.3: Comet
54.4: Stadium
OperatorSinclair Broadcast Group
(via LMA)
First air date
July 1, 1982 (40 years ago) (1982-07-01)
Former call signs
WNUV-TV (1982–1998)
Former channel number(s)
54 (UHF, 1982–2009)
40 (UHF, 2003–2018)
FNN (1982–1984)
SuperTV (1982–1986)[1][2]
Independent (1986–1995)
UPN (1995–1998)
The WB (1998–2006)[2]
TheCoolTV (2010–2012)
Dark (2012–2014)
GetTV (2014–2015)[3]
Call sign meaning
NuVision, Inc. (founding owner)
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID7933
ERP750 kW
HAAT372.8 m (1,223 ft)
Transmitter coordinates39°20′10.4″N 76°38′57.9″W / 39.336222°N 76.649417°W / 39.336222; -76.649417
Public license information

WNUV (channel 54) is a television station in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, affiliated with The CW. It is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, which maintains a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of Fox/MyNetworkTV affiliate WBFF (channel 45), for the provision of certain services. However, Sinclair effectively owns WNUV as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. Sinclair also operates TBD affiliate WUTB (channel 24) under a separate shared services agreement (SSA) with Deerfield Media.

The stations share studios on 41st Street off the Jones Falls Expressway on "Television Hill" in the Woodberry neighborhood of north Baltimore.[4][5] WNUV's transmitter was originally located in Catonsville[6] in southwest suburban Baltimore County, but moved during the digital transition to the 1,280-foot (390 m) tall WBFF/WUTB tower on Television Hill, which stands adjacent to the earlier landmark "candleabra tower" from the late 1950s, also on the then renamed "Television Hill" or "TV Hill" for the city's original three main VHF stations (WMAR, WBAL, and WJZ-TV).


WNUV began broadcasting on July 1, 1982, originally owned by a local firm called NuVision, Inc. The station was Baltimore's third UHF commercial outlet, but only the second on the air at the time (alongside eventual sister station WBFF). Channel 54 was originally programmed as a hybrid of weekday business news from the Financial News Network (now part of CNBC) and the subscription television service SuperTV. FNN programming ran during the daytime hours, while subscription television programs from SuperTV aired during the evening and late night hours, as well as on Sunday afternoons.

In the fall of 1984, WNUV dropped weekday FNN programming and slowly began to add general entertainment programs, such as cartoons, off-network reruns and movies (which the station had already been running on weekends), while retaining Super TV programming at night and on Sunday afternoons. In the spring of 1986, the station dropped the SuperTV service and became a full-time conventional independent station,[2] adopting the on-air brand name "Baltimore 54". At that time, channel 54 ran morning and afternoon children's programming similar to WBFF's Captain Chesapeake, hosted from a mock space ship by a Star Trek-like crew of characters known as the "54 Space Corps".[7][8] Also, during the late-1980s, the station IDs included a "Pet of the Day", each of which was offered by a local viewer.[9][10] WNUV quickly established itself as a solid competitor to WBFF. In 1986, the station picked up The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, an NBC program not cleared by WMAR-TV; the program had previously aired on WBFF, which dropped Carson to make room for The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers.[11]

In March 1989, WNUV was bought by Abry Communications.[6] Under its ownership, the station remained a full-time independent one and, in 1994, picked up the broadcast rights to some Baltimore Orioles games produced by Home Team Sports. The station showed Orioles games through 2006. From 1993 to 1994, the station aired Late Show with David Letterman in lieu of WBAL-TV, which declined to carry the show.[12]

Around 1994, Abry merged with Sinclair Broadcast Group. However, Sinclair already owned WBFF and could not keep both stations.[13] Accordingly, WNUV was purchased by Glencairn Ltd., headed by former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards. The Smith family, owners and founders of Sinclair (which launched WBFF in 1971) owned 97% of Glencairn's stock, so Sinclair effectively owned both stations. Sinclair further circumvented the rules by signing a local marketing agreement with Glencairn,[14] under which WNUV's operations were merged with those of WBFF. In effect, Sinclair had emasculated WBFF's major rival. WNUV was Glencairn's first station, and similar deals resulted in Glencairn owning eleven stations all operated by Sinclair under LMAs. The Federal Communications Commission eventually fined Sinclair $40,000 in 2001 for illegally controlling Glencairn.[15] WNUV was an affiliate of the Prime Time Entertainment Network programming service from 1993 until 1995.

WNUV's logo as a UPN affiliate from January 1995 to January 1998. The "TV54" had been in use since 1990, and was retained for a few more months after it became a WB affiliate.
WNUV's logo as a UPN affiliate from January 1995 to January 1998. The "TV54" had been in use since 1990, and was retained for a few more months after it became a WB affiliate.

WNUV became the original Baltimore affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN), when the network launched on January 16, 1995. However, in January 1998—through an affiliation deal that resulted in Sinclair's five UPN affiliates switching to the network[16]—channel 54 became the market's WB affiliate, replacing low-power station WMJF-LP. The UPN affiliation moved to Home Shopping Network station WHSW (channel 24), which had been purchased by UPN part-owner Chris-Craft Industries and changed its callsign to WUTB.

WNUV as a WB affiliate from September 1998 until September 2006, the logo displayed here is the station's final logo under the WB affiliation displaying the channel number.
WNUV as a WB affiliate from September 1998 until September 2006, the logo displayed here is the station's final logo under the WB affiliation displaying the channel number.

Sinclair tried to purchase WNUV outright in 2001 as part of a merger with Glencairn. However, the FCC turned down the request because Baltimore was one of six markets where Sinclair could not legally have a duopoly. The Baltimore market, despite its relatively large size (it is the 24th-largest market) has only eight full-power stations (or seven, if the two Maryland Public Television stations licensed in the market are treated as one)—too few to legally permit a duopoly (the FCC requires a market to have eight unique station owners once a duopoly is formed—effectively limiting duopolies to markets with at least nine full-power stations). As a result, WNUV was one of five stations retained by Glencairn, which was renamed Cunningham Broadcasting. However, Cunningham (and WNUV) is still effectively owned by Sinclair since most of its stock is held by trusts owned by the Smith family. There is nearly uncontestable evidence that Glencairn/Cunningham has served as a corporate shell used by Sinclair to circumvent FCC ownership rules.

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that they would shut down The WB and UPN and merge some of their programming on a new network called The CW.[17][18] One month later, Fox, which had bought WUTB in 2001, announced the formation of MyNetworkTV, with WUTB and the other Fox-owned UPN affiliates as the nuclei.[19] Conventional wisdom suggested that WNUV would become Baltimore's CW affiliate. However, when The CW released the initial list of affiliates outside its core group of stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting and CBS Television Stations, WNUV was not included on the list. Sinclair later announced that it would affiliate most of its WB and UPN affiliates with MyNetworkTV a month after that network announced its formation, leading to speculation that WNUV would revert to being an independent station. It was not until May 2, 2006, that Sinclair entered into a deal to affiliate the company's UPN and WB affiliates that did not sign with MyNetworkTV, including WNUV, with The CW. The station's branding switched in September to "The CW Baltimore". The CW Television Network commenced operations on September 18, 2006.

Subchannel history

Sinclair launched a second subchannel carrying TheCoolTV in 2010[20][21] but dropped it by September 1, 2012.[22] After going dark for almost two years, WNUV's second subchannel returned with getTV[3] in 2014. Then in late 2015, it was flipped to Antenna TV.[23]

The station launched a third subchannel carrying Comet upon its launch on October 31, 2015.[24]


WNUV launched a 6:30 p.m. newscast in March 1997 called UPN 54 News at 6:30 (changed to WB 54 News at 6:30 in January 1998). The newscast shared the same news set and anchors as WBFF's 10 p.m. newscast.[25][26] In January 2005, Sinclair decided to move WNUV's 6:30 p.m. newscast over to WBFF airing at 5:30 p.m. weeknights. The station currently airs no live newscasts, however they began relaying Sinclair's national news program The National Desk in January 2021.

Technical information


The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels provided by WNUV (ATSC 1.0)[27]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming ATSC 1.0 host
54.1 720p 16:9 CWWNUV Main WNUV programming / The CW WMPT and WMPB
54.2 480i 4:3 Antenna Antenna TV WMAR-TV
54.3 16:9 Comet Comet WBAL-TV
54.4 Stadium Stadium WBAL-TV


WNUV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 54, on February 17, 2009, the original target 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 40,[28][29] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 54.

As a part of the repacking process following the 2016-2017 FCC incentive auction, WNUV was reassigned to UHF channel 25 and was to relocate by 2020, using PSIP to display its virtual channel number as 54.[30] Because it did not have to wait for any other stations to move first, WNUV moved to channel 25 on September 1, 2018 to allow new spectrum licensee T-Mobile to begin operations.[31]

Testing new technologies

Sinclair has twice used WNUV as a testing ground for new television technologies.

In July 2009, Washington, D.C. area TV stations became a test market for Mobile DTV, and WNUV was one of the participating stations.[32]

In 2013, WNUV received FCC authorization to begin conducting tests of the OFDM-based DVB-T2 terrestrial television standard and other future television broadcast standards, with the aim of identifying the feasibility of next-generation standards for mobile device usage and 4K ultra-HD;[33] the experimental broadcasts began on the morning of March 27, 2013.[34] The tests run between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and do not interrupt cable reception; the lost programs are aired on a digital subchannel of WBFF.[35]

ATSC 3.0 lighthouse

WNUV's RF 25 signal became the Baltimore market's ATSC 3.0 lighthouse station on June 24, 2021. As required by FCC rules, WNUV's existing ATSC 1.0 channels relocated to other stations in the market to preserve service to existing ATSC 1.0 receivers.[36][37]

Subchannels of WNUV (ATSC 3.0)[27]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming
2.1 720p 16:9 WMAR ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WMAR-TV / ABC
11.1 1080i WBAL ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WBAL-TV / NBC
22.1 WMPT ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WMPT / PBS
45.1 720p WBFF ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WBFF / Fox
54.1 WNUV Main WNUV programming / The CW


  1. ^ "Super TV Logoff...Baltimore". YouTube: Shawn Jones. 10 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  2. ^ a b c "WNUV-TV 54 Evolution". YouTube: Novice-841. 20 October 2009. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  3. ^ a b "Advertising Deals in Baltimore, MD". Radio Advertising World. 10 August 2015.
  4. ^ Fybush, Scott (15 January 2010). "TV Hill, Baltimore, 2008". Tower Site of the Week.
  5. ^ "Contact". My TV Baltimore. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b Carmody, John (30 August 1989). "The TV Column". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ "54 Space Corp". 54-WNUV. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  8. ^ Charles (20 February 2006). "TV Guide: Tuesday 9/17/91". Retro: Baltimore and Washington, DC.
  9. ^ "Baltimore...Pet of the Day". YouTube: Nanoforge-1. 12 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  10. ^ "WNUV-TV...Identification (1988)". YouTube: Ainstanking. 26 May 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  11. ^ "The TV Column - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ "Letterman lands Baltimore slot with WNUV TURNED ON IN L.A. -- Fall Preview".
  13. ^ Zurawik, David (27 April 1994). "Plan to Sell WNUV Dies". The Baltimore Sun.
  14. ^ Farhi, Paul (10 April 1999). "Station Owner Accused of Fronting for Another Firm". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ McConnell, Bill (17 December 2001). "Sinclair Loses, Wins". Broadcasting & Cable (via High Beam Research). Archived from the original on 24 February 2016.
  16. ^ WB woos and wins Sinclair, Broadcasting & Cable, July 21, 1997.
  17. ^ 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
  18. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  19. ^ News Corp. Unveils My Network TV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
  20. ^ Malone, Michael (February 4, 2010). "Sinclair Multicasting Music Channel". Retrieved 2010-02-04.
  21. ^ "Sinclair Gets COOL in 34 Markets" (Press release). February 4, 2010. Archived from the original on February 16, 2010. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  22. ^ Ericson, Trip (1 September 2012). "Sinclair Drops Cool TV Across Country".
  23. ^ Adam Buckman (November 17, 2015). "Antenna TV Adds 26 New Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved February 8, 2016. Antenna TV announced today that its affiliate lineup has grown to 125 in recent months to reach 88% of U.S. TV households.
  24. ^ Rick Seltzer (October 19, 2015). "Sinclair will launch its sci-fi network with MGM on Halloween". Baltimore Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  25. ^ Kaltenbach, Chris (16 February 1997). "WBFF News Will Add a 6:30 P. M. Show on WNUV". The Baltimore Sun.
  26. ^ 1997 Annual Report (PDF). Sinclair Broadcast Group. p. 8. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  27. ^ a b RabbitEars TV Query for WNUV
  28. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  29. ^ CDBS Print
  30. ^ "Searchable Clearinghouse | National Association of Broadcasters".
  32. ^ Friedman, Wayne (20 April 2009). "DC Market to Test Mobile DTV Technology". Media Post.
  33. ^ "DVB-T2 Trial in the USA". DVB. 12 June 2013.
  34. ^ Dodson, Andrew (2013-03-28). "With CFP, Air Test, ATSC 3.0 Off And Running". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
  35. ^ Eggerton, John (2013-02-19). "Exclusive: FCC OKs Test of TV Transmission Standard". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
  36. ^ "RESCAN DAY IS JUNE 24, 2021 FOR WNUV". WNUV. 1 August 2018.
  37. ^ "DTV Legal STA Application (File No. 136473)". FCC LMS.